13 Actors Who Asked For (And Got) Changes To Their Characters' Costumes, Hair, And Makeup

·10 min read

1.Jason Isaacs told Entertainment Weekly that when he was cast as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, he was "slightly horrified" by his character's original design, which involved a "pinstripe suit" and "short black-and-white hair."

Lucius posing with his son Draco
Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

Isaacs said, "He was a racist, a eugenicist. There’s no way he would cut his hair like a Muggle, or dress like a Muggle." The actor specifically suggested Lucius's long white hair and the walking stick he uses to conceal his wand.

Lucius holding the prophecy in the department of mysteries
Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

When Isaacs explained the cane idea to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets director Chris Columbus, Columbus responded, "You know what, I think the toy guys are going to love you."

A close up of Lucius holding his wand/cane
Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

2.Michelle Yeoh, who starred as Eleanor in Crazy Rich Asians, wore an exquisite emerald ring throughout the film; it's with this ring that her son Nick proposes to Rachel, an implicit signal of Eleanor granting her approval to their relationship. This emerald ring is from Yeoh's own personal jewelry collection, and she insisted on wearing it rather than the fake ring the production had designed for her.

Eleanor wearing the ring at the Mahjong parlor
Warner Bros / courtesy Everett Collection

Director Jon M. Chu told Vulture, "We had a ring designed already, and our mock-up looked so shitty that Michelle was like, 'That cannot be the ring I wear.' I’m like, 'I know, I know. I’m so embarrassed by it, but we don’t have the money.' She’s like, 'I have a better ring than that.'"

Nick proposing to Rachel with Eleanor's ring
Warner Bros. Pictures

Yeoh told the Knot, "It was very important for it to be real. And Eleanor was a character who knew what she wore had to be flawless." Apparently, Yeoh also designed the emerald ring herself, though of course that was before she knew it was destined for a starring role in a major movie.

Eleanor at the wedding
Warner Bros / courtesy Everett Collection

Yeoh broke out the ring again for the 2019 Golden Globes.

Yeoh on the red carpet, wearing the ring
Todd Williamson / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

3.In a similarly regal move, when Whoopi Goldberg realized that she was going to be dressed in fake jewels as Queen Constantina in 1997's Cinderella, she pushed back and said she wouldn't wear anything that wasn't real. Luckily, she had some pretty powerful connections in the fine jewelry business.

the queen in her real jewels
Walt Disney Co. / courtesy Everett Collection

Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick told Shondaland, "We prepared the Queen’s costumes with this fabulous ornate, but handcrafted, jewelry. It wasn’t real. We presented it to Whoopi and she said, 'No. No, my jewelry needs to be real. Go to Harry Winston.' She literally said, 'Here’s the person to talk to, go to Harry Winston, pick out everything that you want. I am not going to wear fake jewelry. Pick out the real stuff, and I’m sure it’ll be great.'"

the queen and the king
Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

So Mirojnick did just that. In the same interview, Goldberg said, "I wanted real jewels! And I was friends with the folks over at Harry Winston, so why not?" And her co-star Jason Alexander added, "We were constantly joking on set about how Whoopi, within any given shot, was wearing about $5 million of actual jewels from Harry Winston. ... Armed guards would come and place those jewels on her before every shot, and take them off before she could even get out of the throne chair."

The king, the queen, and Cinderella, all dressed in white
ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Pedro Pascal requested that his Narcos character Javier Peña wear slightly out-of-date clothing for a very simple reason: He didn't think the era-appropriate costumes were very flattering on him.

Javier Pena and his partner in tan suits
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

In a GQ interview, Pascal said, "'Cause it takes place in the eighties, and all that eighties clothes just looks like, I look like I was playing dress up, I look like a kid, I look like a child, like I just got lost in it, and, um, I looked like a dork."

Javier Pena with two other DEA agents
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

He went on, "And so I came up with this idea. I was like, 'You know, let's just say Javier Peña is like Don Draper in that, like, the seventies is his, like that was where he really found himself and he can't really, and so he's stuck there. He's not throwing those pants out, he's not changing his hair, he's not changing his shoes. It's his time and he's gonna look like that until the day he dies. That was my justification."

Pena leaning against a police van
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

5.Elizabeth Olsen manifested a new design for her Scarlet Witch costume. In 2018, Olsen told Elle that she wished that she could alter her Scarlet Witch costume. Said Olsen, "It would just not be a cleavage corset. I like corsets, but I'd like it to be higher. Everyone has these things that cover them — Tessa Thompson does, Scarlett [Johansson] does. I would like to cover up a bit."

Scarlet Witch in her corseted costume
Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

She went on, "It's funny because sometimes I look around and I'm just like — wow, I'm the only one who has cleavage, and that's a constant joke because they haven't really evolved my superhero costume that much." But when WandaVision came along, Olsen got the opportunity to help turn her vision (get it? sorry) into reality. Series director Matt Shakman told Entertainment Tonight that Olsen would test her costumes and say, "OK, I can do this move and I can't do this move. And I need to be able to do this move."

Wanda in her WandaVision costume, with a more discrete corset
Disney+

Shakman added that in addition to testing the costume's functionality, Olsen was "consulted" on its redesign. He said, "And she knows what she has to do better than anybody, having done this for years now."

A close up of Wanda transforming into Scarlet Witch
Disney+

6.David Tennant said in an interview at 2018's PaleyFest that he insisted on wearing "really old, battered, cream-colored Converse shoes" as the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who, despite the fact that it was a "really unpopular choice" with the powers-that-be behind the show.

the doctor in a pinstriped suit with his white Converse
BBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Originally, the Tenth Doctor was going to wear boots. Tennant said, "They're beautiful. They're beautiful boots. But I want to wear these crappy old trainers. ... That was the only thing I absolutely insisted on, battered old shoes, because that always just felt like that was the right thing to do. I'm glad I did."

The doctor wearing black converse
BBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

For the Tenth Doctor's look, Tennant took inspiration from an outfit he saw celebrity chef Jamie Oliver wear during a talk show appearance. Tennant recalled, "He wore a suit with his trainers, and I thought, there's something about that kind of says the right thing. It's kind of like, 'I'm sort of an official, but I'm really not.'"

The doctor in a suit looking panicked
BBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

7.Beauty and the Beast costume designer Jacqueline Durran told the Hollywood Reporter that Emma Watson, who starred as Belle, requested that the classic princess's costumes be redesigned in such a way that allowed her to be an "active heroine."

Belle wearing the iconic yellow ballgown
Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Said Durran, "Belle would not be wearing a corset, and she had to be comfortable as she needed to be able to move and ride a horse. It was a conundrum incorporating these elements." When designing Belle's wardrobe, Durran substituted boots for heels and added bloomers rather than keeping exclusively to skirts or dresses.

Belle wearing boots and a traveling cloak
Walt Disney Co. / courtesy Everett Collection

8.Don't Look Up costume designer Susan Matheson told GQ that Timothée Chalamet, who plays a Christian punk named Yule, "obsessed" over his character having "some kind of a mullet."

Timothee Chalamet as Yule
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

The reasoning behind this, Matheson explained, was that Chalamet "never, ever wants to look the same twice in a movie." She requests that actors spend costume fittings in character, and Chalamet more than delivered by praying, listening to death metal music, and bringing along a Bible to his session. Said Matheson, "I had the greatest fittings of my life with Timothée Chalamet."

Yule with a scraggly mullet
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

9.Catherine Zeta-Jones refused to wear her hair long as Velma Kelly in Chicago out of fear that audiences would think she wasn't doing her own (very elaborate) dancing routines.

Zeta-Jones dancing during a number, with her hair cut in a bob
Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

Producer Martin Richards told People, "She said, ‘If you think I’m going to have long hair over my face so anyone is going to think that I’m being doubled and not doing every darn step, you’re crazy.'" So she rocked a bob instead.

Zeta-Jones performing
Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

10.In 2015's Jurassic World, Bryce Dallas Howard's character Claire runs from danger in a pair of nude stiletto heels. This proved a controversial choice, but Howard told USA Today that she herself was the one who chose to keep the heels. Said Howard, "I remember that day when I said, 'I’m going to keep these shoes on, please.' I always saw it as a really fun thing that she runs through the jungle in heels and the outfit gets totally demolished."

Claire in the woods with the raptor trainer, wearing her stilettos
Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

And when the heels were written out of the movie's sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Howard insisted that they be brought back. She said, "It was originally written for me to wear sneakers. And I was like, 'No, no, no, no. I am going to wear heels. That’s what I am going to do.' It felt like it completed the journey."

Claire holding a flare to get the dinosaurs' attention
Universal / courtesy Everett Collection

11.Jamie Lee Curtis refused to wear a hospital gown throughout all of 2021's Halloween Kills, after already having done so as her character Laurie Strode in Halloween II.

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie in a dark button-down
Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

In an interview with Sydney Confidential, Curtis said, "I was involved in trying to figure out a way to get me out of a fucking hospital gown because the way it was written, Laurie was in a hospital gown the whole movie. I said to [director] David Green, 'I've been there, done that, I am not going to run around a hospital with my bare ass hanging out.'"

Laurie in a hospital gown pointing a gun
Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

She went on, "And I said, Laurie Strode cannot be wimpy this whole movie. That was my biggest contribution to the movie — the fact that I get back in my clothes."

Laurie in the back of a truck with two young women
Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

12.During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Samuel L. Jackson revealed that he asked for his Star Wars character, Mace Windu, to wield a unique purple lightsaber so that Jackson could find himself in fight scenes involving a large number of people.

Mace holding his purple lightsaber
20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Director George Lucas initially refused, since lightsabers were only supposed to be green or red, but Jackson told him that he was the "second baddest Jedi in the universe next to Yoda," an argument that won him his purple lightsaber. When he showed it to the actor, Lucas said it was "already causing a shitstorm online."

Mace Windu holding his purple lightsaber
20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

13.And finally: Cole Sprouse asked that Jughead's crown beanie, the most crucial aspect of his Riverdale character's costume, be made "less slouchy," according to Vanity Fair's interview with the show's costume designer Rebekka Sorensen-Kjelstrup.

Jughead wearing his beanie
CW Network / Courtesy Everett Collection

This alteration in design was made by the same Vancouver knitter who was hired to craft six identical copies of the same hat.

a side view of Jughead's crown beanie
The CW / Courtesy: Everett Collection
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