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Austin Butler Was Covered in ‘Dried Dirt and Dust’ for ‘The Bikeriders,’ Makeup Artist Says (Exclusive)

Why Austin Butler Was Covered in Dried Dirt and Dust for The Bikeriders
Austin Butler Courtesy of Focus Features

Austin Butler’s daily transformation into Benny on The Bikeriders set was full of “dirt and grime,” the film’s makeup department head, Ashleigh Chavis, exclusively told Us Weekly.

Chavis went through her day-to-day routine, walking Us through what it was like to get Butler, 32, reading for filming.

“Austin would come down to me, we would get his facial hair trimmed and shaved the proper lengths. He had fake tattoos applied daily,” she recalled. “That involved shaving his arms, getting all of that prepped and everything. Then, of course, the dirt that’s just ever-present.”

Chavis “mixed up a couple of different products” to get the perfect mix of “dried dirt and dust and grime” to create “road dust” on Butler.

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“These guys didn’t wear helmets back then and so the dust of the road just kind of, you know, floated around on them but they were kicking back off of their bikes onto one another,” she explained. “He definitely had an element of a liquid grease that was always under his nails, always rubbed into his hands just because they were guys that tinkered with their bikes.”

Why Austin Butler Was Covered in Dried Dirt and Dust for The Bikeriders 3
Jodie Comer and Austin Butler Kyle Kaplan/Focus Features

Butler stars alongside Jodie Comer and Tom Hardy in The Bikeriders, which hits theaters today, Friday, June 21.

Directed by Jeff Nichols, the film, set in the 1960s, follows the rise of Chicago motorcycle club Vandals MC. The movie was inspired by the 1967 photo book of the same name by Danny Lyon.

When helping bring the characters to life, Chavis wanted to bring “the element of [that] dried dusty dirt” to the screen. Another element she had a huge hand in was creating the tattoos for each rider. Chavis worked alongside fellow makeup artist Christien Tinsley, whom she called “basically the go-to for creating the most realistic looking tattoos in Hollywood,” to “customize” the movie’s ink.

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While some of the movie’s stars were already covered in ink, Chavis praised The Bikeriders costume department for putting the more tatted actors in long sleeves.

“We had to cover pretty much everyone’s tattoos, they’re just too modern. … Guys back in the ‘60s didn’t have full sleeve tattoos or even half sleeves or really anything like that. Where they were placed were just different,” she shared, naming Beau Knapp and Tom Hardy as the most inked up stars — and the ones with the longest tattoo transformation.

Why Austin Butler Was Covered in Dried Dirt and Dust for The Bikeriders 2
Austin Butler Courtesy of Focus Features

“Beau was our one that we had to conceal the most prior to applying [fake tattoos],” she said. “Tom’s we just trying to keep covered every day and then add a few on his hands and stuff like that.”

Chavis credited the movie’s cast and crew with a lot of trust, which made her experience that much better. She also shared a special shoutout to Michael Shannon, whom she worked with on George & Tammy.

“He is no joke. He’s a professional and he is a master at his craft,” she gushed. “He was a big part of me getting the job with The Bikeriders. … Putting me up as a potential for department head. He had a big part in that.”

The Bikeriders premieres in theaters today, Friday, June 21.

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