Actors Who Look Exactly Like The Historical Figures They Played In Movies


When it comes to making a biopic of an icon, there are many things at stake. Sure, the actor or actress has to be superb, but casting experts and makeup artists also play an essential role in transforming these actors into the iconic figures they are about to portray. Whether it’s Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank, or Steve Jobs, viewers sure love to watch the tiniest details about our icons through biopics. Check out some of the actors that resemble the most with the people they were cast to play.

Michelle Williams – Marilyn Monroe


As intimidating as it looks to take on the role of Marilyn Monroe, Michelle Williams actually did an incredible job of making it look pretty easy. An iconic beauty actress, model, and overall influence in pop culture, Monroe’s life was portrayed in the historical drama My Week With Marilyn of 2011.

Williams was sure to be very meticulous about Monroe’s persona, gestures, and voice, which was paired with her classic blond hair and make up that made her look exactly like Monroe.


Andre 3000 – Jimi Hendrix


One of the most admired rock musicians of all time, Jimi Hendrix, left a legacy in the world of music that can never be replaced. In the 2013’s biopic named Jimi: All Is By My Side, Andre “3000” Benjamin was allowed to showcase Hendrix’s evolution from a guitar artist that no one paid attention to, to one of the most influential rock legends in the world.

Andre 3000 is mostly known for his band “Outkast”, a hip hop band that has also made a name for itself. But as he played Hendrix, it’s impossible not to think that the artist could really make it in the acting industry.


Hannah Taylor-Gordon – Anne Frank


Almost all of us have seen a picture of Anne Frank, be it on purpose or accidentally. For that reason, it must have been tough to cast the right person to portray such an iconic young woman. But Hannah Taylor-Gordon was cast for the mini-series Anne Frank: The Whole Story and was deemed as the perfect actress to play the part.

While Taylor-Gordon actually did resemble Anne Frank, she also did an outstanding job in trying to understand who Anne Frank really was, and to portray that to viewers.


Renée Zellweger – Judy Garland


Judy Garland is not an easy person to replicate. Not that anyone is, but the American Sweetheart had something very particular about her. She became known after her performance in The Wizard of Oz in 1939. In 2019, Hollywood decided it was time to celebrate her life and the legacy she has left behind.

Renée Zellweger was cast to portray her, and we must say that she did an incredible job. She also looked really similar to the icon, while capturing the little things that made her personality unique. After the role, Zellweger received several nominations, winning a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Golden Globe, and of course, an Oscar.


Hilary Swank – Amelia Earhart


Even 80 years after Amelia Earhart disappeared, her story has still captured the attention, the heart and the minds of people worldwide. In 2009, Hilary Swank portrayed Earhart in her biopic, which dives deeper into her life as an aviatrix.

Decades ago, Earhart attempted to break the world record by becoming the first woman to circumnavigate the entire globe by airplane, but sadly, she never managed to return. No one ever heard of her again since then, with her story becoming one of the greatest mysteries in the world. Swank had the hard task of telling her story, and surprisingly, she already looked incredibly similar to Earhart even before the costume and makeup work.


Natalie Portman – Jackie Kennedy


Natalie Portman, one of the world’s most respected actresses, had the honor of playing former First lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The movie follows what happened to the First Lady after her husband, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Natalie portrays the trauma that the First Lady went through and the realization that the seven days following his death would determine how history would remember the President’s legacy. In character, Natalie completely adopted Jackie Kennedy’s 1960s hairstyle and her suits, including the trademark pink Chanel suit.


James Franco – James Dean


When he passed away at the age of 24, James Dean had already won the hearts of many. He became famous after several movies, including the classic Rebel Without a Cause.

In 2001, James Franco was cast to play the Hollywood icon in a biopic that told his story as much as it could. And of course, James Franco’s resemblance to the actor was uncanny, which added a lot to the great performance. He perfected Dean’s half-smile and hair, making the biopic even more incredible to watch.


Kristen Stewart – Joan Jett


After starring in The Twilight Saga’s series, Kristen Stewart wanted something else to sparkle her career. It must be hard to be known for one role only after years in the industry. That was when she landed a role in The Runaways in 2010, where she portrayed Joan Jett.

The movie focused on the 1970s all-girl rock band “The Runaways”, that was the bomb back in the days. Kristen got to learn everything from Jett herself and even received some pretty incredible compliments from the rock-band icon after the movie was released.


Ashton Kutcher – Steve Jobs


In 2013, Jobs was released, allowing viewers to take a glimpse into Steve Jobs’ incredible journey from a college dropout to one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. The movie attempted to get into every single detail of how the tech mogul built Apple Inc.

The part was offered to Ashton Kutcher, who surprisingly looked pretty similar to Jobs during the movie. The movie received mixed reviews, but Kutcher mostly got positive feedback for his performance in the biopic film.


Denzel Washington – Malcolm X


Portraying Malcolm X was probably one of the biggest and most important roles of Denzel Washington’s career. The 1992 film followed the activist’s journey in the struggle for black liberation. The movie also shared the story of how Malcolm X left an important legacy of racial pride and, of course, self-determination even after he was assassinated in 1965.

Washington managed to portray the activist’s fire and willingness to give everything to lead the fight for equality. Additionally, Washington also looked pretty similar to Malcolm X throughout the movie, adopting his mannerisms, voice, and clothing.


Anthony Hopkins – Alfred Hitchcock


One of the most talented and well-known directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock, also had his own biopic released in 2012. The part was played by Anthony Hopkins, who attempted to portray the director’s success throughout his life and professional journey, especially how he made the memorable movies North by Northwest and Psycho.

With the help of talented costume designers and makeup artists, Hopkins managed to resemble Hitchcock in a way that was actually confusing during the movie.


Sean Penn – Harvey Milk


Even without all the glamor and work that is put into an actor looking like the person they are portraying, Sean Penn naturally looks really similar to Harvey Milk. Needless to say that his looks, in addition to his exceptional acting skills, were a perfect combination for the biopic film depicting Milk’s journey.

In the movie, Penn portrays Milk’s life as honestly as possible, and how he became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.


Salma Hayek – Frida Kahlo


While it seems almost impossible to recreate the unique persona that Frida Khalo was, there is no one better to do so than the one and only Salma Hayek. In 2002’s Frida, Hayek makes use of some additional makeup to create Frida’s look and obviously her trademark unibrow.

In the movie, Hayek attempts to give viewers an insight into Frida’s life, which included a combination of controversial and unforgettable moments. As Hayek knows to do, she did a superb job in giving us a glimpse of Frida’s artistic journey, her rocky relationship with Diego Rivera, and of course, her gender fluidity.


Adrien Brody – Salvador Dali


2011’s Midnight in Paris featured several really famous historical figures. Though briefly, Woody Allen wanted to accurately portray each of these important figures in the movie, ranging from Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and even the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Ali.

No matter how brief his role was, Adrien Brody actually resembled the painter with respectable preciseness. The actor not only learned all of his gestures and mannerisms, but he also had some perfect costumes and makeup to accompany it.


Cate Blanchett – Bob Dylan


In a gender-bending performance, Cate Blanchett made history when she was chosen to portray Bob Dylan in the 2007 movie I’m Not There. While many actors portray the musician throughout the movie, Blanchett was easily the one who resembled the most with him.

She somehow had a very similar facial structure, and once she wore his famous black sunglasses with his impeccable curly hair, she totally nailed the part. And in fact, the performance was so good that she ended up winning a Golden Globe.


Jennifer Lopez – Selena


In one of her most memorable acting performances, Jenniffer Lopez absolutely smashed her role as Selena in the biopic film that shared a bit more about the “Queen of Tejano Music”. It’s been two decades since the world has lost Selena, but her legacy will always be present.

And though critics were sure that Lopez could nail the singing part of the movie, they weren’t 100% sure about the acting. But Lopez totally rocked it and ended up being nominated for a Golden Globe thanks to her excellent performance.


Helen Mirren – Queen Elizabeth II


There have been several mini-series and movies attempting to give us a better glimpse into who Queen Elizabeth II really is. But only one movie really had an actress that resembled the Queen in an uncanny way, and that actress was Helen Mirren.

In 2006, the historical drama The Queen was released, and it took a deeper look into the entire Royal Family’s coping with Princess Diana’s passing, with a heightened focus on the Queen. Helen Mirren looked exactly like The Queen on-screen and even won an Academy Award for her work in the movie.


Val Kilmer – Jim Morrison


Anyone who takes a quick glance at actor Val Kilmer would never think that he resembles acclaimed lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison. But after transforming his blond hair into a dark and long wavy hair, he became much more similar to Morrison.

As he played the singer in the 1991 biopic, he used a precise amount of makeup and hairstyles to look exactly like Morrison. And of course, he took his time into learning everything he could know about the musician.