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Sometimes we see a mask is used by an actor of a film by which he drastically changes his face. I was under the impression that only after plastic surgery one can change his face. I stumbled upon this question while watching Don2. Here it is shown Shahrukh Khan changes his face drastically by using such mask to Hrithik Roshans face. I believe such mask does not exist because from IMDB I found Hrithik had a special appearance(I believe only for the face changing scene) in that movie. I am posting the screenshots to make you guys more clear about which mask I am talking about. Here Don i.e. Shahrukh Khan opens the mask:

Hrithiks Face

Hrithiks Face

Opening the mask

Opening the mask

SRK showing his face

SRK showing his face

I remember similar masks were shown in MI 2 and 3. So how is this scenes done if the mask is not real?

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Nice question, i have seen many bollywood/hollywood movies with this kind of masks, such as Charlies angels etc. –  Ankit Sharma Dec 3 '12 at 9:28
its all camera tricks.! –  Sahil Mahajan Mj Dec 3 '12 at 12:29
The biggest movie(IMO), or if I may, movie franchise to make removable masks popular, to impersonate other characters is the MI - Mission Impossible series(along with a voice-modulation patch). –  KeyBrd Basher Dec 4 '12 at 8:39

3 Answers 3

up vote 23 down vote accepted

IMDb explains this for a scene in Mission: Impossible II:

The scene where Tom Cruise "peels off his face" to reveal Dougray Scott was achieved in one shot by shooting both actors against a green screen.

  • Cruise, not wearing a mask, was simply told to place his hand in a pre-arranged position under his chin then pull his hand across his face.

  • Scott wore a plain mask with sensors that could provide a computer with a three-dimensional view of his face. He then peeled off this mask to finish the scene.

  • Cruise's face was superimposed on the mask as it is pulled away and the two images morphed together in the computer;

    1 [Source]


  • The background of the 747 cabin was added in to replace the green screen.

Kevin Yagher contributed some more traditional latex mask effects for other face-peeling scenes.

The MythBusters have tested if realistic masks can be used to fool people.


It only worked if people stood far enough away. Once they were up close they knew something was off. [Results]

[Watch Clip]

There is a real-life case of someone using a rubber mask to get through airport security:

    Asian male

An Asian male disguised himself as an elderly white man using a silicone mask and successfully boarded a flight from Hong Kong to Canada.

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Nice answer with good examples. –  Ankit Sharma Dec 6 '12 at 15:43
+1 for that creepy old guy mask! –  Daft Feb 3 at 16:44
I have seen some very good elderly people masks in particular, I think it is just far easier to fake winkely dieing skin than it is to fake plump healthy skin. –  Jonathon Wisnoski Sep 2 at 21:46

It is certainly possible to alter the facial appearance of a person to make him/her resemble another person using prosthetic make-up.

But those shown in the movies such as Mission Impossible, Charlie's Angels and the one depicted above are not practically possible as it would involve the mask to be a one-piece wearable and removable item, very much unlike current date prosthetic masks that are a composition of a set of different pieces.

To gain a little more perspective of what I am talking about you could go through this slide that shows the transformation of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan into a kid suffering from progeria, for the Bollywood movie Paa.

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Nice example of Paa. –  Ankit Sharma Dec 4 '12 at 22:23

No, that one is not possible. Knowing the limitations of current mask technology, it's not possible to simply have a one-piece, pull-it-all-off mask to reveal everything... but let's assume for a moment that we CAN have that.

The Nose of the underlying man is much wider than the mask. Putting a mask on would just make it even larger. One cannot simply put a mask on a very large person and have them impersonate a skinny person.

What if mask tech could squeeze the face of the wearer? Add the mass of the mask itself, and this "skinnyifying" (yes I just made that up) technology in the nose of the mask together and ask just how much would it crush the underlying man's nose? To the point of him not being able to breathe through it, or speak clearly, for sure.

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