When actors transform into real life characters

Every actor’s challenge is to play a role in a movie based on a true story. Playing a real character requires lot of preparations and talent. Having such a demanding role sometimes requires changing the  actor’s physical appearance.

The crew from This Blog Rules made a list of the 10 actors that we believe did the best interpretations of their characters. Take a look at them :


10. Philip Seymour Hoffman played the role as famous author Truman Capote in the 2005 biographical movie “Capote”. He won several awards, including Best Actor on Academy Awards.


9. In the 1998 famous sport movie “Without Limits”, Billy Crudup played the running star Steve Prefontaine. The role was planned for Tom Cruise in the first place, but he decided that he was to old for the part.


8. The Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro was the perfect pick to play in this two-part series 2008 movie “Che” as the most famous revolutionary figure Ernesto “Che” Guevara.


7. The gay rights activist and politician Havey Milk was played by Sean Penn in the 2008 biographical movie “Milk”. Sean Penn’s cosmetic transformation in this movie included a prosthetic nose and teeth, contact lenses and redesigned hairline. His makeup was done by an Academy Award winner.


6. Helen Mirren had the role as Queen Elizabeth in the 2006 British historical drama “The Queen”. The actress said that transforming herself into the Queen was not difficult after the wig and glasses, especially since she has the same facial expressions with a slightly down turned mouth like the Queen herself. Queen Elizabeth II refuses to watch this movie.


5. This 2002 movie interprets the professional and private life of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo who was played by Salma Hayek. To make the movie character Frida more realistic, Salma grew her own moustache on the upper lip. Madonna and Jennifer Lopez was also very interested to play this role.


4. Emile Hirsch played the role as the adventurist Christopher McCandless in the 2007 American Drama film “Into the Wild”. He had to lose 40 pounds to play the role. No stunt-men were used for Emile Hirsch, not even in the river rapid, rock-climbs and grizzly bear scenes.


3. In film history many actors played Adolf Hitler, but no one did is as convincing as Swiss actor Bruno Ganz. As a preparation for the movie “Der Untergang”, he spent some time with Parkinson’s patients in a hospital. Clips for this movie are used in many parodies that appear on Youtube.


2. Jamie Foxx got the Academy Award for Best Actor for playing legendary blind rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles in the movie “Ray”. Jamie Foxx had to wear eye prosthetics that made him blind for up to 14 hours a day during shooting. He played the piano by himself in all of the scenes, and attended classes at the Braille Institute so it would help him to play the role of Ray Charles.


1. Charlize Theron won a lot of awards for playing in the 2003 biographical-crime-drama-thriller “Monster” as the serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Theron gained 30 pound and wore prosthetic teeth to look more like the movie character she was playing. Film critics said that Theron’s participation in the movie was not a performance but an embodiment.

Some of the movies have their sequels, here is the list of the 10 best movie sequels of all time.


  1. Definitely 10 cases of separated at birth! Great actors morphing into real life figures make for great movies.

  2. im almost positive the picture of steve prefontaine that is next to billy crudup’s interpretation is actually jared leto (who portrayed pre in another movie about the runner).

  3. I don’t think that’s Billy Crudup playing Prefontaine. I’m pretty sure that’s Jared Leto.

  4. Great list here, i knew most of them but is definitely nice to have them all in one place.

    + 1 for both Kilmer as Jim Morrison and Depp as Hunter S. Thompson

  5. Come on;

    I can’t take a list of character actors seriously if Daniel Day-Lewis isn’t on there. He won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Christy Brown in “My Left Foot.” That performance easily eclipses the performances listed here.

  6. Denzel Washington as Malcolm X was the best I’d ever seen… until Tom Cruise channeled Harvey Weinstein.

  7. salma hayek sucked BIG time on Frida’s role.
    terrible performance and didnt look alke

    BTW im mexican

  8. What? No Gary Oldman as Sid Vcious in ‘Sid and Nancy?’ Seriously… an uncanny resemblance and he nailed the performance.

  9. What about Victor D’Onofrio’s many portrayal’s of Orson Welles? Your list is not complete without those!

  10. Isnt the Sean Penn one a typo? Shouldnt the character be Harvey Milk and not Havey Milk? I could be wrong… great list though! Charlize Theron was amazing

  11. This list is great, but analyzing characters on screen and how their appearance changes shouldn’t be credited to the actors but to the designers and production team. The actors make the characters real, but the designers should get credit for making the characters appear correct

  12. Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf
    La Vie En Rose

    I just could not tell it was here
    it was just a phenomenal performance by her

  13. What about Christian Bale as Dicky Eckland in The Fighter? Even people in his hometown mistook Bale as the real Eckland.

  14. The Craziest transformation of them all is Ben Kingsley as Gandhi, and we can’t leave behind the acting of Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison

  15. If by “most famous revolutionary figure” we mean Che Guevara was a brutal, mass-murdering totalitarian scumbag.

  16. While it wasn’t a starring role, Judah Friedlander’s portrayal of Toby Radloff in the film American Splendor was pretty incredible.

  17. I think that Al Pacino as Jack Kevorkian was great….he looked just like him.

Leave a Reply