These Side By Side Comparisons of Actors and the Real People They Played Will Blow Your Mind

Hair and makeup help, but some of these actors were clearly meant to play these roles.

It's no small task for an actor to take on the challenge of playing a real person. From politicians to musicians to visionary entrepreneurs, biopics have long been a Hollywood staple. They're also award season bait — in the past 20 years, one in three actors who won an Oscar did so for playing a real person (via Buzzfeed).

It takes a good hair and makeup team to transform an actor into an iconic figure, but that actor must also possess a certain spark of the original in order to make his performance truly memorable.

Below, check out some of the most incredible side by side comparisons of actors and the real people they played. (And head over here for the ladies.)

Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison (The Doors)

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes (The Aviator)

James Franco as Hugh Hefner (Lovelace)

Will Smith as Muhammad Ali (Ali)

Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Elvis Presley (Elvis)

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs (Jobs)

Benecio del Toro as Che Guevera (Che)

Robert Downey Jr as Charlie Chaplin (Chaplin)

Ben Kingsley as Gandhi (Gandhi)

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles (Ray)

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash (Walk the Line)

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X (Malcolm X)

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. (Selma)

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela (Invictus)

Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious (Sid and Nancy)

Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman (Man on the Moon)

Al Pacino as Dr. Jack Kevorkian (You Don't Know Jack)

I'm the Chief Content Officer of Livingly Media (Livingly, Lonny, StyleBistro, Zimbio, Mabel + Moxie, and It's Rosy). My TV boyfriend is Pacey Witter. You can reach me at jill@livingly.com.
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