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Actors Who Despised Their Superhero Costumes

Superhero movies have been entertaining us for a long time, presenting us with larger-than-life characters that overcome impossible odds to save the day. The real heroes though, are the actors who don the superhero costumes to bring these comic book legends to life...because the experiences aren't always pleasant. Here are some examples of actors who have put on the suits, but didn't particularly enjoy doing so.

Jennifer Lawrence

Before Jennifer Lawrence achieved global fame by becoming the Mockingjay in The Hunger Games series, she played a young Mystique in 20th Century Fox's X-Men prequel X-Men: First Class, a role she reprised in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. As one can imagine, becoming Mystique can take quite awhile in the dressing room, especially if the production team wants to utilize as many practical effects as possible. But that tends to have an adverse effect on the actress.

Leading up to the release of First Class, a behind-the-scenes featurette revealed that Lawrence had to undergo a seven-hour makeup process every time she needed to appear as Mystique. "I love working with Bryan, and I love these movies," she told Entertainment Weekly. "It's just the [body] paint." When she initially signed on as Mystique, she didn't care about "fumes and toxins. Now I'm almost 25, and I'm like, 'I can't even pronounce this, and that's going in my nose? I'm breathing that?'"

Luckily for her, that makeup process was cut down to approximately three hours for Days of Future Past, and then again for Apocalypse. For the sequels, she was able to wear a body suit instead of being fully covered in paint.

Ron Perlman

Ron Perlman has spent a great deal of his career hiding his face under makeup and prosthetics, but of all the roles he's played, perhaps his most famous was the hero in Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy movies.

According to makeup artist Jake Garber, "The makeup on Ron [Perlman] was all foam prosthetic pieces. The first piece we applied was a back and chest piece that flipped over his head, went along his jawline and rested on his pectorals; that's the chest muscles in front of him." It's a process that took over four hours to complete, and one that Perlman underwent 86 times for the series' first movie. Del Toro believes part of the reason Perlman didn't immediately want to make a third installment is because of the makeup process: "He really grew tired of the makeup in the second film and he was really rubbed the wrong way by those seven-hour sessions." Still, even though he hated the process, Perlman has admitted to finding gratification in playing Hellboy.

Andrew Garfield

Andrew Garfield played the lead in Sony's Amazing Spider-Man films, giving us a different look at Peter Parker and his relationship with Gwen Stacy. What Garfield didn't want us to get a look at was his relationship with the Spider-Man superhero costume and how uncomfortable and unflattering it was. In an interview on The Ellen Degeneres Show, he talked about when he first started shooting the first movie in downtown L.A.; his Spider Sense must have been tingling, because he felt that pictures were being taken of him in the suit. "I knew there were paparazzi taking terrible unflattering shots of my, you know, everything," lamented Garfield, according to Digital Spy.

Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman had the honor of portraying the first live-action version of Marvel's Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War. He also had to squeeze into a black catsuit in 90-degree weather, so we're tipping our hats to the King of Wakanda. According to Comic Book Movie, Boseman enjoyed the process of seeing everything in the movie put together, with the caveat that certain parts were physically demanding because of the suit.

"You mean it's going to cut off my air supply?" said Boseman, referring to general stunts in the movie that forced him to figure out how to breathe properly. He went on to describe the mental "Zen space" he prepared in order to get through the shoot, especially because he'd have sweat rolling down his body and was unable to scratch itches. You'd think it would have been easy for him with those Vibranium claws.

Scarlett Johansson

Black Widow might have had red in her ledger, but Scarlett Johansson had sweat in her boots. According to ABC News, Johannson told Nightline that during the first Avengers movie, "It was so hot, I would wring out my socks at the end of the day." That's a lovely picture.

That's gross, but also it's understandable considering the fact that her Black Widow costume was like a "wetsuit" and wasn't pleasant in the heat. In fact, it got so hot that she actually hallucinated for a bit while filming a fight scene. Johansson also compared her multiple costumes to tires, because her stunts would wear each one down until she needed to replace them.

Malin Akerman

As sweaty as some actors get in their superhero duds, Malin Akerman's experiences in the Silk Spectre superhero costume for Watchmen were wholly different. The skintight black and yellow suit showed off her physique, but according to Celebuzz, Akerman told Maxim that the latex outfit also smelled terrible.

"I thought it was really f***ing hot (at first). Then I tried it on, and I thought it was really f***ing uncomfortable. And the smell? When you take it off, it smells like a human condom," said Akerman. And with those words, we can never see Watchmen again without gagging just a little bit.

Olivia Munn

While donning costumes can empower superheroes, it's another thing altogether to actually get into them. Olivia Munn, who played Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse, revealed on Conan that it took a bit of help to get her into the character's suit. To be more specific, it took the help of two women and a lot of lube. You'd think that having to do that every time you had to shoot a scene was embarrassing enough, but the first time she got on set with the veteran X-Men actors, she actually popped the crotch. Whoops...

Rebecca Romijn

During an interview with EW, Rebecca Romijn talked about how hard it was to get her Mystique makeup applied for the filming of X2: X-Men United. The process involved four women and a little under eight hours, effectively souring Romijn's mood as time went on. The worst part, however, was the fact that she was naked under all the makeup while everyone else got to wear outfits.

"I've been in denial about the nudity: 'No, no. I'm very covered up,'" she recalled. "I kept checking with the rest of the cast, 'You guys, I'm totally covered up, right?' And they'd tell me, 'No, Rebecca, you're naked.'"

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie might absolutely (and quite literally) slay in her Harley Quinn hot pants in Suicide Squad, but she's definitely not a fan of them. While a lot of folks are making the character out to be an overtly sexual piece of eye candy, Robbie said that Quinn likes them "because they're sparkly and fun" and not because she wants guys ogling her. But while Harley's happy, Robbie herself wasn't, because of the way it made her hyper-aware of her appearance.

"As Margot, no, I don't like wearing that. I'm eating burgers at lunchtime, and then you go do a scene where you're hosed down and soaking wet in a white T-shirt, it's so clingy and you're self-conscious about it," Robbie told the New York Times. Turns out that she's worried about everyone looking at her in more than one way—understandable when you're rocking cotton candy pigtails, hot pants, and a mallet.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck has made it known that he's not a huge fan of the Batsuit he wore in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While many a fanboy would love to don the cape and cowl, Affleck called it "the most humiliating, ridiculous thing in the world." According to Total Film (via IGN), this is because the Batsuit was really a motion capture suit that allowed for greater range of movement. He even gave it a nickname: his "visual effects pajamas." He might have felt it was embarrassing to wear the outfit because it didn't make him feel badass like Batman, but at least there were no Bat-nipples.

Ryan Reynolds

After being in development for well over a decade, Warner Bros.' Green Lantern movie finally premiered in 2011 to lackluster reviews and an underwhelming performance at the worldwide box office. Part of the movie's criticism fell on the studio's decision to feature an entirely CGI superhero costume for the character.

It's not that CGI costumes don't work—it's just that the studio did a poor job with the Green Lantern suit, and Ryan Reynolds, who played the titular superhero, didn't like it (and neither did the fans). In fact, Reynolds downright hates the movie as a whole. "I would give it a scant four, maybe. Three or four," Reynolds told Andy Cohen. He then decided even that was too generous. "It didn't work," he added. "A one, it's a one." Funnily enough, in Tim Miller's Deadpool movie, Reynolds, who plays Wade Wilson, makes fun of the suit, saying, "Please don't make the super suit green, or animated."

Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany belongs to a very exclusive club in the MCU, having played more than one character in the shared universe. For years, he voiced J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark's advanced artificial intelligence system. However, since the events of Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Bettany has taken on the role of Vision—a creation of both Ultron and Stark whose consciousness is powered by the Mind Stone.

During his years playing J.A.R.V.I.S., Bettany felt guilty coming in at the end of production and doing his lines, because he thought he had the easiest job in the world. "I feel like a pirate. This is robbery. I walk in, I say some lines on a piece of paper for two hours, and then they give me a bag of money, and I leave, and I go about my day. I sort of feel guilty because at least acting can be exhausting with long hours, but I do nothing!" Things changed rapidly for him, because he not only had to start acting on-camera, but he had to do it in costume—which is something he didn't like very much.

"It's pretty painful, it's uncomfortable," Bettany told USA Today of his Vision superhero costume. "You're working in it for ten hours and not really being able to hear well. There's only [so] much of your face open to the air." He said it started out okay at first, but quickly grew annoying. "...The third day gets a bit tough. By the fourth and fifth day of the week, you are really having to meditate on the line of actors, thousands of them, who would love to be in your position. You have to concentrate on how lucky you are." Well, there's no arguing there.

Christian Bale

Christian Bale has starred in a plethora of movies, but his fans will always remember him for playing Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. In fact, so far, he's the only actor to play the character in three films—a longevity that allowed him to wear multiple Batsuits. Unfortunately, he found the original very uncomfortable.

Luckily for Bale, before production started on The Dark Knight, he requested a new suit, and his new duds made a huge difference. "Literally stepping back into it was much more comfortable than the first time...more maneuverable. At first, I was fighting against the suit to do all of the fight sequences; this one was actually compatible with the Keysi fighting method. I could move my head." And although the new suit was heavier, it allowed for "so much more motion. I could breathe properly inside of it; it didn't squeeze my head like a vice throughout. So I had to act the rage and anger this time around."

When it came time for Ben Affleck to take up the mantle of Batman in the DC Extended Universe, Bale only had one piece of advice. "The only thing I said to him was to make sure to [be able to] take a piss without having anyone help him, because it's a little bit humiliating," Bale told Access Hollywood. "You have to have someone...help you out of the costume in order to be able to do that. So that was my main piece of advice for him."

Michael Chiklis

Michael Chiklis is primarily known for his role as LAPD Detective Vick Mackey on FX's The Shield, and more recently, he's appeared as police Captain Nathaniel Barnes on Fox's Gotham TV series. However, before he made the jump to DC Comics, Chiklis starred in multiple Marvel movies as Ben Grimm (a.k.a. the Thing).

A decade before Josh Trank's critically maligned Fantastic Four released in 2015, 20th Century Fox produced two Fantastic Four movies in the mid-'00s, with Chiklis starring as a member of the superpowered team. His character Ben Grimm was, along with the other founding Fantastic Four members, exposed to cosmic radiation which altered their genome, imbuing them with superhuman abilities. Grimm developed an orange, rocky hide, and instead of entirely utilizing CGI, the production team on Fantastic Four decided to construct the suit using practical effects.

"That was the Seventh Circle of Hell—the costume. But you know, that was the worst part of it, obviously. It was just physical discomfort. But perfectly put: it was a distraction, you know, one of those things," Chiklis said in an interview with the Archive of American Television. Just because he didn't like the costume, that doesn't mean he disliked the movie. In fact, in the same interview, he went on to say he loved making those movies, and he looks forward to similar projects in the future.

Val Kilmer

It appears that only fans like to dress up as Batman, because not only did Ben Affleck and Christian Bale both dislike their Batsuits, but so did Val Kilmer—the actor Batman co-creator Bob Kane believes gave the best live-action performance as the Dark Knight.

During a panel at C2E2 2012, Kilmer told the audience wearing the Batsuit was "like wearing a wetsuit that was several times tighter than one anyone else would wear." Wearing a full-body suit will surely come with its fair share of issues, but the Batsuit, apparently, was much worse. "The suit takes an hour to get into, and you can't do it by yourself, and then you can't hear because there are really no earholes in it. Also you can't turn your head and you can't go to the bathroom by yourself. Plus, you fall over quite easily."

Kilmer reiterated his discontent in an interview with Conan O'Brien the following year, describing wearing the Batsuit as torture and saying it turned him into an old man. "You need help getting dressed ... it takes about 45 minutes to get undressed," Kilmer said. "You need help going to the bathroom," he continued, echoing an amusingly common complaint among ex-Batmen. "You can't hear anymore...And then when you call out for help, no one comes."

Robert Downey, Jr.

Since making his debut as Iron Man in 2008, Robert Downey, Jr. has worn numerous versions of his superhero costume. It wouldn't be financially feasible for Marvel Studios to build each suit, nor would it convert well onto the big screen, which is why the studio has chosen to go full CGI over the past few years.

In fact, according to Industrial Light & Magic Animation Director Marc Chu, Downey hasn't worn a practical version of the suit in years. "[He] knew he did not have to wear as much of the suit, and that would make him a lot more comfortable," Chu said of using CGI versus practical effects. Still, though, occasionally Downey does wear what they refer to as the "football suit" in a few scenes, like at the end of Joss Whedon's The Avengers.

Although Downey doesn't necessarily hate wearing the Iron Man suit, he understands the physical toll it can take on the wearer. "I'd been training all these years and thought I was pretty tough, but the first time I put on the Mark 1 suit, I almost had a personality meltdown," he said. "I'm not claustrophobic, but after moving around in it for a couple of hours, your spirit is kind of broken and you're like, 'Okay, time to bring in the stunt team.'"

Anne Hathaway

Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, is one of the oldest and most prominent characters in comic book history, having debuted in the first issue of Batman's self-titled series in 1940. According to Batman co-creator Bob Kane, he and Bill Finger wanted to inject sex appeal into their then-forthcoming Batman comic series, which is why they decided to base Selina Kyle on '30s movie star Jean Harlow, and why the character tends to wear skintight black leather.

A number of actresses have portrayed Catwoman over the years, beginning with Julie Newmar in the '60s, and they've each worn head-to-toe black leather. In the mid-'00s, Halle Berry's version of the costume became the most revealing of the bunch. She didn't mind, though; in fact, she found it one of the best parts of filming the critically maligned movie. "[The suit was] the highlight of the whole movie experience. It was empowering. Besides the obvious sex appeal, it really takes a certain level of confidence to pull it off. We all have physical flaws, but you can't hide them when you're wearing it."

Anne Hathaway, who played Catwoman in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, couldn't disagree more. "[The costume] was a psychological terrorist," Hathaway told Allure. "The suit, thoughts of my suit, changing my life so I would fit into that suit...It dominated my year. I went into the gym for ten months and didn't come out." That sentiment is something Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Catwoman in Tim Burton's Batman Returns, agrees with. "It was probably really unhealthy, and it would literally just start to squeeze my skin," Pfeiffer told E! Online. "I was only allowed to wear it for so many hours."

Michelle Pfeiffer

Batman Returns was quite a departure from the 1989 original. Sure, Tim Burton and Michael Keaton were back, but the sequel was weirder, darker, and far sexier thanks to Catwoman and her BDSM disguise. Of course, while the leather looked good on camera, it was kind of a nightmare for poor Michelle Pfeiffer. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Pfeiffer said it was "the most uncomfortable costume I've ever been in," explaining it was so tight that the crew "had to powder me down, help me inside, and vacuum-pack the suit."

And then there were the claws. According to Pfeiffer, "I was always catching them in things." Plus, the actress admitted that the mask "was smashing my face and choking me." But perhaps worst of all, the designer forgot that super villains are human too and occasionally need to relieve themselves. Since she was unable to use the restroom, the stitched-up suit had to be revamped, making things just a little bit better for the unfortunate star.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Regardless of your political opinions or religious beliefs, we can all agree that Batman & Robin was a pretty horrible movie. And it was also a little unpleasant for Arnold Schwarzenegger. True, he was earning $25 million to make some pretty awful puns, but the Governator had to deal with some intense makeup work to prepare for the part of Mr. Freeze.

A staggering 11 people spent four hours painting his face and suiting him up, but the real challenge came when it was time to make Schwarzenegger's mouth glow. In order to get that frosty look, makeup artist Jeff Dawn put an LED light in the actor's mouth. As you might assume, that made it difficult for Arnold to drop all those one-liners, but it was also kind of risky. Schwarzenegger's saliva would soak into the batteries, causing acid to leak inside his mouth.

Naturally, Schwarzenegger wasn't about happy about this, and the last thing you want is to make a seven-time Mr. Olympia winner angry, so Dawn put the LED device inside a balloon—and while that fixed the battery acid problem, the light would die every 20 minutes or so, which caused the cast and crew to take quite a few breaks. But despite the drawbacks, Schwarzenegger actually liked his costume a lot; according to producer Peter Macgregor-Scott, he took the outfit home, and pays Warner Bros. $1 a year to keep his super cool suit.

George Clooney

It seems Batman & Robin was unpleasant for everyone involved, especially where superhero costumes are concerned. Alicia Silverstone suffered all sorts of sexist comments—both from the press and coworkers—because she had trouble fitting into her incredibly tight Batgirl outfit. And up-and-coming star George Clooney took quite a bit of flak as well. Taking over for Val Kilmer, the ER star was set to play the Caped Crusader, but for some bizarre reason, somebody thought it would be a good idea to equip Clooney's suit with a pair of nipples.

This ridiculous decision drew the ire of fans and critics, and years later, when asked about his most embarrassing role, Clooney responded, "Well, I wasn't thrilled with the nipples on the batsuit....Batman was just constantly cold I guess." He also admitted the outfit was impractical as it was made from "40 pounds of rubber." Clooney could barely move, and joked that if his Batman were to fight Danny Ocean or Evert McGill, the Dark Knight would suffer from some serious assault and bat-tery.

Ben Affleck...again

Widely considered one of the worst superhero movies, the 2003 Daredevil was a hellish experience for most moviegoers. And evidently, Ben Affleck—who's never had much luck playing masked vigilantes—had a devil of a time with his outfit. In one infamous interview, the actor described his disguise as "a source of humiliation." And after playing George Reeves—the Superman actor who reportedly despised his tights and cape—Affleck admitted he could relate to Reeves, saying, "You know, putting on the uncomfortable, cheesy suit—I understood that." Fortunately, the modern-day Matt Murdock, Charlie Cox, seems to enjoy his superhero costume a bit more, although he did describe his outfit as "pretty tight," saying it takes "four people and about 45 minutes" to get the thing on. And if that's hard for Charlie Cox, you've got to wonder how a blind guy puts it on so darn fast.

Tom Holland

Tom Holland would be the first to tell you that he's incredibly lucky to be playing everybody's favorite wall-crawler. However, that doesn't mean protecting the streets of Queens is an easy job, especially when you have to deal with a superhero costume that's driving you crazy. In a 2016 interview with Variety, the actor admitted that the Spidey-suit is "not the greatest thing" comfort-wise, and that's probably because it's so hard to take off when you need to relieve yourself.

Speaking with Shortlist, Holland confessed the only thing he wears under the costume is a thong, so whenever he needs to visit the restroom, he has to completely undress. On top of that, he originally had a difficult time staying hydrated. In order to keep him supplied with water (after all, the mask doesn't have a mouth), the crew had to stick a plastic tube through a hole in the eye socket, allowing Holland to sip water between takes.

Of course, that would just start the whole bathroom scenario all over again. But the outfit has caused Holland more than just mild discomfort. Underneath the mask, he's wearing an "egg-shaped helmet," one that occasionally hampers his vision—and got him into trouble during one fight scene. According to Holland, he was filming with a stunt double who was wearing a "massive gauntlet" (so we're assuming he was doubling for Shocker), and when the guy threw a punch at Tom's head, the actor didn't see it coming.

As Holland put it, "He punched me in the face so hard, like you wouldn't believe." But hey, with great power comes great responsibility, and with great acting opportunities comes the chance of getting socked by a supervillain.

Oscar Isaac

One of the most talented actors working today, Oscar Isaac had the misfortune of signing up for one of the worst movies of the X-Men franchise. Acting alongside Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, Isaac donned a crazy costume to play Apocalypse, the mutant demigod with a thing for giving flowery speeches and turning people into dust. And it's too bad the film bombed with critics, because Isaac had to deal with a lot of perspiration in order to play the part.

As described by Rolling Stone, Isaac had to wear giant boots that added over three extra inches in height. His suit weighed 40 pounds, and then there was all that makeup and prosthetics. Producer Simon Kinberg confirmed that the suit was indeed a "nightmare contraption," and while Isaac was a trooper, he needed to take frequent breaks in a cooling tent. Every time director Bryan Singer yelled cut, the actor would head for the AC where he tried "to breathe and not freak out that sweat was pouring into my ears and I couldn't touch them. It was rough."

Gal Gadot

Okay, so here's the truth: Gal Gadot doesn't hate her superhero costume. In fact, she actually loves it...at least the version she has now. But when she first tried on her armor, she had a slightly different reaction. Speaking with Jimmy Kimmel, Gadot said when she originally tried on the super suit, the corset was so tight that she "literally could not breathe."

Fortunately, the costume department fixed it up so Wonder Woman could get some much needed air—perhaps too much. Compared to the Flash's getup or Batman's suit, Wonder Woman's outfit is a tad revealing, which means Gadot struggled a bit when Wonder Woman was shot during a chilly English winter. Of course, being the Amazonian she is, Gadot survived the icy climate and absolutely killed it at the box office.

Mark Ruffalo

Granted, Mark Ruffalo doesn't wear an actual superhero costume when he's playing the Incredible Hulk. However, he is forced to wear a grey motion capture suit. Plus, his face is covered in a bunch of dots. As a result, audiences get to see the big green guy on the silver screen, but while CG Hulk looks awesome, Ruffalo sometimes feels pretty ridiculous.

On the set of The Avengers, Ruffalo told Slashfilm that he felt like "a trained actor reduced to the state of a Chinese checker board." He explained that it felt nasty wearing the suit in high temperatures and admitted it's not fun wearing such a tight outfit because he's "not well-endowed and those suits don't really show you off...." Plus, he felt a tiny bit inferior standing alongside the rest of the cast when they were all dressed in their full-Avengers regalia.

On the set of Age of Ultron, Ruffalo described the mo-cap outfits as "very unflattering," and Infinity War co-star Josh Brolin said that Ruffalo considers the suits "really embarrassing." But despite the drawbacks, Ruffalo does "have a blast" starring in the MCU, and all that humiliation really pays off when we finally get to see Ruffalo wrestle giant wolves and smash oversized space worms.

Burt Ward

Long before superheroes dominated the box office, Adam West and Burt Ward battled zany bad guys on the Batman TV show. And while the 1960s series was insanely popular, it wasn't always a pleasant experience for its two stars, especially Ward. Playing the Boy Wonder, Ward had to wear a rather revealing costume that he described as "the most uncomfortable thing I've ever put on in my life."

Talking with The Hollywood Reporter, Ward explained that when he first wore the costume, "The tights pulled the hair on my legs, the mask bothered my eyelashes, the vest had these edges that punctured through my t-shirt." But dealing with the pain was well worth it, as the show turned him into a TV star. And Ward still occasionally dons the iconic costume. Joking with Fox News, Ward explained, "I only wear it on two occasions. One is when I go trick or treating. The other is for very private moments with my wife."

George Reeves

Long before Christopher Reeve donned the Superman suit on the big screen, George Reeves played the Man of Steel on TV—and he did so in probably the most uncomfortable Superman costume of them all. Reeves played the Kryptonian in the Adventures of Superman TV series in the '50s, which filmed in Culver City, CA, during the peak summer months.

As one can imagine, it gets quite hot in southern California, and wearing a full-body suit during the summer, especially one made of wool jersey, can be torturous. Although Reeves never publicly complained about it, many people, including historians, presume the suit would have been virtually unbearable to wear.

In 2015, the Smithsonian's Natural Museum of American History loaned Reeves' superhero costume to the Ohio History Center. At the time, the museum's Curator of Entertainment History, Dwight Blocker Bowers, discussed various aspects of the suit, saying, "It's wool jersey and was worn with a muscle suit made of cotton muslin underneath, which would have made it very hot under TV lights." Apparently, it got so hot underneath that suit that Reeves would lose up to ten pounds a day.