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Actors And The Real Life Characters They've Played

H0llywood lookalikes: The bad and the brilliant

Actors And The Real Life Characters They've Played

It's a rite of passage for any actor in search of an Oscar/acceptance. Putting the alien bounty hunter roles to the side for once and focusing on the truth.

We've assembled 50 actors who've kept it real and paired them up with their non-fictional counterpart. We want you to let us know which actor looks the most and least like the real-life character they've played.

Keira Knightley (Domino)

Character: Domino Harvey

Year: 2005

Trivia: The real Domino died from an accidental overdose just months before the film was released.


James Franco (127 Hours)

Character: Aron Ralston

Year: 2010

Trivia: Cillian Murphy was director Danny Boyle's first choice to play Aron.


Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart)

Character: Mariane Pearl

Year: 2007

Trivia: Despite criticism of a white actress playing a mixed-race role, Mariane Pearl herself had asked Jolie to play the part


Joaquin Phoenix (Walk The Line)

Character: Johnny Cash

Year: 2005

Trivia: Johnny Cash approved Phoenix for the role after he saw Gladiator yet Cash is 6" taller than him.


Warren Beatty (Bonnie & Clyde)

Character: Clyde Barrow

Year: 1967

Trivia: Before deciding to play the role himself, producer Beatty wanted Bob Dylan to star.


Chris Cooper (Breach)

Character: Robert Hansenn

Year: 2007

Trivia: The real Hansenn was obsessed with Catherine Zeta-Jones. This is referenced in the film when investigators find a couple of her films in his belongings.


Meg Ryan (Against The Ropes)

Character: Jackie Kallen

Year: 2004

Trivia: Michelle Pfeiffer turned down the role.


Robert De Niro (Raging Bull)

Character: Jake LaMotta

Year: 1980

Trivia: Jake LaMotta thought that De Niro was such a good boxer that he would have been happy to be his manager.


Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)

Character: Truman Capote

Year: 2005

Trivia: In 2006, the role of Truman Capote was also played by Toby Jones in Infamous.


Denzel Washington (Malcolm X)

Character: Malcolm X

Year: 1992

Trivia: Oliver Stone was originally set to direct and Washington was his first choice as well.


Angelina Jolie (Changeling)

Character: Christine Collins

Year: 2008

Trivia: Both Hilary Swank and Reese Witherspoon lobbied for the role of Christine Collins.


Michael Sheen (The Damned United)

Character: Brian Clough

Year: 2009

Trivia: Clough's widow was against the film as she said the majority of the events depicted didn't happen.


Eric Bana (The Other Boleyn Girl)

Character: Henry VIII

Year: 2008

Trivia: Bana avoided all other films and TV shows featuring Henry VIII to keep his portrayal independent.


Kevin Costner (The Untouchables)

Character: Eliot Ness

Year: 1987

Trivia: Harrison Ford was offered the role but turned it down.


Hilary Swank (Amelia)

Character: Amelia Earhart

Year: 2009

Trivia: Although Swank was a pilot-in-training, movie bosses opted for professional pilots for insurance reasons.


Robert Downey Jr (Chaplin)

Character: Charlie Chaplin

Year: 1992

Trivia: Jim Carrey was originally considered for the role.


Benicio Del Toro (Che)

Character: Che Guevara

Year: 2008

Trivia: Del Toro had always been the first choice for the lead yet Val Kilmer was considered as a secondary option.


Dustin Hoffman (Lenny)

Character: Lenny Bruce

Year: 1974

Trivia: Al Pacino was originally considered for the role.


Gary Busey (The Buddy Holly Story)

Character: Buddy Holly

Year: 1978

Trivia: Busey had previously been cast as Holly's drummer in a previous attempt at a biopic which was ultimately cancelled.


Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich)

Character: Erin Brockovich

Year: 2000

Trivia: The real Brockovich is right-handed while Roberts is left-handed meaning the Hollywood star had to learn how to sign her name with her right hand for the shoot.


Anthony Hopkins (Nixon)

Character: Richard Nixon

Year: 1995

Trivia: The role was turned down by Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, Robin Williams, Warren Beatty and John Malkovich.


Liam Neeson (Kinsey)

Character: Alfred Kinsey

Year: 2004

Trivia: It was the first film permitted to show human genitalia uncensored in Japan.


Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man)

Character: James J. Braddock

Year: 2005

Trivia: James J. Braddock's granddaughter Rosemarie DeWitt stars in the film as his neighbour.


Val Kilmer (The Doors)

Character: Jim Morrison

Year: 1991

Trivia: Prior to the audition, Val Kilmer memorized the lyrics to all songs written by Jim Morrison


Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator)

Character: Howard Hughes

Year: 2004

Trivia: Jim Carrey was originally considered for the role.


Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)

Character: Edith Piaf

Year: 2007

Trivia: To look the part, Cotillard shaved back her hairline and shaved her eyebrows off.


Woody Harrelson (The People Vs Larry Flynt)

Character: Larry Flynt

Year: 1996

Trivia: Porn baron Larry Flynt apparently wanted Michael Douglas to portray him on screen.


Naomi Watts (Fair Game)

Character: Valerie Plame

Year: 2010

Trivia: Nicole Kidman, real-life best friend of Watts, was originally set to star.


David Strathairn (Good Night And Good Luck)

Character: Edward Murrow

Year: 2005

Trivia: Strathairn, a non-smoker, smoked pipe tobacco in his prop cigarettes while playing Murrow.


Jim Carrey (Man On The Moon)

Character: Andy Kaufman

Year: 1999

Trivia: Director Milos Forman couldn't decide between Edward Norton and Jim Carrey for the role so left it to the studio to decide.


James Woods (Ghosts Of Mississippi)

Character: Byron De La Beckwith

Year: 1996

Trivia: The real De La Beckwith was residing in jail, less than a mile away from where the film was being shot.


Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)

Character: Mark Zuckerberg

Year: 2010

Trivia: Shia LaBeouf turned down the film saying it wasn't a "Warren Beatty-style game-changer".


Richard Gere (The Hoax)

Character: Clifford Irving

Year: 2006

Trivia: The real Irving was hired as a technical advisor yet asked that his name be taken off the credits as so much was changed.


Denzel Washington (Cry Freedom)

Character: Steve Biko

Year: 1987

Trivia: Director Richard Attenborough cast Denzel Washington as activist Steve Biko after spotting him in popular US hospital drama St. Elsewhere.


Hayden Christensen (Shattered Glass)

Character: Stephen Glass

Year: 2003

Trivia: The real Glass turned down the chance to work on the film.


Matt Damon (Invictus)

Character: François Pienaar

Year: 2009

Trivia: Matt Damon is shorter than the real Pienaar but director Clint Eastwood utilised camera angles to make him look the part.


Josh Brolin (W)

Character: George Bush

Year: 2008

Trivia: Christian Bale pulled out of the role at the very last minute.


Johnny Depp (Public Enemies)

Character: John Dillinger

Year: 2009

Trivia: Leonardo DiCaprio was originally set to star.


Jamal Woodard (Notorious)

Character: Christopher 'Biggie' Wallace

Year: 2009

Trivia: Biggie's son plays a young version of his father in the film.


Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland)

Character: George Reeves

Year: 2006

Trivia: Hugh Jackman was originally set to play the part but pulled out.


Kristen Stewart (The Runaways)

Character: Joan Jett

Year: 2010

Trivia: When Jett first heard Stewart singing one of her songs on tape, she thought it was a mistake and the tape was actually her.


Colin Firth (The King's Speech)

Character: King George VI

Year: 2010

Trivia: The role was written with Paul Bettany in mind but he turned it down.


Jamie Foxx (Ray)

Character: Ray Charles

Year: 2004

Trivia: During filming Jamie Foxx wore eye prosthetics that prevented him from seeing a la Charles.


Rhys Ifans (Mr Nice)

Character: Howard Marks

Year: 2010

Trivia: Marks and Ifans are good friends in real life.


Charlize Theron (Monster)

Character: Aileen Wuornos

Year: 2003

Trivia: The real Wuornos gave the director permission to read through hundreds of private letters.


Sean Penn (Milk)

Character: Harvey Milk

Year: 2008

Trivia: Penn wore a prosthetic nose, altered teeth, a redesigned hairline and contact lenses for his portrayal of gay activist and politician Harvey Milk.


Forest Whitaker (The Last King Of Scotland)

Character: Idi Amin

Year: 2006

Trivia: Whitaker stayed in character, even when he was off set.


Michael Sheen (The Queen)

Character: Tony Blair

Year: 2006

Trivia: Sheen has also played Tony Blair in The Deal and The Special Relationship.


Denzel Washington (The Hurricane)

Character: Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter

Year: 1999

Trivia: Washington trained for over a year with a boxing coach.


Liam Neeson (Schindler's List)

Character: Oskar Schindler

Year: 1993

Trivia: Stellan Skarsgård was considered for the role.