We know that actors, well, act. Yep, you don’t need us to tell you that acting is somewhat of a prerequisite when it comes to their chosen career path. These so-called “actors” normally won’t get very far in Hollywood if they can’t master those crocodile tears or step into the shoes of another character with ease. But while we know that actors are all about acting, that doesn’t stop us from feeling utterly bamboozled when we see these men and women playing different characters.
In fact, sometimes we just can’t get our heads around the fact that an actor can be playing a straight-laced student one minute to a murderous alien the next. And it becomes even more confusing when we can’t even see their faces under their makeup, their prosthetics, their costumes, and their new, unique persona. Sometimes we just refuse to believe that the same actor plays two different characters, and we have absolutely no room for budging when it comes to these guys below.
Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and Lisbeth Salander
British actress Claire Foy may only have made her professional debut in 2008, but that hasn’t stopped her from making her mark. And she’s certainly proved to everyone in her home country and across the globe that she can play with the big dogs of the acting world. Today, she is known mainly for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. And with her British charm and her porcelain features, she was the perfect fit for the young royal.
So just imagine our shock when we happened to stumble upon a 2018 Hollywood movie by the name of The Girl in the Spider’s Web. As we looked upon the rough-and-tough main character, Lisbeth Salander, we saw her shaved head, leather wardrobe, and hostile demeanor. She was the complete opposite to Claire Foy’s character in The Crown… but still played by the same amazing actress. Who knew?!
Tilda Swinton as Dr. Josef Klemperer and Madame Blanc
We’re gonna go ahead and assume that you already know that Tilda Swinton is a hugely talented actress. Not only is her talent unique and unlike any other actor’s, but she’s also insanely versatile. In fact, this leading lady is often cast in the same project as multiple different characters. And even though we know this, we still can’t get over the fact that she played two incredibly different characters in the 2018 movie Suspiria.
Yes, even if you’ve seen this movie, you probably didn’t recognize that Swinton played both Dr. Josef Klemperer (credited as Lutz Ebersdorf) and Madame Blanc. Not only did her male character come complete with prosthetics, white hair, glasses, and a very old-fashioned wardrobe, but this actress also changed her voice, her demeanor, and her personality. We wouldn’t have known without an intense Googling session afterward.
Halle Berry as Catwoman and Ovid
Halle Berry is a name that’s been around the Hollywood block for decades, and there’s no doubt about the fact she’s showcased her talent in some of the biggest movies of all time. While she’ll forever be known as Catwoman – although the movie is famous for being a flop – that doesn’t mean she hasn’t starred in other movies or projects.
In fact, did you know that she starred in the 2012 movie Cloud Atlas? We wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t know because we outright refuse to believe that the picture on the right is of our wonderful Berry. But that’s her, alright. In this movie, she took on a whopping six different characters, including Ovid, where she donned an eye patch, mustache, and a beard. That’s wild.
Henry Thomas as Elliott and Henry Wingrave
When it comes to iconic movies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has to be at the top of that list. This Steven Spielberg creation was released in 1982, and it quickly became a cult classic. This was largely due to E.T himself, but also thanks to the adorable acting skills of the young Henry Thomas. And while we know kids eventually grow up, that doesn’t mean we’ve been able to come to terms with the fact that Henry Thomas is now an adult.
What makes this fact even more bizarre is that Henry Thomas is now known for his roles in the supernatural horror shows, The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor. Long gone are the days of the young Elliott, and here we now have a middle-aged actor scaring the heebie-jeebies out of us. It just doesn’t make sense. And we don’t think it ever will.
Catherine O’Hara as Kate McCallister and Moira Rose
If you’re a fan of the Home Alone franchise, you’ll know that Kevin’s mom, Kate McCallister, has a lot to answer to. For starters, how could you not realize that you’d left your kid on their own?! Thankfully, most of us have moved on from this character and her questionable parenting skills over the years. But it seems as though you may be more familiar with Kate McCallister than you think.
That’s because the actress who played Kevin’s mom is also the actress who plays Moira Rose in Schitt’s Creek. No, we can’ get our heads around it either. While we now see the resemblance between them, there’s something about these two characters that just don’t mesh together. It’s impossible for one person to play two completely different characters, right? Well, we guess not.
Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura and Neytiri
When most of us think of Zoe Saldana, we immediately think of her famous green character, Gamora, from Guardians of the Galaxy. But it turns out that there’s so much more to this actress than meets the eye. And even though her range and versatility blow our minds to the point that it just doesn’t make sense, her ability to transform into new characters is extraordinary.
Her remarkable ability to step into the shoes of a whole new person – or creature – is one that should definitely be commended. Especially because she not only took on the role of Nyota Uhura in Star Trek but also because she’s been transformed into a CGI wonder by the name of Neytiri in the Avatar franchise. Yep, this is completely new information to us.
Donald Glover as Troy Barnes and Teddy Perkins
Donald Glover needs no introduction, right? Whether he’s showing off his acting talent or unleashing his musical prowess as Childish Gambino, there’s nothing he can’t do. And while most people know him for his long-standing role as Troy Barnes in Community, he has taken on other roles that aren’t quite as obvious. We never saw this one coming, that’s for sure.
Of course, Donald’s role in the TV show Atlanta is also pretty well known. Not only does he star in the show, but he also created it, writes for it, directs it, and produces it. Normally he plays Earnest “Earn” Marks, but in season two, episode six, he took on a brand new role we refuse to believe was actually played by him. But beneath the creepy eyes of Teddy Perkins is the actor we all know and love. Yikes.
Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos and Tina Powers
Charlize Theron is a Hollywood powerhouse, and she’s appeared in more movies than we could possibly count. And while some would say that she’s been typecast as the strong and independent woman over the years, she has often broken out of this shell and brought completely different characters to life. Not that we can really believe it.
In 1996, Charlize showed everyone that she was a beautiful blonde in the comedy movie, That Thing You Do! And while this movie was well-received, it makes another one of her roles completely unbelievable. No, we didn’t get the pictures wrong. That really is Charlize Theron playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 crime drama, Monster. We just have one question; WHAT?!
Eddie Murphy as Old White Man and Rudy Ray Moore
While it’s no secret that Eddie Murphy has based his whole career on becoming other people, he’s still full of surprises. Sure, we know him as the actor and comedian who transforms himself into different characters for the sake of a few laughs and giggles, but his transformations aren’t always so obvious. In fact, his roles in Coming to America and Dolemite is My Name couldn’t be any more different.
In Dolemite is My Name, Eddie played a character we’re used to seeing from him. He was extravagant, over the top, and exuding the confidence we expect from this well-rounded actor. And the same happened in Coming to America, but we bet you didn’t know that the old white guy at the end of the movie was also played by Eddie Murphy? Who would have thought it!
Ralph Fiennes as Monsieur Gustave H. and Voldemort
Did you just wince? Sorry, we’ll call him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named instead. And we have Ralph Fiennes to thank for bringing this menacing Harry Potter character to life. While He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named isn’t the kind of guy you’d want hanging around Hogwarts, this role has certainly thrust Ralph Fiennes into the limelight. To us, he’ll always be You-Know-Who.
Because of this, we refuse to believe that Ralph has taken on any other role. Maid in Manhatten? No. Skyfall? Nope. Holmes & Watson? Don’t think so. And that’s before we even mention the character of Monsieur Gustave H. in The Grand Budapest Hotel. We don’t know how Ralph can play two characters who are the complete opposite of each other. It doesn’t make sense.
Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning and Krystal Goderitch
Have you ever watched Orphan Black? If you haven’t, you need to add it to your to-watch list immediately. While the storyline itself is enough to get you pumped for the world of science fiction, actress Tatiana Maslany also adds an incredible boost to the show with her outstanding talent. That’s because she plays countless clones of herself as part of this role.
While it’s common knowledge that the actress plays these clones, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to believe. In fact, Tatiana does such a good job of making each clone completely different from the other that we swear they could be played by two completely different people who seem to look a little bit alike. This has certainly been the case for the characters Sarah Manning and Krystal Goderitch.
Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden and Benjamin Button
As a huge name in Hollywood, it should come as no surprise to learn that Brad Pitt has put his name to countless blockbuster movies over the years. Many of them have seen him step into the shoes of similar characters, much like Tyler Durden in Fight Club. Yes, we’ve all seen him as the hunky bad boy time and time again, but that’s not all he has up his sleeve.
Although we know that Brad Pitt was the man in the driver’s seat of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we still find this so hard to believe. After all, for this role, he stepped away from the Hollywood hunk stereotype and became a thin, frail older man in front of our eyes. Whenever we watch it, we just can’t place Tyler and Benjamin in the same category, no matter how hard we try.
Rory McCann as Moby and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane
Game of Thrones is a show that thrust Rory McCann into the limelight, and while it’s safe to say that The Hound didn’t exactly win viewers over, he certainly stuck out. To us, he’ll always be an actor with the ability to transform into a fearless (and sometimes very mean) knight, which is why we refuse to believe that Rory McCann also became the character on the left.
After all, Sandor and Moby from The Crew are two very different characters – and they even look pretty different on the screen. While one is menacing and reminiscent of older times, the other is modern and a little useless, especially when it comes to his crime-fighting ways. So, we’re just going to continue to believe that these two characters aren’t played by the same actor.
Linda Cardellini as Velma Dinkley and Joan Smith
Jinkies, we just can’t get our head around this one. While we all know that Linda Cardellini is kind of a big deal in the acting world, there are some performances of hers that just don’t make sense. You know, like how she can be fighting crime with a talking dog one minute and living life as the wife of the McDonald’s founder the next.
But that’s what this actress did in the Scooby-Doo franchise and the 2016 movie, The Founder. For these two roles, Linda took on drastically different roles in terms of personality and looks. And while both projects saw her impress viewers at home, we still can’t quite believe this actress’s range. How could one person play these two people with such ease?
James McAvoy as Patricia and Mr. Tumnus
If you have ever seen James McAvoy in action, whether on-stage or on the screen, you’ll know that this man is hugely talented. And while we have to commend this talent, we also feel like we need to give him a good talking to. After all, he’s such a good actor that we can’t believe how different his characters are. Especially when you compare Split with The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Those who have watched Split will know that it’s a cinematic masterpiece, and one that allowed James McAvoy to take on numerous characters, including the mighty Beast and the motherly Patricia. So you could say these roles were a little different from when he donned his hooves and goatee as Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia. We just can’t comprehend this kind of talent.
John Travolta as Terl and Edna Turnblad
No matter what you think about John Travolta and his large collection of Razzie Awards, you can’t deny that he’s a huge name in the entertainment world. From his role as Danny Zuko to inspiring our Saturday Night Fever (the good kind), he’s had a massive impact on cinema as a whole. But sometimes, he comes out with characters we just don’t expect.
You know, like in 2000 when he not only served as the producer for Battlefield Earth, but he also took on the bizarre role of Terl. But you know what doesn’t make sense? How Travolta can go from playing a strange alien creature to a bubbly momma from the ’60s in Hairspray. How can this be the same person!? Edna and Terl are just too different.
Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill and Sirius Black
It takes a truly talented actor to transform himself into so many different characters, and normally it’s the ones who aren’t as famous that can hit the nail on the head. Sure, they’re not quite A-list celebrities that paparazzi follow around, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t some of the best actors we’ve ever seen. And this is definitely the case when it comes to Gary Oldman.
Two of Gary’s most famous roles are Winston Churchill and Sirius Black in The Darkest Hour and the Harry Potter franchise. But we’re still struggling to come to terms with this. Not only do these two characters look completely different from each other – and nothing like what Gary Oldman looks like in the flesh – but their personalities were also extremely different. What a talent.
Sarah Drew as Suzy Pepper and Dr. April Kepner
If you cast your mind back to simpler times when Glee‘s musical renditions were the only things that mattered, you might remember seeing Sarah Drew on your screens. While she only appeared in one episode of Glee as Suzy Pepper, she certainly made an impact as the geeky, nerdy girl with glasses. And while she’s certainly grown up, we can’t believe what she’s grown into.
Yep, Sarah Drew made her way from McKinley High School to Seattle Grace Hospital, but we didn’t believe it when we saw it. Not only had she ditched the glasses and left her headbands at home, but she’d also grown into a strong and independent medical professional. We know it happened, but are we going to acknowledge it any more? Probably not. It hurts our brains.
Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith and Old Georgie
Hugo Weaving might not be a Hollywood A-lister like some of the other actors and actresses we’ve already seen, but that doesn’t mean that he’s no less talented. In fact, he seems to just quietly get on with his work, and he creates absolute gold in the process. In fact, you may not have even realized that he’s in some of the most famous movies of all time.
While we can’t ignore the fact that he played Agent Smith in The Matrix – as he literally just put a suit and sunglasses on – we completely refuse to believe that he starred in Cloud Atlas. But he did, and he actually played six different characters in this movie! From Nurse Noakes to Bill Smoke and more, his most dramatic transformation occurred when he became Old Georgie. Not that you’d be able to tell it was him.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe and Cameron James
From his role in (500) Days of Summer to Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the kind of actor that everyone knows. He’s super famous, but we outright refuse to believe that the picture on the left is him. After all, Gordon-Levitt will forever stay a child in our eyes and will always look like he did when he played Cameron James in 10 Things I Hate About You.
Looking at the photo of him as Joe in Looper just makes us feel a little bit weird. Where’s the babyface gone? Where’s the nerd we once knew and love? While we understand that actors are supposed to take on different roles, we think it’s a little different for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. So, we can appreciate the acting talent in Looper, but we’re going to brush over the fact that it’s him.
Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs and Cruella de Vil
Glenn Close has one of those faces that is instantly recognizable, but the world of Hollywood works in mysterious ways, and sometimes her roles remain undetected – even to the biggest of fans. Sure, while we know that this leading lady took on the ever-evil Cruella de Vil’s role in 101 Dalmatians, we didn’t know about her role as Albert Nobbs.
Nevertheless, she took on the leading role in this film of the same name. Her hair became short, she wore a coat and tails, and she completely changed her demeanor to the point that we didn’t even know it was her. Because of this, it’s completely bizarre to us that the same actor played these two different characters.
Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona and The Joker
We don’t think we’ll ever get over the fact that we’ll never see Heath Ledger take on another role, and it was a devastating day when we lost his presence. Over the course of his short life, he proved himself to be a hugely versatile actor. And while this made us fall in love with him even more, it also made us even more confused. After all, how could one actor play so many faces?
One thing we’ll never get over is the fact that Ledger played both Patrick Verona from 10 Things I Hate About You and The Joker in The Dark Knight. And we’re not just talking about the physical differences, either. While Patrick and The Joker looked completely different, their personalities were also complete opposites. It takes real talent to pull these two off, and Heath Ledger had it.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Billy Hope and Jack Twist
Hollywood wouldn’t be the same without Jake Gyllenhaal in it, and there’s no doubt about the fact that he’s starred in more movies than we could possibly count. While he often plays the same kind of character, there are two names on his acting resume that just don’t make sense. After all, they couldn’t be further apart.
In 2015, Jake shocked us all when he turned up on our screens shirtless and with some serious muscles. For his role in Southpaw, he drastically changed his appearance – and it certainly took us by surprise. After all, his most famous role until that point had come in the form of the 2005 romance, Brokeback Mountain. Did Jake really step out of his comfort zone to become a boxer? Apparently so.
Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield and John Thornton
Are you familiar with a little series of films called The Hobbit? We’re going to assume that you have, considering it’s one of the most famous movie franchises that Hollywood has to offer. For these movies, English actor Richard Armitage had the pleasure of stepping into the (tiny) shoes of Thorin Oakenshield – and he did an amazing job.
But when an actor transforms themselves so well into a character we all know and love, it’s hard to see them in anything different. That’s why we outright refuse to believe that Richard Armitage also took on the role of a textile mill owner by the name of John Thornton in the television series North & South. It just doesn’t compute in our brains.
Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange and Queen Elizabeth
Did you know that Helena Bonham Carter used to be in a romantic relationship with Tim Burton? That certainly explains her ability to transform into dark and brooding characters, which she’s done numerous times over the years. In fact, most people know her for her roles in the likes of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Les Misérables, and, of course, Harry Potter.
To us, Helena will always be Bellatrix Lestrange, and while we will never like this particular character, there’s no doubt about the fact that she truly became the evil character. That’s why we were pretty confused when Bonham Carter left behind her evil ways to become Queen Elizabeth in the 2010 movie, The King’s Speech. These two can’t be played by the same actor, surely?
Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin and Beth Harmon
Anya Taylor-Joy may only be 24 years old, but that hasn’t stopped her from taking the acting world by storm. And it’s safe to say that everyone knows her name – especially thanks to her role as Beth Harmon in the Netflix smash hit, The Queen’s Gambit. Within this role, Anya took on the role of a strong, independent, and intelligent young chess player.
But what you might not have realized is that you had already seen Anya Taylor-Joy before she made her chess debut. Although we refuse to believe that these two are the same person, a younger Taylor-Joy made herself known as the frightened Thomasin in the 2015 movie, The Witch. She’s a completely different actress nowadays!
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Cressida
Natalie Dormer has been in the limelight since making her professional debut in 2005, and you probably don’t need us to tell you that she’s done extremely well for herself. Everyone seems to know her face, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not confusing when we see her face on so many different characters. Especially when they’re so different.
While most of us are used to seeing her as the beautiful (and scheming) Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones, it seems that this isn’t the only string she has to her bow. From 2015 until 2016, Natalie picked up her weapons and shaved her head to become Cressida in The Hunger Games. She was a world away from the character we know her to be.
Idris Elba as DCI John Luther and Macavity
Idris Elba is one of those celebrities who can do anything. Not only is he considered a serious hunk in the A-list world, but he’s also a DJ, writer, rapper, and actor. There’s nothing he won’t put his mind to, and while this has often worked in his favor, that hasn’t always been the case.
For much of his career, Idris Elba has been recognized for his role as DCI John Luther in the TV show Luther. Then, 2019 came around, and somebody thought it would be a good idea to bring a CGI version of Cats into the world. For this role, Idris became Macavity, and we refuse to believe he took on this project. Mostly because the reviews were not good. At all.
Oscar Isaac as Nick Wasicsko and Apocalypse
When you think of Oscar Isaac, you might immediately imagine him with a guitar in one hand and a cat in the other. After all, Inside Llewyn Davis is one of his most recognizable projects to date. But it seems as though there’s so much more to this singer and actor than just his shaggy beard and his impressive voice. Not that it’s easy for us to comprehend.
We’ve fallen in love with these aspects of Oscar Isaac, which is why we struggle to believe that this same actor played the two characters above. In 2015 he took the lead in the HBO mini-series, Show Me a Hero, and rocked a very strange mustache in the process. But that was nothing compared to his 2016 role as the evil Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya and Saul Berenson
Even if you’ve never seen The Princess Bride, you’ve probably heard of this 1987 classic. It’s gone down in history as one of the most iconic movies of all time, and Mandy Patinkin blew us all away when he took on the character of Inigo Montoya in this film. To us, he’ll always be known as the Spanish henchman with his curly locks and his wonderful mustache.
Because of this, we can’t quite get our heads around the fact that this actor has since continued his career – and taken on roles that are completely different. In fact, you may not have realized that Mandy has continually risen through the ranks of fame thanks to his role as Saul Berenson in the political thriller, Homeland. This is completely new information to us.
Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones and Judy Garland
Renée Zellweger is one of those actresses that quietly shows the world what she’s made of without making too much of a fuss, and that has to be commended. But when you don’t shout about your talent, it’s hard for people to know what you’re up to – and that’s why we refuse to believe that she played both Bridget Jones and Judy Garland within the space of two decades.
After all, Renée will always be the adorably hopeless Mark-Darcy lover from the Bridget Jones franchise to us. And it’s incredibly hard for us to understand that in 2019, she cut her hair and showcased her singing talent to become the one and only Judy Garland in the Judy biopic. It just doesn’t make sense to us.
Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister and David Carlton
When you think of Charles Dance, you probably think of the stern, British actor who seems to command authority in every role he’s given. That’s probably due to his career as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company and his English television prominence. While we’ve seen him in the likes of The Crown and The Woman in White, most of us know him as the evil Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones.
And while we know that a Lannister always repays his debts, we can’t help but wonder what kind of debt Charles Dance found himself in when he played David Carlton in Ali G Indahouse. This Sacha Baron Cohen creation is so far removed from what we’re used to seeing Charles in (i.e., not a skirt and leopard print shirt) that we’re convinced he must have a twin somewhere out there.
Alan Rickman as Harry and Severus Snape
It was a sad day for everyone when Alan Rickman passed away. The actor has left an incredible legacy within the acting world, and one that we’ll never forget. Yep, Alan will forever be remembered Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series. And while his character certainly had his ups and downs, he’ll always have a place in our hearts. Always.
And because we know this man for his slippery long hair and his evil drawl, we just can’t acknowledge the fact that Alan also appeared in the romantic comedy, Love Actually. While we eventually knew that Snape’s heart was in the right place, we don’t think we will ever get over the fact that this character could play a man quite as evil as Harry in this movie. How could he do that to his wife?!
Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana and Bella Swan
Kristen Stewart rose to fame as Bella Swan within the Twilight franchise, and although many people cringed when she fell in love with a vampire and friend-zoned a wolf, there’s no doubt about the fact that these movies made her super famous. But when you star in such a huge franchise, it’s hard for people to see you as anyone but that super famous character.
But that’s not the only reason why we refuse to believe that the photo on the left is Kristen Stewart. Bella Swan couldn’t be further away from Princess Diana in terms of looks and personality. And while the Diana biopic, Spencer, has not yet been released, we don’t think we’re going to be able to acknowledge the fact that it’s Stewart on our screens when we watch it.
Jared Leto as Rayon and The Joker
Everyone knows that Johnny Depp is a hugely versatile actor, but we can’t help but think that he’s often given too much credit – especially when there are other actors like Jared Leto making their mark. This actor and musician has been in the entertainment scene for decades, and he’s worked on projects without us even realizing it. Yep, because he’s that versatile.
While Jared has blown us all away as the Joker in Suicide Squad, it seems as though this method actor has so much more under his belt. And he’s not afraid to go the extra mile when it comes to taking on new characters. He did just that in 2013 when he played transgender woman Rayon in Dallas Buyer’s Club. Did you even know that was him?
Bill Skarsgård as Merkel and Pennywise
You might be familiar with the Skarsgård family, as there are more Skarsgårds in the entertainment world than we could possibly count. And one seriously talented member of that family is Bill, who has been acting on and off since 1999. But it’s only been in the last few years that he’s really blown up to the point that he’s playing characters from completely different ends of the spectrum.
In fact, we don’t refuse to believe that Bill can play Merkel in Atomic Blonde and Pennywise in It just because these characters are so different. We also refuse to believe that he played both of these characters because we don’t like to think that Pennywise actually exists. He’s just a figment of our imagination and nightmares, right? He’s too scary to be real.
Harry Melling as Dudley Dursley and Sysselman
Harry Melling is a name you might not be completely familiar with, but you’ll definitely know his face. That’s because this guy made his mark when he was just a child as Harry’s obnoxious cousin Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter franchise. He was rude, he was selfish, and he was utterly spoiled.
Harry seemed to disappear off the face of the earth after his stint in Harry Potter came to an end, and to us, he will always be the young schoolboy who loved nothing more than to bully his cousin. That’s why we’re struggling to comprehend that Harry Melling later went on to play Sysselman in His Dark Materials. And he even starred as Harry Beltik in The Queen’s Gambit! How weird.
Eric Bana as Prince Hector and Nero
Eric Bana is one of those actors who has many strings to his bow. Hailing from Australia, he’s made a name for himself as a comedian and an actor, and someone who can transform himself into so many different characters without us even realizing it. You just need to look at his roles in Troy and Star Trek to see that.
While those who are extremely familiar with the work of Eric Bana may have recognized him as Prince Hector in Troy, it’s fair to say that this role was wildly different from when he played the evil villain Nero within the Star Trek franchise. And that’s not just because of the prosthetics and makeup. These two characters couldn’t have been less alike in terms of their personality traits.
Gemma Whelan as Mrs. Weston and Yara Greyjoy
Considering Game of Thrones has dominated our screens over the past decade, it’s fair to say that most people know who Gemma Whelan is. In fact, they know her as the hard-shelled Yara Greyjoy – a strong, independent woman who stood up to her male counterparts and knew exactly who she was.
So imagine just how surprised we were to learn that Gemma has also appeared in other productions. Yes, we didn’t even realize it, but Gemma took on the role of Mrs. Weston in the 2020 period drama, Emma. In this role, she donned her corset and a prim-and-proper personality to become the complete opposite of the character we know her as.
Mackenzie Crook as Ragetti and Veran
While Mackenzie Crook may not be hounded by paparazzi or invited to the hottest A-list parties, he’s certainly been able to stake his claim within the acting world. He’s quietly shown us all that he’s a hugely versatile actor, and in most cases, we haven’t even realized that he’s played roles we’re hugely familiar with.
Did you know that he played these two characters? He’s perhaps most well-known for his role as Ragetti within the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, but it seems as though he’s continued to take on these strange and unusual characters ever since. In recent years, he has utilized prosthetics and a strange wardrobe to become Veran in the 2018 fantasy drama, Brittania. Who would have thought it?
Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly and Julia Child
Of course, we know that you know who Meryl Streep is. She’s one of the biggest names that Hollywood has to offer, and she has more acting credits to her name than we have words in our vocabulary. But what’s so surprising about this actress is her range. One minute she’s playing one character, and the next she’s playing someone completely different.
This is perhaps most apparent within the two roles pictured. Meryl did such a good job of bringing Anna-Wintour-lookalike Miranda Priestly to life in The Devil Wears Prada that we assumed she had that sassy streak within her. But it turns out that she can also play the fun-loving, homely personality of Julia Child in the movie Julia. What a star.
Amy Sedaris as Amy and Jerri Blank
If you’re a huge comedy buff, you’ll probably be familiar with Amy Sedaris. Thanks to her amazing comedic talent and timing, she has been able to put her name to some of the biggest movies and TV shows out there. Perhaps one of her most famous roles to date is her breakout role, which came in the form of Strangers with Candy.
But did you know that the character of Jerri Blank was actually played by the comedian? Today, she’s known primarily for her role as herself in the sitcom, At Home With Amy Sedaris. And it’s fair to say that these two characters are pretty different from each other. This one has definitely blown our minds.
Conleth Hill as Roger Alton and Lord Varys
Yes, we’ve got another Game of Thrones alumnus on this list – and it’s not too hard to understand why. We have to give the writers, makeup department, and costume department some serious props for their work on this show, as they made many of their cast completely unrecognizable. Of course, we also have to congratulate Conleth Hill for transforming himself into his character with such ease.
While most of us are used to seeing this actor as Lord Varys, it seems that his little birds forgot to mention that Alton also has a very successful career outside of this famous show. In fact, we had absolutely no idea that he starred alongside the likes of Keira Knightley and Matt Smith in the 2019 movie, Official Secrets.
Cate Blanchett as Hela and Galadriel
Hollywood is full of amazing actresses, but how do you stand out from the crowd? Well, you might have to ask Cate Blanchett about that one, as this leading lady has been in the business since the early ’90s and bagged herself major roles in the process. And while we know she’s talented, we outright refuse to believe that she played these two characters.
How could one actress play two characters that are so completely different?! On the one hand, she played the evil villain Hela in Thor: Ragnarok, and on the other hand, she played the innocent and ethereal Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises? Surely these two hands don’t match up?
Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander and Mary Magdalene
Many people know Rooney Mara thanks to her engagement with Joaquin Phoenix, but there’s so much more to this woman than just her relationship status. In fact, she’s been in the limelight since she made her professional debut in 2005, and she has yet to make us doubt her incredible versatility.
For some of her acting roles, like her role as Mary Magdalene in the 2018 movie of the same name, she looked just like herself. But on other occasions, she completely changed her look and her personality to the point that we didn’t even recognize her! Did you know that she became Lisbeth Salander in 2011’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? Because we didn’t.
Elle Fanning as Ray and Catherine the Great
The Fanning sisters deserve all of the fame and fortune that comes their way, as Dakota and Elle have certainly proved their worth over the course of their careers. And what’s more, is that they’re still so young. They still have years and years to shock us and prove their versatility within their future projects.
And Elle already seems to be on a winning streak when it comes to confusing us. That’s all thanks to her roles in 3 Generations and The Great. Although these roles were just five years apart, these two characters couldn’t have looked, sounded, or acted any more differently. It takes a real star to pull that off.
Tom Hardy as Charles Bronson and Alfie Solomons
Let’s be honest; Tom Hardy has achieved what many before him have tried so hard to do. While English actors often struggle to become part of the Hollywood elite, he’s been able to stake his claim as a real contender. Over the years he’s starred in huge movies like Venom, Mad Max, The Dark Knight Rises, and Dunkirk. And while we always thought he played the same kind of role, it seems he does have a few more tricks up his sleeve.
There’s so much more to Tom Hardy than meets the eye, and he proved just that when he became the infamous Charles Bronson in Bronson. For this role, Tom completely transformed his body and his character. And he’s done exactly the same as Alfie Solomons in Peaky Blinders. Until we saw his name in the credits, we just couldn’t place who played this character.
Will Smith as Will and Chris Gardner
It takes real skill to use makeup, wardrobe, and prosthetics to make your character believable, but sometimes what’s even harder is to be given the same canvas you always have. And that’s why we’ve added Will Smith onto this list. Sure, he might not have looked any different in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Pursuit of Happyness, but his characters were polar opposites.
In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith played a character not unlike himself. He was fun-loving and care-free, and he didn’t have to worry about anything. But in The Pursuit of Happyness, he starred alongside his young son to portray a character on the edge of rock bottom. He was hard-working and he was struggling, and it broke our hearts.
Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jeanine Matthews
Everyone’s seen Titanic at least once, right? This James Cameron movie will go down in history as one of the most impressive movies ever created, and we bet Kate Winslet is pretty proud of the fact that she got to go along for the ride. In this movie, she played the young Rose DeWitt Bukater who we all fell in love with. Alongside Jack Dawson, of course.
Because we will always know her as Rose, we refuse to accept the fact that this actress also starred in the Divergent Series. In these movies, she played the awful and villainous Jeanine Matthews, who thought nothing of destroying the world that everyone loved. These two characters can’t be played by the same person, surely?
Natalia Tena as Xi’an and Osha
Natalia Tena is the kind of actor who always seems to appear in television shows and movies that you’re watching, but you don’t realize that it’s her until it’s come to an end. That probably has something to do with the fact that his hugely versatile actress can put her feet into the shoes of countless characters, including ones that have blown our minds.
Indeed, did you know that she not only played Osha in Game of Thrones but that she’s also become Xi’an the Twi’lek in The Mandalorian? With her purple face and strange lekku appendages, we had absolutely no clue that the same actress played these two characters. In fact, we think we were better off not knowing that. We prefer to stay in the dark.
Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood and Professor Trelawney
If you know anything about Emma Thompson and her acting career, you’ll know that this lady has made a name for herself thanks to her British accent and ability to play prim and proper characters. In fact, at the start of her career, she took on multiple roles within movie and TV adaptations of Jane Austen novels. In 1995, she starred as Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility.
So you can imagine our surprise when we learned that the quintessentially British and upper-class actress was the woman behind Professor Trelawney in the Harry Potter franchise. Not only did she ditch her posh accent, but she also left her corsets, her combs, and obviously her contact lenses at home for this magical role. Mind = blown.
Rodrigo Santoro as Hector Escaton and King Xerxes
Rodrigo Santoro is an actor who rarely gets the recognition he deserves, but that’s probably because nobody actually knows that he plays so many different characters. After all, he’s the master of disguise and versatility, and sometimes we just can’t believe that he’s able to change his character so effortlessly. Because of this, we don’t think we’ll ever get used to the fact that he plays both Hector Escaton and King Xerxes in Westworld and 300.
While some people know this Brazilian actor for his role as Karl in Love Actually, it’s fair to say that these two projects have gotten people talking. In Westworld, he donned facial scars and a toughened cowboy glare as Hector. And as King Xerxes in 300, he was completely unrecognizable thanks to his chains, piercings, and regal stance. Can you believe these two are played by just one man?