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Actors Who Wound Up Getting Tattoos Of Their Roles

Do you ever watch an inked-up actor in a movie and wonder if their tattoos are real? Nine times out of 10 you'd be wrong. From Keanu Reeves' tattoos in "John Wick" to Jason Momoa's arm art in "Aquaman," your favorite movie star probably didn't get a brand new tattoo just for a role. Most of the time this is the responsibility of the makeup department (via Yahoo), just like all the fake cuts and bruises you see on the heroes in action movies. However, every so often an actor will get a tattoo to commemorate a movie role or sometimes for the role itself. 

It's not uncommon for the casts of long-running TV shows and movie franchises to get matching tattoos to celebrate the friendships they made. Multiple cast members on shows like "Breaking Bad" and "Game of Thrones" have had ink done in honor of their projects. Whether they got them in commemoration of a memorable shoot or alongside co-stars, these are the most famous actors who wound up getting tattoos related to their best movie and small screen roles.

Florence Pugh sports the Midsommar maypole on her arm

Rising star Florence Pugh is known to have a handful of tattoos, but the English actress has one in particular inspired by the most disturbing movie she's been in. After playing Dani in Ari Aster's pagan horror movie "Midsommar," Pugh got a tattoo to commemorate her starring role. In the wake of a life altering trauma, her character follows her toxic boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) across the world to a mid-summer pagan festival where endless horrors await. 

One of the symbols most important to the festival in the 2019 film is the maypole. The maypole dance is a central event in the festival and it occurs during the tense climactic moments of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour movie. It features prominently on some of the movie's posters as well. Pugh has this symbol tattooed on her forearm, which she revealed to the public by showing it off for the first time on an Instagram live session (via Reddit).

The cast of the Avengers got matching tattoos

You don't play a member of the world's most famous superhero group without growing a little attached to your co-stars over the years. This was certainly the case with "The Avengers" movies and the cast of MCU regulars embodying these iconic characters on screen. In fact, stars Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth all got matching tattoos of the "Avengers" logo to commemorate the release of "Avengers: Infinity War" in 2018.

Five of the six original team members of the MCU's "Avengers" were tattooed with an artistic variation on the "Avengers" A, drawn by artist Josh Lord. Of the six, Mark Ruffalo was the only one of the group to opt out. According to Robert Downey Jr. (per EW) the tattoo was originally Johansson's idea, and she and Evans were the first two to have the ink done. Lord was later flown out to Los Angeles to do the other three Avengers. Downey Jr. also mentioned the "Thor" actor was the most reluctant, saying "we just bullied [Chris] Hemsworth into doing it, and he got it."

Lady Gaga carries A Star is Born on her back

Pop star Lady Gaga proved her acting chops were up to snuff in her Oscar-nominated performance as Ally Maine in "A Star is Born," 2018 edition. There are numerous reasons why her semi-autobiographical role (via The Washington Post) was so important to the actress, but one song in particular means a lot to Stefani Germanotta. 

"La Vie en Rose" is the first thing you hear Ally sing in "A Star is Born," and it's one of the few non-original songs on the track list. The Édith Piaf standard — written in the 1940s — has been covered by dozens of major artists over the years. Even before the movie, Gaga was a big fan of the song. Just like in the opening of the movie, Bradley Cooper saw Gaga perform "La Vie en Rose" for the first time in 2016 and was "completely blown away" (per Elle), and soon he was calling up her agent to cast her in the film. 

After the movie, the actress and singer even got a tattoo of a rose down her spinal cord. She officially showed her "La Vie en Rose" ink off on Instagram on Valentine's Day in 2019. 

Tom Holland has a Spider-Man foot eternal

Before you knew that Tom Holland was Spider-Man, he had to get cast. And when he did, the then-19-year-old actor was so stoked he had to get a commemorative tattoo. The location of said tat, however, is not where you might think.

Sometime between landing the role of Peter Parker (first seen in "Avengers: Infinity War") and the 2017 press tour for "Spider-Man: Homecoming," (via YouTube) Tom Holland got a spider tattooed on the bottom of his foot. That's definitely a painful place to get inked, but as a lifelong spidey fan, this specific tattoo and location was one that Holland had always wanted. However, that doesn't mean the actor was spared a tinge of regret.

"It hurt so much," Holland said of the tattoo's painful location. "I actually had to have it done three times though because on the bottom of your foot it fades away." Talk about commitment to the bit.

Zoe Kravitz and the sister wives made their Mad Max: Fury Road mark permanent

While you might best remember Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy as the stars of the stunning "Mad Max: Fury Road," they are still stoic action heroes. The beating heart of the movie comes from the enslaved Sister Wives of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and their tragic journey across the desert. This group of women portraying them — Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton — wound up bonding on set and turned their shared on-screen tragedy into real-life friendship. The five even got matching tattoos to cement the friendships.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Eaton revealed that these stars of the movie all got the same tattoo of three dots surrounding the shape of a triangle. According to the Australian model, the six-month long shoot (shot in multiple cities across Africa) was draining but ultimately inspired the bond these five women now share. Now if only they could be reunited for another "Mad Max" sequel.

Sophie Turner notched a Game of Thrones memory on her arm

The "Game of Thrones" cast members were no strangers to getting tattooed to commemorate their time on the show. And who can blame them? Sophie Turner, who played Sansa Stark, and a bunch of other younger cast members more or less grew up on the set of the HBO smash hit. So it only makes sense that being part of something for nearly a decade would endear you to it. This was certainly the case with Turner and her detailed "Game of Thrones" tattoo. 

On "The Late Late Show with James Corden," Sophie Turner revealed she had a tattoo on her forearm from the fantasy series. Her "GOT" ink depicts a direwolf head — the lifelong wolf companions of the Stark clan — as well as a script that reads "the pack survives." At the time, there was controversy about whether revealing the tattoo was a spoiler (per Variety). Indeed, in the end of the series, it turned out that the Starks did all survive the cruel winds of a long winter, with each of them getting a happy(ish) ending. She and Arya Stark actress Maisie Williams also have matching tattoos of the date they got cast in the show (via Harpers).

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul bonded in ink for Breaking Bad

While "Breaking Bad" lead Walt (Bryan Cranston) and sidekick Jesse's (Aaron Paul) relationship started rocky and only crashed and burned as the seasons went on, the actors who played the dynamic duo developed quite a friendship over the years. In bringing the story of meth kingpin Walter White to life, the entire "Breaking Bad" cast and crew grew quite close. So much so that during the final days of shooting Season 6, a tattoo artist working as a set decorator on the shoot offered to give anyone a tattoo that wanted one. 

Aaron Paul got a large tattoo of the words "No Half Measures" on his bicep, a reference to Mike's (Jonathan Banks) speech from the show's fourth season. You can even see it show up in the "Need for Speed" movie if you pay close enough attention (via YouTube). Other crew members got inked, but the most surprising addition was a nearly 60-year-old Cranston. Not being a tattoo guy, the actor wanted something to commemorate his time on the show saying "'Breaking Bad' changed my life" (per GQ). Ultimately, he got the periodic table-styled "Breaking Bad" logo tatted on the inside of his right ring finger. 

Neil Patrick Harris inked his love for Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events

Neil Patrick Harris's turn as the menacing, yet deeply inept, villain Count Olaf in Netflix's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" adaptation is a highlight of the show. The seasoned actor has played dozens of leading roles across film, TV, and on stage, but until "A Series of Unfortunate Events" he had never gotten a tattoo to celebrate. So why this project? Well, in an interview on "The Late Show with Seth Meyers," Harris proclaimed his love for the show calling it "timeless" and saying he was "really proud of the way it turned out." 

When Harris found out the series was renewed for a second season, he decided to get Count Olaf's iconic tattoo of an eye on his ankle. Soon after that, in March 2017, he revealed it to the public on Instagram, sharing that it was also the actor's first time getting tatted. In "A Series of Unfortunate Events," the eye tattoo is a symbol that identifies members of VFD, the volunteer fire department whose schism was responsible for starting the unfortunate series of events in the first place. 

The cast of Lord of the Rings got matching tattoos

Peter Jackson's epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy of films introduced a generation to both the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien and boosted the fame of talented actors like Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen. These two were only a fraction of the fellowship of nine sworn to deliver the One Ring to its fiery end at Mount Doom in the fantasy trilogy. The actors formed a real-life fellowship as well, glowing close on the 14-month-long nonstop shoot of all three "Lord of the Rings" movies.  As they would reveal years later on social media, many of them had matching tats. 

In addition to Mortensen and Bloom, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Sir Ian McKellen, and Billy Boyd all got matching tattoos of the word "Nine," written in Tolkien's Elvish language. They even showed them all off years later when the cast reunited for a charity stream in 2020 (via People). This script symbolizes the nine members of "The Fellowship of the Ring" and the friendships they made on a movie shoot of epic proportions. 

The cast of Suicide Squad tattooed each other

To clarify, we are talking about the 2016 film "Suicide Squad" here and not James Gunn's 2021 movie "The Suicide Squad." It's an important distinction to make with the exception that either way we are talking about Margot Robbie getting a tattoo. Seriously, for as much as that movie turned out to be a disaster, you can't argue that the cast of David Ayer's "Suicide Squad" didn't bond on set. They bonded so hard, in fact, that they ended up giving each other matching tattoos. 

In an interview with MTV, Robbie and co-stars Will Smith, Cara Delevingne, and Joel Kinnaman sat down to explain what the ink meant. Members of the cast and crew, including Kinnaman and Robbie, got tats saying "SKWAD" (Kinnaman's is on his bicep, while Robbie's on her foot) in honor of the "Suicide Squad." On set, Robbie was apparently an avid stick-and-poke artist and ended up doing tattoos on cast and crew mates while in her Harley Quinn costume. This was an endeavor the actress was eventually forced to give up after a drunken tattooing mishap (via Insider). 

Selena Gomez had 13 reasons why she should get some new body art

Worldwide music icon and actress Selena Gomez is no stranger to tattoos. In fact, she's not stranger at all to matching tattoos, considering Selena Gomez recently got another matching tattoo with Cara Delevingne, her "Only Murders in the Building" co-star and real-life bestie. But before her latest hit show, Gomez was an executive producer on the controversial Netflix teen drama "13 Reasons Why," which ran four seasons. Despite backlash during the series original debut (via The Guardian), Gomez stood by the project, even going as far to get matching tattoos with the stars of the series. 

Selena Gomez and "13 Reasons Why" leads Tommy Dorfman and Alisha Boe all got matching semicolon tattoos on their wrists in 2017 (via Elle). Fans of the show will know this symbol is dedicated to mental wellness and suicide prevention nonprofit Project Semicolon. Anyone who follows Gomez's work and has watched the show knows she takes mental health care seriously. 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Kaley Cuoco and Zosia Mamet flew to a tattoo shop after The Flight Attendant

The two stars of HBO's "The Flight Attendant" Kaylee Cuoco and Zosia Mamet are best friends in the show and also happen to be best friends in real life, Mamet revealed on "The Drew Barrymore Show." They met on the show, but you wouldn't believe it based on how close they've become in a couple of short years. The two are now roommates and even have matching tattoos to boot. 

Cuoco and Mamet's shared tattoo goes back to one of the first inside jokes from their friendship. Both of the actresses have a tattoo with a script on their bicep that says "Boop." This is a reference to Mamet's contact in Cuoco's phone, which she has saved under the name "Boop." The two used this term of endearment with one another while filming "The Flight Attendant" and decided to get the matching ink to commemorate the roles and the friendship the show created.

Emilia Clarke inked baby dragons for Game of Thrones

Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams weren't the only huge "Game of Thrones" stars to get tattoos done as reminders of their time being a part of one of the biggest shows on Earth. Khaleesi herself, Emilia Clarke, got ink done in honor of her character Daenerys Targaryen, the mother of all dragons. Can you take a gander at what she got inked on her wrist?

If you guessed dragons, well then, you would be correct. Specifically, Clarke got a small tattoo of three dragons on her wrist in honor of Daenerys Targaryen's three dragons — Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion — the actress revealed on Instagram. The character raised these dragons from birth until the bitter end of Dany's journey, so obviously, these creatures meant a lot to Clarke. Dany was a main character from day one, and by the time the series was over, only one actor ended up being in more episodes than Emilia Clarke

Shia LaBeouf commemorated his time on American Honey with a dozen new tats

One of the most outrageous tattoo-related stories on a movie set came from the mouth of "Transformers" and "Even Stevens" actor Shia LaBeouf. According to an interview he did with Variety while promoting the 2016 indie drama "American Honey," LaBeouf got 12 tattoos during the filming of the movie. After making some career mistakes, LaBeouf came back into critic's good graces with his role in Andrea Arnold's highly awarded film, but that doesn't mean dynamics on the set were anywhere near normal. 

"One of the things we'd do as a group, we'd all go to the tattoo shop," LaBeouf said. During the shoot, he got a dozen tats, including two depicting singer Missy Elliott. This slightly upset director Andrea Arnold, who was concerned about continuity issues with one of her lead actor. The character himself is already covered in tattoos, so watching "American Honey" it's hard to tell which pieces of ink are real and which were artificially added for the movie.