Actors in unrecognisable film roles and chameleon actors

Actors in unrecognisable film roles HOME Funny facts about films List of movies on this website

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman is unrecognisable as Neverland Pirate Blackbeard. He appears to be relishing in the role of the bewigged, armour-clad villain. Wearing dark authentic medieval pirate clothing with billowing sleeves and skirt complete with a bold red sash and sharp dagger sword, Hugh looks the part in his new role.

(born 12 October 1968)

Blackbeard in Pan (2015)

Peter Mayhew

George Lucas needed a tall actor who could fit the role of the hairy alien Chewbacca. He originally had in mind 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) bodybuilder David Prowse, but instead Prowse chose to play Darth Vader.

This led Lucas on a search which turned up Mayhew, who says that all he had to do to be cast in the role of Chewbacca was stand up.

His height is a product not of gigantism but of an overactive pituitary gland secondary to a genetic disease called Marfan Syndrome. His peak height was 7 feet 3 inches (2.21 m)

(born 19 May 1944)

Chewbacca in the Star Wars films

Nick Stahl

Yellow Bastard: Never was a dude better named (although Ugly, Malodorous, Perverted Yellow Bastard might be more accurate).

(born December 5, 1979)

Yellow Bastard in Sin City (2005)

Tom Hardy

In designing Bane's costume, Hemming needed it to look "like an amalgam of all sorts of bits and pieces he cobbled together, as he passed through some very remote places. We made parts of his vest, for example, from fragments of an old military tent. His clothes are militaristic, but are not in any way a uniform." Hemming also designed Bane's mask to look "animalistic".

(born 15 September 1977)

Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Dustin Hoffman

To obtain the hoarse voice of a 121-year-old man, Hoffman sat in his dressing room and screamed at the top of his lungs for an hour. The makeup for the ancient Crabb was created by Dick Smith from foam latex and included revolutionary false eyelids that could blink along with the actor's. Due to editing, and much to Smith's chagrin, no blinks were visible in the finished film. Of the makeup, Hoffman was quoted in Life as saying, "I defy you to put on that makeup and not feel old".

(born August 8, 1937)

Jack Crabb in Little Big Man (1970)

Demi Moore

Moore famously shaved her head in order to play a female Navy SEALS recruit in G.I. Jane (1997), directed by Ridley Scott. During the film's production, it was reported that Moore had ordered studio chiefs to charter two planes for her and her entourage, which reinforced her negative reputation for being a diva

(born November 11, 1962)

LT Jordan O'Neil in G.I. Jane (1997)

James Franco

Spring Breakers is a 2012 American film directed by Harmony Korine, starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine. The narrative is about four college-aged girls who decide to rob a fast food restaurant in order to pay for their spring break.

(born April 19, 1978)

Alien in Spring Breakers (2012)

Johnny Depp

The Lone Ranger is an 2013 American action western film directed by Gore Verbinski and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, based on the American Old West character serials of the same name. The film stars Armie Hammer in the title role and Johnny Depp as Tonto.

(born June 9, 1963)

Tonto in The Lone Ranger (2013)

Colin Farrell

Farrell contributed significantly to the appearance of his character, suggesting the comb over hairstyle, pot-belly and an affinity for Chinese dragons.

(born 31 May 1976)

Bobby Pellitt in Horrible Bosses (2011)

Hilary Swank

Swank underwent significant preparation for the role by dressing and living as a man for at least a month, including wrapping her chest in tension bandages and putting socks down the front of her pants in much the same way as Brandon Teena had done. Her masquerade became particularly convincing.

(born July 30, 1974)

Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry (1999)

Daniel Day-Lewis

Many scenes were filmed through a mirror, as Daniel Day-Lewis could only manipulate his right foot to perform the actions seen in the film. Day-Lewis spent some time preparing for the film at Christy Brown's alma mater in Dublin. He later returned there for a visit with the 'Oscar'.

(born 29 April 1957)

Christy Brown in My Left Foot (1989)

Michel Serrault

From February 1973 through 1978, he portrayed the role of Albin/Zaza opposite Jean Poiret in the play La Cage aux Folles, written by Poiret. He recreated the role for the film version of the play, which was released in 1978.

(24 January 1928 – 29 July 2007)

Albin in La Cage aux Folles (1978)

Nicole Kidman

In 2003, Kidman won critical praise for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry's The Hours, which also featured Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. Kidman wore prosthetics that were applied to her nose making her almost unrecognisable playing the author during her time in 1920s England

(born 20 June 1967)

Virginia Woolf in The Hours (2002)

Angelina Jolie

Jolie starred as Kate "Acid Burn" Libby in her first Hollywood picture, Hackers (1995). The New York Times wrote, "Kate (Angelina Jolie) stands out. That's because she scowls even more sourly than [her co-stars] and is that rare female hacker who sits intently at her keyboard in a see-through top. Despite her sullen posturing, which is all this role requires, Ms. Jolie has the sweetly cherubic looks of her father, Jon Voight".

(June 4, 1975)

Acid Burn in Hackers (1995)

Ben Kingsley

Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal.

(31 December 1943)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Gandhi (1982)

Peter Weller

Before Peter Weller was cast, Rutger Hauer and Arnold Schwarzenegger were favored to play Robocop. However, each man's large frame would have made it difficult for either of them to move in the cumbersome Robocop suit, which had been modeled on hockey gear and designed to be large and bulky. Weller won the role both because Verhoeven felt that he could adequately convey pathos with his lower face, and because Weller was especially lithe and could more easily move inside the suit than a bigger actor.

(born June 24, 1947)

Alex Murphy in RoboCop (1987)

Renée Zellweger

During casting, Zellweger was told she was too skinny to play the chubby Bridget, so she quickly embarked on gaining the required weight (20 pounds) and learning an English accent.

(born April 25, 1969)

Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

Robert De Niro

Robert DeNiro gives the best performance in the film, aided greatly by convincing make-up that makes him actually look like a collection of body parts sewn together.

(born August 17, 1943)

The Creation in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)

Benicio del Toro

Rick Baker created the make-up for The Wolfman. "Going from Benicio to Benicio as the Wolf Man isn't a really extreme difference. We went from this naked man to a four-legged hound from Hell, and we had a lot of room to go from the transformation and do a lot of really extreme things. Here we have Benicio del Toro, who's practically the Wolf Man already, to Benicio del Toro with more hair and bigger teeth."

(born February 19, 1967)

Lawrence Talbot in The Wolfman (2010)

Russell Crowe

In 1992, Crowe starred in Romper Stomper, an Australian film which followed the exploits and downfall of a racist skinhead group in blue-collar suburban Melbourne, directed by Geoffrey Wright. For the role, Crowe won an Australian Film Institute (AFI) award for Best Actor

(born 7 April 1964)

Hando in Romper Stomper ( 1992 )

Klaus Kinski

Kinski's Dracula make-up, with black costume, bald head, rat-like teeth and long fingernails, is an imitation of Max Schreck's makeup in the 1922 original movie. The makeup artist who worked on Kinski was Japanese artist Reiko Kruk.

(18 October 1926 – 23 November 1991)

Count Dracula in Nosferatu the Vampyre ( 1979)

Vin Diesel

In 2006, he chose a dramatic role playing real-life mobster Jack DiNorscio in Find Me Guilty. Although he received critical acclaim for his performance, the film did poorly at the box office.

(July 18, 1967)

Jack DiNorscio in Find Me Guilty ( 2006 )

Christopher Lloyd

His best-known roles are Emmett "Doc" Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy, Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and its sequel Addams Family Values, and Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

(born October 22, 1938)

Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and Addams Family Values

Jordan Ladd

She starred as the lead role in Eli Roth's 2002 horror film Cabin Fever, which was a moderate success at the box office.

(born January 14, 1975)

Karen in Cabin Fever (2002)

Andy Serkis

(born 20 April 1964)

Caesar in "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" ( 2011 ) , Captain Haddock in "The Adventures of Tintin" ( 2011), and Gollum in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and the Hobbit prequels (2012–2014)

Andrew Stehlin

Andrew Stehlin is a New Zealand actor and stuntman. He received a minor cult following after playing the vicious vampire beta male Arvin in the horror film 30 Days of Night.

30 Days Of Night: Scene with him

Arvin in 30 Days of Night ( 2007 )

Penélope Cruz

She starred in Sergio Castellitto's melodrama Don't Move. Cruz, who learned Italian for the role, earned critical acclaim for her performance and won the David di Donatello.She was also awarded the European Film Award for Best Actress for the film in 2004

( born April 28, 1974 )

Italia in Don't Move (2004)

Glenn Close

For the film, Close sat through hours of makeup to transform herself into a man. Close received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and multiple critics nominations for her performance in Albert Nobbs. Albert Nobbs also received nominations for Best Supporting Actress for McTeer and Best Makeup.

(born March 19, 1947)

Albert Nobbs in Albert Nobbs ( 2011 )

Kevin Peter Hall

He was the tallest of seven brothers, all over 6' 5". The producers decided to cast the role with Hall so that the Predator could more convincingly dominate the film's human characters with its great size.

Harry and the Hendersons 1987

(Pittsburgh, 9 may 1955 –

Hollywood, 10 april 1991)

The Predator in Predator ( 1987 )

Robert Downey, Jr.

To portray his character, Downey required two hours of make-up application.

(born April 4, 1965)

Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder (2008)

Javier Bardem

Bardem dyed his hair blond for the role after brainstorming ideas with Mendes to come up with a distinct visual look for the character, which led some commentators to observe a similarity between the character with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

(born 1 March 1969)

Raoul Silva in Skyfall ( 2012 )

Hugh Grant

Jeremy Woodhead (makeup and hair designers): " ... I also had to turn Hugh Grant into this cannibal Kona warrior chief. So we had to give him a bald cap, a Mohawk that was made up of scalps of people he'd killed and fingers hanging from it, and full body tattoos and radiation burns and body paint, which he really enjoyed. He was great fun in a [warrior's] leather miniskirt and boots..."

(born 9 September 1960)

Kona Chief in Cloud Atlas (2012)

Josh Brolin

"We did three hours of makeup a day. It was very tough. There are many different layers. I had a mouthpiece that held my mouth all the way back, that was attached to the back of my neck, and then we did three more layers on top of that. And then I walked around with half a mustache and half a beard in New Orleans for three months."

(born February 12, 1968)

Jonah Hex in Jonah Hex (2010)

Bradley Cooper

Hit and Run is a 2012 American action comedy film written by Dax Shepard, with David Palmer and Shepard co-directing again. The film stars Shepard, Kristen Bell, Kristin Chenoweth, Tom Arnold, and Bradley Cooper.

(born January 5, 1975)

Alex Dimitri in Hit and Run (2012)

Vincent D'Onofrio

His work as a character actor has earned him the nickname "The Human Chameleon"

( Full Metal Jacket-1987-Stanley Kubrick )

(born June 30, 1959)

Edgar in Men in Black ( 1997 )


Perhaps Maïwenn's most internationally-seen film role was her appearance as the alien diva Plavalaguna in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element

Maïwenn Le Besco in High tension directed by Alexandre Aja

( born on 17 April 1976 )

Plavalaguna in The Fifth Element (1997)

Charlize Theron

For her role in Monster, Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards in February 2004, as well the SAG Award and the Golden Globe Award

( born 7 August 1975)

Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003)

Rodrigo Santoro

The role of Xerxes had many special requirements, such as intensive workout for the physicality of the role, extensive CG work to portray the 6'2" Santoro as the 7-foot God-King, a four-and-a-half-hour makeup application process and the complete removal of Santoro's body hair first by waxing and then by shaving


(born 22 August 1975)

Xerxes in 300 ( 2007 )

Christian Bale

Christian Bale starved himself for over four months prior to filming, as his character needed to look drastically thin. Allegedly, his eating consisted of one cup of black unsweetened coffee and an apple

More about The Machinist

(born 30 January 1974)

Trevor Reznik in The Machinist (2004)

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow played both roles, slim and fat Rosemary (except for a couple of close-up shots of fat Rosemary below the neck, which were played by her body double Ivy Snitzer), and had to wear a specially designed 25 pound fatsuit and encapsulating prosthetic make-up

(born September 27, 1972)

Rosemary Shanahan in Shallow Hal (2001)

Free counters!