Revenge of the Sith | Behind the Scenes | Getting Burned

Dave Elsey and his crew created the makeup for a scene that diehard fans had waited years to see realized – the lava pit sequence, in which Anakin Skywalker played by Hayden Christensen falls to his doom, only to shortly arise as Darth Vader. In order to compensate for any makeup emergencies, Elsey and his team constructed backup prosthetics for the actor – 10 faces which were painted exactly the same, including every skin pore, every dot and every broken blood vessel. The application process of the

prosthetic makeup took over 3 hours and had to be repeated each time it’s used

because the pieces were very delicate and couldn’t be re-used.

The prosthetics were made of foam latex, which is a very soft, spongy material, and the edges were tissue thin so that the make-up artists could lose them into the skin. When the makeup was removed at the end of the day, the whole piece was destroyed including every piece that they stuck on that was meticulously artworked and detailed with highlights and shadow. Since they were trying to convince people that the makeup was really the actor’s face, they meticulously put it all in like an artist would paint an oil painting. Because skin is translucent and foam latex is opaque they had to trick the camera into thinking that it could actually see all the blood beneath the surface of the skin, and all the veins, freckles and so on.

In addition to the foam appliance burn effects and a full body prosthetic, Elsey fitted Hayden Christensen with contact lenses to suggest scorched eyeballs, and a set of blackened teeth over receding, bleeding gums to show the effect of smoke and fire inhalation. Christensen’s contact lenses were crafted by Reel Eye of London, the house that also supplied Ian McDiarmid’s lenses for his make-up as the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.