two men

Papillon Remake: The Iconic Butterfly Tattoo

Movie poster for 'Papillon' featuring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek, highlighting the iconic butterfly tattoo

35 years after the first film adaptation of this cult autobiographical novel by Henri Charrière, Charlie Hunnam (originally played by Steve McQueen) recreates the legendary prison break. The film follows the epic struggle of Henri « Papillon » Charrière and his escape attempts from notorious and cruel french high-security prison on Devil’s Island where he’s being incarcerated unjustly for murder. In his endless efforts to regain his freedom Henri makes an unusual alliance with Louis Dega originally played by Dustin Hoffman, and now in this remake played by the marvelously talented Rami Malek. This is the incredible story of friendship, hardship and unbelievable cruelty and the determination to be free. One of the ultimate adventure stories.

Along with the make-up designer Kirstin Chalmers we are proud that our tattoos played such an enormous role in this film to create a look and give an authenticity of the gangland criminals of the time and of course to recreate the iconic « Papillon » butterfly tattoo.

A lot of Kristin’s inspiration came from the fascinating book Mauvais Garçon: Portaits de tatoués. This incredibly exciting book contains wonderful photographs from 1890 to 1930. As well as the photographs, this book decodes meanings of the tattoos, frozen in time on the bodies of the prisoners, convicts and individuals of the french underworld at the time.

Photos from the book 'Mauvais Garçons: Portraits de tatoués' showing three men with intricate tattoos covering their bodies as prisoners
               Photos from the book Mauvais Garçons: Portaits de tatoués 

For us at TattooedNow! We had to produce very large numbers of realistic temporary tattoos, not just for the main stars, but also to apply to more than 200 extras for the large scenes both inside and outside of the prison. Another great job done !

Charlie Hunnam plays Henri, a Frenchman imprisoned on the notorious Devil’s Island, with realistic tattoos by TattooedNow
Charlie Hunnam as Henri in Papillon, featuring realistic tattoos by TattooedNow

Charlie Hunnam Henri « Papillon » Charrière and Michael Socha as prisoners on Devil’s Island

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