Armie Hammer — who is one of the praised actors — portrays FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson from his 20s to his 70s, with layers of makeup increasing as the decades pass. Speaking with USA Today, Hammer claims that anyone who complains about the makeup is missing the point of what Eastwood’s team was trying to accomplish in the film.
Hammer explains that it was an aesthetic choice to use makeup techniques that are similar to ones used in previous decades. He explains, “Here’s the thing. The makeup, for what it was, was incredible. It was prosthetic makeup, done in the way you would have done that makeup 50 years ago. It’s a throwback. It’s nostalgic. No one does makeup like that anymore because it doesn’t look the best, because it’s not the cheapest and it’s not the fastest. Clint (Eastwood, who directed the film) could have done it in CGI, and any other director immediately would have done it in CGI because it would have been easier, cheaper, the whole thing.”
Though Hammer had to sit for up to seven hours in the makeup chair, he defends Eastwood’s choice. “Clint did a nostalgic movie that would have been shot exactly the same if you shot it in 1940. It was the best. Trust me, Clint’s people and the people who did it are the very best at what they do. But it’s an old way of doing makeup. I don’t think many actors will get the chance to do that ever again. The fact that I even got a chance to participate in something like that was awesome.”