10 Stars Who Played Real People So Well, You'd Think They Were Twins
Let's give it up for the hair and makeup departments, though.
1. "Raging Bull" (1980): Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta
This Martin Scorsese masterpiece follows the life of Jake LaMotta, a self-destructive and rage-fuelled boxing champion. De Niro morphs into LaMotta, gaining 60 pounds to accurately represent the boxer's later years. The film takes us on a raw, unfiltered journey through LaMotta's tumultuous life, from his success as a middleweight champion to his downfall brought on by his own unchecked rage and jealousy. De Niro's performance paints a brutally honest portrait of a man battling his inner demons as vigorously as he fights his opponents in the ring. It's a knockout performance that won De Niro an Oscar, and the film has a solid 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
2. "Selma" (2014): David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr.
In "Selma", David Oyelowo delivers a transformative performance as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., encapsulating the civil rights leader's charisma and unwavering dedication to equality. The film revolves around the monumental 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and the intense political and social battles that King navigated during this historic event. Oyelowo doesn't just mimic King; he embodies his essence, right down to his cadence and powerful presence. He makes us believe in the dream, and while he didn't secure an Oscar nomination, his performance was universally praised.
3. "The Social Network" (2010): Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg
Jesse Eisenberg doesn't just play Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network"; he becomes the hoodie-wearing, socially awkward tech wizard. The film dissects the birth and rise of Facebook, from its inception in a Harvard dorm room to a billion-dollar enterprise, while revealing the lawsuits and friendships torn apart along the way. Eisenberg's portrayal of Zuckerberg as a brilliant but socially inept programmer, determined to make his mark, is strikingly believable and one of his finest performances.
4. "The Theory of Everything" (2014): Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking
Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything" is nothing short of miraculous. The film presents a poignant narrative about Hawking's life, his groundbreaking scientific work, his struggles with motor neuron disease, and the complicated relationship with his wife, Jane. Redmayne's transformative performance and physical commitment to the role, from mimicking Hawking's voice to depicting his physical deterioration, is remarkable. He rightly won the Oscar for his performance, and the film enjoys an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
5. "Malcolm X" (1992): Denzel Washington as Malcolm X
In Spike Lee's epic biographical drama, Denzel Washington delivers a powerhouse performance as Malcolm X, the influential African American activist. From his early life of crime, his prison sentence, conversion to Islam, rise as a civil rights leader, to his assassination, the film covers a vast expanse of Malcolm X's life. Washington's portrayal is both commanding and deeply human, capturing Malcolm X's charisma and the force of his convictions. The film remains one of Washington's most iconic roles and maintains an impressive 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
6. "The Imitation Game" (2014): Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing
Serving up a compelling historical drama on a silver platter, "The Imitation Game" tells the story of British mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing. Benedict Cumberbatch, with his uncanny resemblance to Turing and an intense performance, tackles the role with absolute gravitas. Turing's life was marked by his code-breaking work during WWII that turned the tide in the Allies' favor, and his tragic personal life, marred by his hidden homosexuality, which was, at that time, criminalized in the UK. The film grossed over $233 million worldwide and received an 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
7. "Ray" (2004): Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles
In this biographical film, Jamie Foxx transforms into the legendary musician Ray Charles with an eerie precision that makes one believe they're watching a reincarnation. Following Charles' life from his humble beginnings in Florida, his struggles with racism, drug addiction, and his groundbreaking musical career, Foxx's performance is soul-stirring. Foxx doesn't just mimic Charles; he becomes him, right down to the smallest mannerisms. His Oscar-winning performance was praised by critics, and the film was a box-office success, earning $124.7 million worldwide.
8. "Lincoln" (2012): Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln
It takes a special kind of talent to step into the shoes of an iconic figure like Abraham Lincoln. Yet, Daniel Day-Lewis manages this task with sublime effortlessness in Steven Spielberg 's "Lincoln". The film dives deep into the political labyrinth during the last four months of Lincoln's life, the passing of the 13th Amendment, and the end of the Civil War. Day-Lewis, known for his method acting, delivers an uncanny portrayal of Lincoln, from his stooped gait to his high-pitched voice. The film was well received by critics, garnering a 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and made $275.3 million at the box office.
9. "Capote" (2005): Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote
In the film, we watch as Capote, famed author and social butterfly, delves into the chilling world of the murders behind his masterpiece, "In Cold Blood". Philip Seymour Hoffman remarkably inhabits the character of Truman Capote, mimicking his unique vocal cadence and flamboyant mannerisms. The film paints an intimate picture of Capote's struggle to write his seminal novel, his manipulation of the killers, particularly Perry Smith, and the personal cost of his ambition. Hoffman's masterful performance earned him an Oscar – quite deservingly so.
10. "The Iron Lady" (2011): Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher
When it comes to embodying characters, few can rival Meryl Streep. In "The Iron Lady", she steps into the role of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female Prime Minister. Streep captures Thatcher's authoritative bearing, her iconic hairstyle, and even the subtlest elements of her speech pattern. The film provides an intimate, if somewhat controversial, look at Thatcher's life, from her rise to power to the onset of dementia in her later years. Despite mixed reviews, the film grossed $115 million worldwide, largely due to Streep's stunning performance, which won her a third Oscar.