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Actors Who Looked Nothing Like The Historical Figures They Played

Hollywood has made a number of Biopics over the years. Where actors have had to play the role of a famous public figure or celebrity. Biopics of famous people and historical figures usually do good in cinemas. As the followers of these people love to come and watch the stories of the people they love. And most of the time these movies on historical figures turn out to be really good.

A lot of the weight of the success or failure of the biopics depends on the actors. Some actors take up the character they’re playing really well and become them completely. But there are times when the actors look nothing like the historical figures they are playing. And no make-up or lighting can fix that.

Ray Liotta looked nothing like Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams

Ray Liotta in Field of Dreams playing historical figures
Ray Liotta in Field of Dreams

The famous sports fantasy movie, Field of Dreams is about a farmer who builds a baseball field in his cornfield. This ground attracts the ghosts of famous baseball players. One of these legends included one of the famous historical figures, Joe Jackson. The role was played by Ray Liotta. But the actor looked nothing like Shoeless Joe Jackson. In fact, the actor got the hand wrong while playing the role. It was almost as if he knew nothing about the character he was playing. Joe Jackson was allegedly banned from baseball for taking part in throwing the 1919 World Series against Cincinnati Reds. He was a left-handed hitter and a right-handed thrower. But the actor did exactly the opposite of that.

Michael Fassbender was not convincing as Steve Jobs in Steve Jobs

Michael Fassbender playing historical figures in Steve Jobs
Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is one of the most inspiring historical figures. The founder of macintosh had his own distinct style and fashion. The film Steve Jobs is based on the biography of the man, written by Walter Isaacson. Directed by Danny Boyle, Michael Fassbender was chosen to play the iconic man. But he looked nothing like him. In fact, the role was not even his. Before Danny Boyle, David Fincher was supposed to direct the film. And Christian Bale was supposed to play the lead role. But due to some reasons that did not happen. Though, the acting by Michael Fassbender is amazing his looks are not good enough. And we are left wondering how well Christian Bale would have done.

Gary Cooper was not even close to Lou Gehrig in The Pride of the Yankees

Gary Copper in The Pride of the Yankees playing historical figures
Gary Cooper in The Pride of the Yankees

The Pride of the Yankees is a film made as a tribute to the New York Yankees’ first Baseman Lou Gehrig. Lou Gehrig is among famous historical figures in sports history. He died one year before the release of the film from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in layman language. The actor Gary Cooper was chosen to play the part. And though he was the silver screen legend. But not fit for the role of Lou Gehrig. After all, he looked nothing like the legend. And even his acting as a baseball player was not even good. The story of the film was good but the casting of the legendary player could have been better.

Julia Roberts was not best suited as Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich

Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich playing historical figures
Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich

The 2000 legal drama, Erin Brockovich is a biographical film on the activist. Erin Brockovich fought a legal battle against the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company. It was a case against the company causing groundwater contamination. The actress was chosen for the role. And as well as she put an amazing performance. She played the role so well that she won an award for it, Best Female in a Leading Role. But when it comes to drawing the resemblance between the actress and the historical figure she was playing. There is none. The people who recognized the activist could easily say that the actress was not the best-suited choice for the role.

Hugh Jackman did not resemble P.T. Barnum in The Great Showman

Hugh Jackman in The Great Showman playing historical figures
Hugh Jackman in The Great Showman

When it comes to biopics, filmmakers sometimes end up focusing on the popularity of the actor instead of his resemblance to the part he is playing. And Hugh Jackman playing P.T. Barnum in his biography is one such example. P.T. Barnum was a great entertainer and showman who set up the Barnum & Bailey Circus. His journey was shown through the movie The Great Showman directed by Michael Gracey. The movie had an amazing cast and became one of the highest-grossing live-action musicals. But casting Hugh Jackman to play the iconic showman was a little unusual. And maybe this was also done because the popular star could also sing. But did P.T. Barnum really sing, or was it just done for the movie?

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Written by Gargi Mishra

I am Gargi Mishra, an aspiring filmmaker. I look at the world through the viewfinder and love to study films. Write them and write about them.