Hollywood veteran Glenn Close turned to the Albanian culture of "sworn virgins" to perfect her look as a man for new film Albert Nobbs.
The actress underwent a drastic movie makeover to portray the title character - a woman who disguises herself as a male to work as a hotel waiter in 19th century Ireland.
Her stunning transformation helped Close land an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and she admits her convincing appearance in the film is modelled on an old picture she saw in a magazine article about the unusual eastern European culture.
Speaking on U.S. talk show The View on Wednesday (25Jan12), she explains, "The challenge of doing a part like this on film is that you have a close-up and the close-up is very revealing, so it was a question of devising, through rigorous hair and make-up tests, what the face of a woman would look like if she had been basically embedded as a waiter for 30 years.
"Actually I had this picture of a woman from Albania from the National Geographic; I got it in 2002. There is a culture where, if a family doesn't have a male heir, they designate a woman to act and live a life as a man; they're called sworn virgins. I had the face of this woman that I was fascinated by all these years and I thought, 'You know, the eyes, the hairline, the ears, all that...'"
Close's Albert Nobbs transformation has also earned Clare Lambe and Matthew Mungle an Academy Award nomination for Make-Up.