The Secrets Behind Lindsay Lohan's Elizabeth Taylor Transformation

06/05/2012 at 04:30 PM ET

Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor
Courtesy Lifetime

When Lindsay Lohan first walked onto the set of Lifetime’s Liz & Dick dressed as screen legend Elizabeth Taylor, “there was an audible gasp,” the movie’s costume designer, Salvador Pérez, tells PEOPLE. “You’d swear it was Elizabeth.”

Dressed in Taylor’s favorite styles — jewel-toned cocktail dresses, fur coats and those famous gems (well, good fakes) — the actress looked remarkably like her screen idol. “She just walked into the clothes and became Elizabeth Taylor,” says Pérez.

Producer Larry Thompson had some of Taylor’s most famous bling, including the 33-carat Krupp diamond, recreated for the film. “Part of the magic is the wardrobe,” he says. “And Lindsay said she wants to bring magic to the movie.” Many of the vintage dresses fit her like a glove, too; Lohan’s waist measures a tiny 23 inches, while Taylor’s was a mere 22 inches.

Lohan will wear 66 different looks in the 80-minute biopic, which begins in 1961, ends with Richard Burton’s death in 1984 and focuses on their tumultuous relationship (an affair while she was still married, two weddings and two divorces). To prep, Lohan hired a voice coach and even dyed her auburn hair a deep brunette to better match Taylor’s dark tresses.

Lohan’s hair and makeup will span all of Taylor’s looks, from the long lashes and red lips of the 1950s (attained using M.A.C’s “Hot Tahiti” lipstick) and the Cleopatra-inspired eyeliner and nude mouth of the ’60s to her teased ’80s bouffant, always with her trademark eyeliner to accentuate her famous violet eyes. (Lohan is wearing opalescent lavender contacts for the role.)

“She brings in makeup for me,” makeup artist Eryn Krueger Mekash, who’s using mostly Chanel, Dior and M.A.C products, tells PEOPLE. Adds the movie’s hair stylist, Beatrice De Alba, “She looks so much like her. There was a moment when she saw her picture on the monitor and said ‘I’m her.’ It was thrilling.”

–Liz McNeil, with reporting by K.C. Baker


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Susiedarling on

I also do not think Lindsay looks very much like Elizabeth Taylor, however, having said that, I think she is very pretty and will probably do a good part. It will come down more to whether or not she “acts” like Liz than if she looks like her. Wish her the best. P.S. There was only one Liz and it will be very hard to get someone to really look like her.

Kat on

They are using fake gems because Lindsay will try to steal another one, you know!

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Nina on

I think she looks more like Megan Fox in this picture than Liz Taylor

Ann12 on

Lindsay has never been pretty nor can she act so what a insult to the memory of Liz who was beautiful. Lindsay needs to retire because she is haggy so all used up.

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[…] was an audible gasp,” the movie’s costume designer, Salvador Perez, who gets a boatload of the credit, […]

Diane on

Is this really Lindsay Lohan, because she looks more like Christina Aguilera, I must say though, that she looks very pretty as Liz.

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