It’s no mystery to audiences that the actors are retouched a bit onscreen in post-production after a movie has been filmed (and the same goes for TV series), but Spider-Man actor Tom Holland has recently revealed that there’s actually a name for the filtering that is done: it’s called “a beauty pass”, and editors can do anything from removing actors’ acne to adding extra teeth with it!
On the Empire podcast, Tom spoke about requesting that said beauty pass be used to make his skin look better in Spider-Man: No Way Home after long hours on set made him eat junk food and break out with acne. “They take out all my acne,” he said on the podcast. “They do what’s called a beauty pass. I went to go see Spider-Man way before it was finished, and one of my biggest notes was like ‘Can you please fix my skin’. Because we were shooting and we were tired, and when I get tired, you know, I eat unhealthily and stuff like that and my acne comes back. So they do do a beauty pass. So we don’t look like that in real life, guys.”
Tom also added that editing out any acne or imperfections is for “continuity”. “I get so much of the stuff, I’ll have spots bouncing over my face from different shots”, he explained.
Although Tom Holland was speaking about his experience with retouching in Marvel Studios movies, CGI retouching and filters are also used constantly in movies from any studio. Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, who stars alongside Leonardo Dicaprio and Meryl Streep in the Netflix movie Don’t Look Up that has just received four Oscar nominations, was recently speaking with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show and revealed that one of her teeth was CGI during most of the movie. After a veneer broke and COVID restrictions kept her from seeing a dentist, she just asked them to CGI the tooth in throughout filming — and they did! You can see Lawrence speaking about the experience below!
Comparing one’s appearance to that of actors in movies or TV shows can be damaging for many audience members’ self-esteem or body image when they seek to unlock that same beauty, so keeping the “beauty pass”, lighting tricks, makeup, and filters from filmmaking in mind can be a huge help when you’re envying the beauty of your favorite characters (Marvel or otherwise)! And remember — even superheroes can apparently struggle with oily skin, pimples, blemishes, or breakouts from junk food.