20 Actors Vs. The Historical Figures They Portrayed On-Screen

When an actor portrays a made-up person, the character’s look can be created from scratch. But if they’re playing someone from real life, things get a bit more complicated. Inevitably, audiences compare actors vs. the historical figures they played.

Convincingly portraying a real-life person often takes more than just a great performance. It also requires having a look that allows the audience to believe they really are watching Abraham Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth I, or Captain Sully Sullenberger. Through a combination of the right genetics and the right makeup artists, these performers pulled it off. And many actors who played historical figures received major awards for their meticulous research and hard work.

When you consider what actors look like compared to the characters they played, the results are sometimes surprising. Who knew Robert Downey Jr. would make such a convincing Charlie Chaplin, or that Margot Robbie could effortlessly slip into Tonya Harding’s ice skates? These actors next to the people they played show both the Hollywood magic and raw talent that go into making a great performance.

Jamie Foxx Vs. Ray Charles In “Ray”

Val Kilmer Vs. Jim Morrison In “The Doors”

Daniel Day-Lewis Vs. Abraham Lincoln In “Lincoln”

Cate Blanchett Vs. Queen Elizabeth I In “Elizabeth”

Eddie Redmayne Vs. Stephen Hawking In “The Theory Of Everything”

Meryl Streep Vs. Julia Child In “Julie & Julia”

Jim Carrey Vs. Andy Kaufman In “Man On The Moon”

Jennifer Lopez Vs. Selena Quintanilla-Pérez In “Selena”

Margot Robbie Vs. Tonya Harding In “I, Tonya”

Philip Seymour Hoffman Vs. Truman Capote In “Capote”

Marion Cotillard Vs. Édith Piaf In “La Vie En Rose”

Joaquin Phoenix Vs. Johnny Cash In “Walk The Line”

Salma Hayek Vs. Frida Kahlo in “Frida”

Josh Brolin Vs. George W. Bush In “W.”

Tom Hanks Vs. Captain Chesley Sullenberger In “Sully”

Will Smith Vs. Muhammad Ali In “Ali”

Robert Downey Jr. Vs. Charlie Chaplin In “Chaplin”

Leonardo DiCaprio Vs. Howard Hughes In “The Aviator”

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