ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

20 Real Life Figures On Their Biopics

20 Real Life Figures On Their Biopics

20 Real Life Figures On Their Biopics
26 November 2014
Biopics, or at least where Hollywood's concerned, can be decidedly delicate affairs.
On the one hand you want to tell the true life tale - after all you’re responsible with immortalising someone’s life in cinema forever. On the other, you want to add in a few explosions, some breakneck car chases, a striptease or two and a guileful villain.
Difficult, right? Which means you won’t be entirely surprised that when it comes to real-life figures reviewing their own portrayals, the feedback can be a mixed bag.
So with the film due out on Boxing Day, we've uncovered 20 quotes from 20 living, breathing figures who also found themselves at the mercy of filmmakers…

I’m Not There

"All I know is they licensed about 30 of my songs for it...I thought it was all right. Do you think that the director was worried that people would understand it or not? I don't think he cared one bit.”
- Bob Dylan


“I’ve seen the movie, and the only thing I will say about the film is that it very different than the book. I’m certainly not going to complain about being played by Brad Pitt.”
- Billy Beane

The Wolf Of Wall Street

"The drug use and the stuff with the hookers and the sales assistants and the sex in the office? That stuff is really, really accurate, and, in some respects, my life was even worse than that. Though I'd say I did more quaaludes than cocaine.”
- Jordan Belfort

The Fifth Estate

"[addressing Benedict Cumberbatch] I believe you are a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film. I do not believe it is going to be positive for me or the people I care about. It is based on a deceitful book by someone who has a vendetta against me and my organisation.”
- Julian Assange

Erin Brockovich

"I was thrilled to have been a part of Erin Brockovich. It’s kind of weird but [it was] done right, well meaning, good intentioned that we hope can create more awareness for others so that we can have a safer and better life for every one of us."
- Erin Brockovich


"It stirred a lot of mixed feelings for me, some sad, some angry, others pure soulful. But I have to be totally honest, it was absolutely brilliant. No actor on the planet could have portrayed me any better than Tom Hardy did. He is a genius. Thought provoking, if not at times emotionally draining. The violence was spot on.”
- Charles Bronson

24 Hour Party People

“I had problems with every single scene. But, this is a film, so my instinct was go with the myth every time. My partner doesn't like the scene where I get off with the prostitutes in the back of a van, but that never actually happened. My first wife's been trying to sue them for a year. My second wife, Lindsay, is pissed off. Shaun Ryder's narked 'cos nobody's paid him for the title."
- Tony Wilson

American Gangster

“The movie spoke a lot of truth, because when they shot scenes they would turn and ask me. They asked me a lot of questions. And I did the best of my abilities. The best way I could do it. But I guess they have to make a movie also. I wouldn’t change anything."
- Frank Lucas

The Social Network

"The whole framing of the movie is that I'm with this girl - who doesn't exist in real life - who dumps me ... which has happened in real life, a lot. They [the filmmakers] just can't wrap their head around the idea that someone might build something because they like building things"
- Mark Zuckerberg

The Fighter

"It was a bad time and seeing your life up there on a movie screen is surreal, especially because Mark [Wahlberg] and Christian [Bale] did such an incredible job. Mark trained so hard – I think he could fight for real if he wanted. He’s got a great left and strong chin. We sparred a bit and he gave me a good uppercut!"
- Micky Ward

The Late Shift

"It's just bizarre. The guy who's playing me—and I'm sure he's a fine actor—but his interpretation seems to be that I'm, well, a circus chimp. He looks like he's insane, like he's a budding psychopath. And afterward I thought, ‘Well, maybe this is how I strike people as being.”
- David Letterman

Catch Me If You Can

"It’s quite flattering to have Leonardo DiCaprio play you in the movie. He’s a great-looking young man. I have three sons so when I mentioned Leo they weren’t very excited. But when they saw the movie, they all agreed he did an incredible job of portraying me."
- Frank Abagnale

Patch Adams

“Well, I think I understood Hollywood enough when I entered this contract to know that it wasn't important to get my biography correct.”
- Dr Hunter ‘Patch’ Adams

127 Hours

"The first time that me and Danny Boyle met in 2006, there was actually a large gulf between our visions for this film. My experience of watching it for the first time was incredibly intense, I was in an audience in a theatre and crying from about 20 minutes into the film, all the way through to the end. And not because of a pain that I felt, but because in a lot of ways it reminds me so effectively of what was so important that I got out of that canyon for.”
- Aron Ralston


"Sean Astin was a perfect choice.  We were actually looking at another great actor by the name of Chris O’Donnell. He was under contract, but because of a movie I saw, it inspired me to call. Not that I was an expert on casting but I asked them if they would please look at Sean. They liked him and he got the role."
- Daniel Ruettiger

Pain & Gain

"It's not who I am. It's supposed to represent me but it doesn't."

- Mark Schiller


“It was 95% on the money. They had to use a little creative license or whatever you want to call it because to fit your whole life into a couple of hours is really difficult. [Ray Liotta] did a fantastic job. He should have been nominated for an Academy Award.”
- Henry Hill

The Basketball Diaries

"My favourite pieces were the voice-overs which were straight from the book. But I think that as a separate movie with Leonardo [DiCaprio] it was kind of interesting, but it's just like…this guy was a techno freak, the director, and, you know, he went a little over the top. And then the ending was much more ambiguous.”
- Jim Carroll

I love you Phillip Morris

“Ewan's portrayal of me is just magnificent. He has my mannerisms, my voice down. Just the fact that he came to Arkansas and spent time with me, studied me, I was just so impressed. I can't tell him enough how honoured and flattered I am - his portrayal of me is right on.”
- Phillip Morris

The Blind Side

"I'm tired of the movie. Football is what got me here...the movie, it wasn't me. That's why I play football and don't deal with Hollywood. People who watch The Blind Side. they're not going to have a chance to get to know me."
- Michael Oher