Javier Botet: the Hollywood monster

Unlike many Hollywood actors, Botet is better at being the monster in the movie.

Javier characterized as

Javier has played different monster characters in hit Hollywood movies. / Photo: Javier Botet

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Bacallado

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Leer en español: Javier Botet: el monstruo de Hollywood

Surely no one relates Javier Botet's name to cinema, much less to Hollywood cinema, and this happens despite having acted in renowned films such as the first installment of It, Insidious, Alien, La Cumbre Escarlata among other special films. But the reason why the name Botet is not associated with these films is that he has only played the roles of monsters and ghosts, those that it would seem impossible to play for a human being, which were done by Botet, with a lot of makeup and Marfan syndrome.

In addition to his precise actions, it is Marfan syndrome that makes Botet “ideal” for this type of role, since as KidsHealth review, Marfan syndrome consists of a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue, which has the function to support and structure parts of the body such as skin, bones, among others. For this reason, people living with the syndrome are taller and thinner than average, with long fingers, sunken eyes, and other unusual characteristics, such as curiosity. The former president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, had this same syndrome.

Javier Botet suffers from Marfan syndrome, which has marked his physical appearance, this 43-year-old Spanish actor is 2 meters tall and only weighs 60kg, his long fingers have been an essential tool in his performances. However, it was not his physique that led him to all this, since Botet was related to horror movies since he was a child, as the BBC reports, he had a childhood in which he was interested in fiction and supernatural, to the point of drawing monsters. This led him to study Fine Arts at a university in Granada, but he would move to Madrid to start his film career, which initially tackled special effects, but in one of those courses his teacher, Pedro Rodriguez -winner of three Goya awards, the highest decoration in Spanish cinema- would give him the idea of venturing into monster makeup.


After his teacher recommended him for several casts, in 2005 Botet would premiere in Spanish cinema with the film Beneath Still Waters, according to La Vanguardia. In 2007 Botet would play the character Niña Medeiros in the zombie film Rec. Thanks to this role, he would meet Argentine director Andres Muschietti, who was preparing a film called Mamá, which would have Guillermo del Toro as executive producer. There Javier Botet will star in Mamá, which would be his arrival at Hollywood cinema since the film would be distributed by Universal Pictures. Botet would say that "that was the real point that made my career grow", since people believed that the ghost he played had been digitally recreated due to the way he moved, so a video of Botet playing the role would be published, which would surprise and lead other directors to hire him, according to the BBC.

Javier Botet would have many other important monster roles, such as the character of "the entity" in Polaroid. He would also be one of the aliens in the 2017 film Alien, he would play the leper in both installments of It, and he would be the protagonist monster of the latest installment of Insidious: The Last Key. In fact, he would even appear in the last season of Game of Thrones as a white walker who chases Arya in the third chapter, he would be Slender Man in his film released in 2018, he would be under the orders of Guillermo del Toro in his film The Scarlet Summit and appear in one installment of The Conjuring, in this case, the second with the role of "the crooked man."

How much makeup?

If something highlights the monsters that Javier has played, it is the large amount of makeup he requires. According to the newspaper Efe, in films like REC he needed to spend 10 hours being made up, plus acting time and then removing his makeup, which would add up to an hour more. In some cases, he preferred to sleep with makeup, since the filming hours ended late at night and resumed early the next day. In addition, the weight of the makeup is important, since he has had to have 30 kg of makeup on him and at other times wear pants that had to be torn to go to the bathroom.

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Losing his job to digitization?

In 1990 with the rise of computers and their use to recreate digital effects in movies like Jurassic Park, Javier came to doubt the continuity of his profession. However, he would assure later that digitization ended up generating more work since in the case of monsters, a person is needed to show how real they can be, “you can touch it, it exists and it can happen”. In fact, Botet is so concerned with doing a good job that he has practiced dance to improve his movements according to the BBC. Javier also works in other positions such as director of short films and some roles in comic films.

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