Back To The Future Stars 30 Years Later: How Good Was The Old-Age Makeup?

By Katey Rich 2013-08-09 08:03:45discussion comments
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It's weird to have grown up obsessing over Back to the Future and having to share my fascination with friends who couldn't have cared less about it-- I remember sending a postcard to my friend Andrea from Universal Studios' Back to the Future ride and thinking it was the greatest thing ever, while she never mentioned it. But today, thanks to the Internet and a generation of kids like me raised on VHS tapes, my Back to the Future obsession is reflected back at me everywhere I look. Like with this image, which compares the old age makeup in Back to the Future to how Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson and Crispin Glover have actually aged.

A Reddit user posted it, and you can click to make the image even larger, and to marvel at just how well the makeup artists managed to age up the actors, making them look 48 when they were all in their early 20s. Thompson was 24 when Back to the Future was released in 1985, Glover was 21, and Wilson was 26-- all of them too old to play high-schoolers, really, but not nearly old enough to play the parents of Michael J. Fox, who was 24 at the time. Watching Back to the Future when I was far too young to think about things like old-age makeup and casting, I basically assumed the transformation from old Lorraine to young Lorraine was magic. When I got a little older, I just assumed that Hollywood was capable of making anyone look convincingly old. These days, with experiences like J. Edgar behind me, it's easier to be impressed by just what a great job the Back to the Future team did.

Lea Thompson has not aged nearly as badly as Lorraine did-- that's what Hollywood dietitians and exercise will do for you-- and both Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson have chosen better hair for themselves than George and Biff, but otherwise their aging is spot on. Wilson even had the same dent in the middle of his forehead that he has now. Glover, naturally, looks a little stranger than George McFly would have, but he's Crispin Glover-- he has a lifelong pass to look as strange as he wants.

Have we gotten you in the mood to dig back into your own Back to the Future obsession? The Internet has no lack of directions to go with that. There's this timeline that compares the Back to the Future 2 future with other sci-fi classics. There's these awesome engagement photos from two Back to the Future fans in Atlanta. There's this ridiculously close analysis of the newspaper headlines in Back to the Future 2. There's this podcast episode, in which our special guest floats the theory that Back to the Future is racist. And, for no real reason, there's this trailer below that mashes up Back to the Future and Cloud Atlas. If you want to see for yourself how at least one of these stars has aged, you can always catch Wilson in a small but hilarious role in The Heat. Who would have guessed that Biff Tannen would have the longest career of any BTTF star who wasn't Michael J. Fox?


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