Lifetime's 'Anna Nicole': Agnes Bruckner talks fake boobs and transforming into a sex symbol

anna-nicole-smith-agnes-bruckner-lifetime.jpgWhat does it take transform a dedicated actress like Agnes Bruckner into a larger-than-life sex symbol like Anna Nicole Smith?

"A lot of glue," Bruckner says with a laugh.

Lifetime's "Anna Nicole" premieres this weekend, and Zap2it spoke with Bruckner (whose previous TV work includes guest arcs on "Private Practice," "Covert Affairs" and "24") about the physical transformation involved in playing the title role.

Since Smith's short life was so widely documented, Bruckner says it all starts with looking at what Smith left behind for inspiration. "Luckily there were so many images of Anna all throughout her life online and in magazines and everything," she explains. "We tried to choose some of the more well known images and recreate [her looks] the best we could."

anna-nicole-agnes-bruckner.jpgThe actual transformation process involved an elaborate collaboration between hair, makeup, wardrobe and, yes, special effects. "The physical transformation was unbelievable," Bruckner says. "One of the most amazing teams I've ever worked with. We had separate prosthetic boobs which has never been done before. We had cheek prosthetics, neck prosthetics, a fat suit -- there were so many different looks she had."

In addition to utilizing wigs and weaves, Bruckner bleached her own hair to mimic Smith's platinum blonde locks (patterned after Smith's idol, Marilyn Monroe). But when it comes to Smith's surgically-enhanced chest, Bruckner happily relied on prosthetics.

"We worked with a special effects team and came up with what size we wanted [the breasts] to be and everything. We didn't want them to be ridiculously large because we wanted people to focus on the story more than just focusing on her boobs."

She reports getting the chest just right initially took three and a half hours, but that was cut to an hour and a half with time and practice.

"We probably changed my look three or four times a day on set," Bruckner adds. "Which was really really crazy. But everybody was so passionate about it -- [Anna] was kind of everybody's dream character in the makeup and hair trailer to work on -- it was really a team effort. I still can't believe how amazing it looks."

agnes-bruckner-anna-nicole-smith-lifetime.jpgBruckner believes the hard work pays off in laying the foundation for a portrait that's more than just the superficial side of Anna Nicole. "I didn't want to play her as a caricature," Bruckner says. "I didn't want to just show people the hot mess side of Anna Nicole. I never met Anna Nicole, so I don't know how she was behind the camera -- I kind of had to fill in the pieces from the research that I did. But deep down she was human. We make mistakes. We grow up differently. I really wanted to make sure that we made a movie more about that."

And playing the role had some surprising side effects for Bruckner, a self-confessed tomboy with a bit of social anxiety. "Up until this past year I maybe owned two pairs of high heels because I needed to," Bruckner confesses. "But after working on this and becoming Anna I took a little piece of her away with me. She made me realize it's OK to be girly, to play with [your look].

"I came back and I was fixing my hair before going out and putting makeup on and everyone was like, 'Who are you?' But it's really fun."

"Anna Nicole" premieres Saturday, June 29, at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.
Photo/Video credit: Lifetime