Historical accuracy can be achieved with the proper set design and storytelling. However, it is much harder for directors to cast the perfect actor for the role. As a result of the casting director’s insight and actor’s effort, here are 21 actors who looked exactly like the historical figures they portrayed!
1. JENNIFER LOPEZ - SELENA QUINTANILLA PEREZ
Jennifer Lopez played her breakout role as Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla Perez in the biographical musical drama film 'Selena' (1997). You have to admit the casting and makeup were perfect, because J. Lo looked exactly like Selena when she was on stage.
2. CHARLIZE THERON - AILEEN WUORNOS
Charlize Theron did a great job of portraying the notorious serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 'Monster' (2003). She put in so much effort into mimicking her appearance and behavior that she even gained 30 pounds (14kg) for the role.
3. JIM CARREY - ANDY KAUFMAN
In 'Man On The MOON' (1999), Jim Carrey starred as Andy Kaufman, the late American entertainer. Despite the mixed reviews and poor box office takings, Jim Carrey's portrayal of Kaufman was unanimously praised.
4. SALMA HAYEK - FRIDA KAHLO
Frida Kahlo is considered as "one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century" by Tate Modern. Her life story and works have inspired so many people around the globe. In the biographical drama film ‘Frida' (2002), she was wonderfully portrayed by Salma Hayek.
5. EDDIE REDMAYNE - STEPHEN HAWKING
The ’Theory Of Everything’ is a biographical romantic drama portraying the life of the brilliant theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his ex-wife. He was played by English actor Eddie Redmayne. Eddie later expressed in an interview that it was very challenging and energy-sapping to control his face in the later stages of the film when Hawking was at his stillest.
6. WILL SMITH - MUHAMMAD ALI
Will Smith starred as the boxer Muhammad Ali in the movie 'Ali' (2001), which depicted ten years in his life from 1964 to 1974. There are a number of Ali’s most iconic moments shown in the film.
7. JAMIE FOXX - RAY CHARLES
Ray Charles was an American musician who devoted his life to rhythm and blues. In the biographical film 'Ray' (2004), he was played by Jamie Foxx. Although the real Ray passed away shortly before the premiere, he would have been impressed by the likeness of the character in the film.
8. HELEN MIRREN - QUEEN ELIZABETH II
'The Queen' (2006) is a British biographical drama film that tells the story of the death of Princess Diana. Helen Mirren did a great job of portraying Queen Elizabeth II as the cornerstone of the royal family drama.
9. JULIANNE MOORE - SERAH PALIN
In 'Game Change' (2012), Julianne Moore did a great job of portraying Sarah Palin. The film is based on the events surrounding the 2008 United States presidential election campaign of John McCain.
10. JARED LETO - MARK DAVID CHAPMAN
'Chapter 27' (2007) is a biographical drama depicting the murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman. For his role as Chapman, Jared Leto gained 67 pounds (30kg) by drinking microwaved pints of ice cream mixed with soy sauce and olive oil every night. Well, his effort really paid off.
11. SEAN PENN - HARVEY MILK
Sean Penn portrayed the gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk in the biographical film 'Milk' (2008). He was the first openly gay elected official. Despite the mixed reviews, Sean Penn really looked like Harvey Milk.
12. JAMES FRANCO - JAMES DEAN
'James Dean' (2001) is a biographical television film based on the life of the American actor James Dean. James Franco was cast out of 500 actors auditioned for the role. In order to gain a better understanding of the role, Franco learned how to ride a motorcycle, play some instruments and even went from being a non-smoker to smoking 2 packs a day.
13. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS - LINCOLN
Daniel Day-Lewis portrayed Abraham Lincoln in the historical drama film 'Lincoln' (2012). The film covers the final four months of Lincoln's life. Daniel turned out to be the perfect match for the role, even though he turned down the part when the project was first offered to him in 2003.
14. ASHTON KUTCHER - STEVE JOBS
American actor Ashton Kutcher portrayed Steve Jobs in the biographical drama film 'Jobs' (2013). The film depicts Jobs' life from college student to the introduction of the iPod in 2001. You have to admit, Ashton did a pretty good job of portraying a young Steve Jobs.
15. KRISTEN STEWART - JOAN JETT
'The Runaways' (2010) is an American biographical drama film about the 1970s rock band of the same name, which was based on a memoir of the band's original lead vocalist Cherie Currie. The legendary Joan Jett is played by Kristen Stewart who gathered all the detailed knowledge she needed for the role from the real Joan herself. Her excellent portrayal was also approved by Joan.
16. MICHELLE WILLIAMS - MARILYN MONROE
‘My Week With Marilyn’ (2011) is a drama film depicts the making of 'The Prince And The Showgirl' (1957), starring Marilyn Monroe. In the film, Michelle Williams displayed an impressive imitation of Monroe's classic look.
17. ROBERT DOWNEY JR. - CHARLIE CHAPLIN
British-American biographical comedy-drama film 'Chaplin' (1992) depicts the life of British comedian Charlie Chaplin. Despite mixed reviews of the movie itself, Robert Downey Jr.'s performance as Chaplin won universal acclaim.
18. ADRIEN BRODY - SALVADOR DALI
’Midnight In Paris' (2011) is a fantasy comedy film directed by Woody Allen. The film explores themes of nostalgia and modernism. In terms of appearance, Adrien Brody did an amazing job of mimicking Salvador Dalí, the Spanish surrealist artist.
19. VAL KILMER - JIM MORRISON
‘The Doors’ (1991) is an American biographical film about the '60-'70s rock band of the same name. Val Kilmer starred as lead singer, Jim Morrison. He took method acting to the extreme while preparing for the role, even to the extent that he had to go to therapy afterward just to get out of the character.
20. SHERILYN FENN - ELIZABETH TAYLOR
’Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story‘ (1995) is an American biographical film made for TV, chronicling the life of British-American actress Elizabeth Taylor. Sherilyn showed off such an impressive recreation of Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra look.
21. RAMI MALEK - FREDDIE MERCURY
'Bohemian Rhapsody' (2018) is a biographical drama film about the lead singer of the British rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury. In the film, American actor Rami Malek did a good job of portraying Freddie, and recreating his career highlights.