Melisandre was known for a lot of things in Game of Thrones, but it's fair to say a lot of people really latched onto the fact she was actually a super old decrepit witch who used magic to remain youthful. While fans knew that old woman and Melisandre were one and the same, many may not have known that both versions of her were played by Carice van Houten.
According to Carice van Houten, transforming into old Melisandre was no easy feat. It took an extensive amount of time in makeup, with the process taking around 5.5 hours to complete.
Even with her revelation, it's hard to believe that Carice van Houten played both old and young Melisandre while she was on Game of Thrones. It actually looks even more unbelievable looking at that makeup job, which from the distance of a phone in one's hand to her face, would probably convince anyone they're looking at an old woman. That face boasts an astounding amount of detail, and definitely looks like someone who is among the oldest of the old.
The detail doesn't stop there either, as Game of Thrones' makeup crew went to extensive lengths to ensure Carice van Houten looked every bit the ancient old woman Melisandre secretly was throughout the length of the series. Check out this shot from Instagram of her hand, which obviously does not look like van Houten's hand in real life.
Again, the level of detail here is insane, and it's truly a wonder that Game of Thrones didn't do more scenes with old Melisandre. Sure, she wasn't the biggest character of the series, but we only saw this transformation a handful of times over the eight seasons, and the scenes that were done didn't get quite as close to capture this exquisite detail.
So, what does it take to become old Melisandre? Well, beyond a heaping helping of prosthetics, it appears that Carice van Houten wore a bald cap as well, perhaps so she could put the stringy white hair over the top of the red hair she had throughout the series.
Now, in case anyone is thinking these prosthetics were a full body experience, that is not the case. Carice van Houten did wear the old Melisandre gear on her face, hair, neck, and hands apparently, but the rest of the body belonged to a body double (via Vanity Fair). That certainly explains why the makeup on the face and neck looks so elaborate, and why the whole process was 5.5 hours when other makeup jobs can be far more extensive.
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Game of Thrones, of course, is done at HBO for now, but a prequel is expected to arrive sometime in the future. Stick with CinemaBlend for more details on that in the future, and keep with us in the meantime for all the latest in television and movie news.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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