Did Tom Hanks Gain Weight for Elvis Movie?

Directed by Baz Luhrmann, ‘Elvis’ is a biographical film that revolves around the life and career of Elvis Presley, the “King” of Rock and Roll music. The biopic opens a window to know more about the famed singer’s relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Parker. In real life, Tom was one of Elvis’ biggest support systems, personally and professionally. Tom Hanks, a two-time Academy Award winner and one of the greatest actors of his generation, portrays Tom in the musical film. Since the actor’s appearance is almost unrecognizable in the film, one must be intrigued to know whether Hanks had gained weight for his role. Let us share the answer!

Did Tom Hanks Gain Weight for Elvis?

Tom Hanks seemingly did not gain weight for ‘Elvis.’ The actor used a fat suit and relied heavily on prosthetics to portray Colonel Tom Parker. To do justice to the character, Hanks had to appear drastically different. In the film, Hanks’ Colonel Tom Parker appears in three distinct looks with regard to the settings, specifically the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s. To maintain continuity, attention to detail was essential.

“We [the make-up department] had to consider the journey of the skin as he [Colonel Tom Parker] ages, knowing that we were also going to create the very elderly version later, so there is a distinct map of freckles that had to start in the 50’s to the beginnings of age spots in the 70’s look,” Sean Genders, one of the make-up artists worked in the film, told LAFT USA. For the first two appearances, Tom Hanks had to do make-up for an average time of three and a half hours including the time required to put on the wig.

Hanks took more time to prepare for the third look, for the setting of the 1980s, since it involved more prosthetic pieces. “The older version of Tom Parker added at least another hour and a half as we also had prosthetic hand and arm appliances to add,” Genders added. Telesis 8 (F) was used for the prosthetic pieces glued into the different parts of Hanks’ face. To ensure maximum movement for Hanks, LV Deadener was used with the silicon for the prosthetics around the actor’s mouth as well.

The hours-long make-up procedures didn’t discourage Hanks. The actor was patient and his determination to do justice to the character is evident in the film. “Tom was amazing. No fuss, always polite and professional,” Genders recalled. “Tom would be in the chair early in the morning and we would immediately get to work. He would sit very still, very calm, and allow us to do what we had to do,” the make-up artist added to LAFT USA. In addition to the prosthetic pieces, a fat suit was also used to perfect the actor’s appearance.

In past, Tom Hanks had changed his physique drastically for the perfection of his characters. He had reportedly lost 50 pounds for ‘Cast Away,’ gained 30 pounds for ‘A League of Their Own,’ and lost 26 pounds for ‘Philadelphia.’ However, after getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, weight changes became “a young man’s game” for the actor.

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