16 Celebs Who Could Pass IRL as the Characters They Played on Screen

Tanvier Peart | Sep 30, 2016 Celebrities
16 Celebs Who Could Pass IRL as the Characters They Played on Screen

For Your Emmy Consideration Q&A Panel with Sarah Paulson and Marcia Clark

Have you ever watched a biographical film or TV series about a celebrity and done a double take because you thought the celebrity that the whole thing was about was starring in the actual movie or show? Same. Actors have been known to embody the essence of characters they play, but some stars nail the look so much that they're total doppelgängers of the people they're portraying as well. 

Casting doesn't always get it right, which is why it's a breath of fresh air whenever celebs resemble the people they're playing in a biographical movie or show. 

It just makes things more believable, and you can really get lost in the performance instead of spending your time wondering why the heck so-and-so got the role in the first place.

These 16 stars did a phenomenal job (physically and otherwise) of representing the characters they depicted on camera. Many received high praise -- including Academy Awards and Emmys -- which made critics and fans alike believers.


Image via PG/Splash News

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin


    If you ever need someone to become Charlie Chaplin for a movie, you might want to give Robert Downey Jr. a ring. While the 1993 film Chaplin received mixed reviews among critics, no one can deny Downey's likeness to Charlie Chaplin.

    "Robert Downey Jr. succeeds almost uncannily in playing Chaplin; the physical resemblance is convincing, but better is the way Downey captures Chaplin's spirit, even in costume as the Tramp," the late Roger Ebert wrote in a review.

  • Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II

    Images via The Queen/Facebook; Mirrorpix/Splash News

    If Her Majesty ever needs someone to watch over the kingdom for a while, she knows who to call. Helen Mirren is the spitting image of Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 movie The Queen. Mirren captured everything from Her Majesty's appearance to her mannerisms, and her performance won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. 

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  • Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles

    Images via Universal Pictures; Splash News

    It's OK if you need to do a double take with this one; we're quite aware Jamie Foxx and Ray Charles look like twins. The 48-year-old funnyman picked up an Oscar in 2005 for his portrayal of this musical icon in the drama Ray. Doesn't Foxx look like he could be Ray Charles?!

  • (Tie) Tina Fey and Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin

    Images via Dana Edelson/NBC; mistydawnphoto/Shutterstock; HBO

    Now you know we had to show some love to Tina Fey (far left) and Julianne Moore (far right). Both women killed it as Sarah Palin! Between Tina's spot-on depiction of the former governor of Alaska on Saturday Night Live, and Julianne's epic performance in Game Change (2012), we bow down to both ladies.

  • Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln

    Images via DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC; Everett Historical/Shutterstock

    Finding it hard to tell who is Abraham Lincoln and who's Daniel Day-Lewis? (IRL Abe is on the right.) Day-Lewis rocked his role as the former president in the 2012 film Lincoln and scored the Academy Award for Best Actor. If this acting thing doesn't work out for him, we can definitely see Daniel becoming an impersonator.

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  • Sarah Paulson as Marcia Cross

    Images via FX Networks; Lee Celano/WireImage/Getty Images

    Sorry, but there's just no denying how much actress Sarah Paulson looks like Marcia Clark in FX TV series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime. Not only did she slay the role, but Sarah Paulson won the 2016 Lead Actress Emmy for her amazing portrayal of this infamous prosecutor. 

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote

    Images via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; William E. Sauro/New York Times Co./Getty Images

    Wow. There's no denying the resemblance between the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and Truman Capote. Hoffman won the Best Actor Oscar for this role in 2006; the film Capote was highly praised, with critics commending Hoffman for his riveting performance and likeness to the notable author.

  • Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher

    Images via The Weinstein Co.; Mirrorpix/Splash News

    Meryl Streep has been known to embody all the characters she plays, but her resemblance to Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2012) is remarkable. Earning a Golden Globe award for best actress, Streep gave us so much life as the former prime minister of the United Kingdom.

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  • Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison


    Fans of the rock band the Doors likely enjoyed the group's self-titled biopic, which came out in 1991. Starring Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison, the group's lead singer and "Electric Poet," The Doors was a visual biography that paid homage to the infamous band. And in case you can't tell, Val (he's on the left) looks a lot like Jim. 

  • Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos

    Images via Newmarket Films; Florida Department of Corrections

    If you never watched the movie Monster (2003), just know it will give you chills -- major chills. It's based on the life of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, and Charlize Theron captures the essence of this former prostitute in every way -- especially her physical appearance. Seeing as Charlize won the Oscar and Golden Globe for best actress, it's pretty safe to say critics were impressed with Theron's portrayal.

  • James Franco as James Dean


    Jimmy and Jimmy

    A photo posted by James Franco (@jamesfrancotv) on

    James Franco and James Dean share the same first name, but they also happen to favor each other in the looks department. James Franco played the late icon in the 2001 TV movie James Dean, and did a pretty good job capturing Dean's essence in the film.

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  • Lil Mama as Left Eye


    A photo posted by Lil Mama (@lilmama) on

    Fans of the R&B group TLC likely tuned in to see the 2013 VH1 biopic CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. It scored some pretty great reviews, and many thought rapper Lil Mama did an amazing job of depicting late band member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. 

  • Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking


    The casting director for the 2014 film The Theory of Everything did a great job finding a look-alike for Stephen Hawking. We think Eddie Redmayne definitely resembles the physicist -- just look at this side-by-side pic of Redmayne and his costar Felicity Jones, next to real-life couple Stephen and Jane Hawking.

  • Meryl Streep as Julia Child

    Images via Julie & Julia/Facebook; Wikimedia Commons

    Of course we would see Meryl Streep on this list again -- she's the queen of acting! If you saw 2010's Julie & Julia, there's a pretty good chance you felt inspired to whip up something tasty in your kitchen and hopefully not burn it down. Starring alongside Amy Adams, Streep did a fabulous job of portraying Julia Child's likeness on camera -- including all of her fun and quirky gestures.

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  • Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix


    Why, hello, Andre 3000 -- we mean, Jimi Hendrix! OutKast member Andre 3000 rocked out as guitarist and musical icon Jimi Hendrix in the film Jimi: All Is by My Side. Yup, this was an awesome casting choice!

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