In the film industry, technology has advanced so much that actors can be digitally rejuvenated for a role, but when it comes to making them look taller or more practical methods can be used that are very effective, such as playing with the perspective or visual perception of what you see on the screen.
‘The Lord of the rings’
Many forced perception methods were used in this film to make the actors playing the hobbits, a race of small stature, look child-sized next to human characters.
In real life, Ian McKellen is only 2 inches taller than Elijah Wood, but on screen it appears as if Wood is of a child’s height as Gandalf looks much taller than him.
To pull off this visual trick on film, the production had to build two versions of the same sets of different sizes, position the actors closer to or farther from the camera, and use stuntmen of various heights.
Rubeus Hagrid is half giant and half wizard, making him 8 feet 6 inches tall. The production made actor Robin Coltrane look much taller in the movies, since in real life he is 6 feet tall.
To make Hagrid look like a giant, perspective tricks were used such as using wider lenses; shoot from different angles or place the actor closer to the lens; create small props or sets so the actor would look big when interacting with them. For some shots, a stuntman taller than the actor was used, with platforms and an animatronic head of the character.
For the Marvel movies, the actors of characters like Tony Stark/Iron Man and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow had to have their height increased to keep up with their castmates.
In the case of Scarlett Johansson for movies like ‘Avengers’, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and the others in which she shares scenes with Chris Evans, she had to use platforms to increase her 5 feet 3 inches and get closer to 6 feet of the Steve Rogers actor.
Robert Downey Jr., in his role as Tony Stark, received a height increase to look taller and catch up with the other actors and even surpass his partner Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is 5 feet 8 inches, one inch more than the actor.
In the movie ‘Fast Five’ (2011) Dwayne Johnson made his debut in the franchise as agent Luke Hobbs and although he is taller than Vin Diesel, in the scenes they shared together they both seem the same size.
To achieve this effect in the movies, they resorted to the technique of forced perspective so that on the screen Vin Diesel with his 5 feet and 9 inches would look the same size as The Rock with his 6 feet and 5 inches.
In this 1999 film, based on a novel by Stephen King, the character of John Coffey, played by the late Michael Clarke Duncan, looks like a giant. Although he is indeed very tall at 6 feet 4 inches, standing next to Tom Hanks doesn’t make much of a difference because the actor is 6 feet tall.
Different camera angles were used to make him look much taller than all the actors and even for the scenes where they are standing together, Clark Duncan was standing on a board while Tom Hanks was standing in a ditch to make himself look smaller.