Actors Who Became Unrecognizable For A Role

Jordan Claes
Heath Ledger with his hand over his mouth.
Getty Images | Getty Images | Carlo Allegri

The goal of every actor is complete and total immersion into their character — so much so that the audience can't tell where one ends and the other begins.

As you might have imagined, this is no easy task and isn't always accomplished. However, every once in a while, even the most acclaimed actor can become invisible in a role. Have a look below and check out these actors who were able to become totally unrecognizable.

I still don't believe that Jared Leto played Paolo Gucci in 'House Of Gucci'.

Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci, leaning over a drawing table in 'House Of Gucci'.
United Artists Releasing | United Artists Releasing

I knew little to nothing about the film before sitting down to watch it, and I had no idea that Jared was even in the movie until the credits started to roll.

Steve Carrell pushed himself further than audiences thought possible in order to play John du Pont in 'Foxcatcher'.

Steve Carrell in 'Foxcatcher'.
Sony Pictures | Sony Pictures

Carrell's performance was so convincing, that he netted his first and only Academy Award nomination for "Best Actor in a Leading Role."

The makeup Michael Keaton used to transform into Betelgeuse in 'Beetlejuice' was way ahead of its time.

Michael Keaton as Betelgeuse saying "It's showtime" in 'Beetlejuice'.

Even by today's standards audiences would have a hard time discerning that it is indeed Michael Keaton hiding behind the face of Betelgeuse.

Nicole Kidman looked nothing like herself when she played Virginia Woolf in 'The Hours'.

Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf in 'The Hours'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Nicole said that the prosthetic nose gave her a feeling of true anonymity and that she was shocked to hear how test audiences didn't recognize her.

Margot Robbie looked positively regal as Queen Elizabeth I in 'Mary Queen Of Scots'.

Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I in 'Mary Queen Of Scots'.
Focus Features | Focus Features

Margot looked as if she'd walked right out of the pages of history in Mary Queen of Scots. It's no wonder that the film was nominated for "Best Makeup and Hairstyling" at the 2019 Oscars.

Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in 'Tropic Thunder' may be the actor's greatest on-screen triumph.

Tom Cruise as Les Grossman, dancing in 'Tropic Thunder'.

It's true that Les Grossman's role in Tropic Thunder was minor, but he still managed to make a major impact. So much so that Tom received a Golden Globe nomination.

Charlize Theron looked absolutely terrifying as Aileen Wuornos in 'Monster'.

Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos in 'Monster'.
Newmarket Films | Newmarket Films

Portraying one of the world's most well-known female serial killers was a calculated career risk for Charlize Theron. Thankfully, it wound up paying dividends and Charlize went on to receive her first Oscar.

Robin Williams was positively brilliant as Euphegenia Doubtfire in 'Mrs. Doubtfire'.

Mrs. Doubtfire losing her teeth in her glass of wine in 'Mrs. Doubtfire'.
Giphy | 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Trying to name the best Robin Williams movie is a lot like trying to pick who your favorite child is. While it may be a hopeless endeavor for some, I always felt that Mrs. Doubtfire was his magnum opus.

You'd never guess that Dr. Jozef Klemperer was really played by Tilda Swinton in 'Suspiria (2018)'.

Tilda Swinton as Dr. Jozef Klemperer in 'Suspiria (2018)'.
Amazon Studios | Amazon Studios

It speaks to the caliber of Tilda Swinton that she was able to effortlessly convince audiences that she was an 82-year-old man. I was blown away.

Cate Blanchett played Bob Dylan better than Dylan himself in 'I'm Not There'.

Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in 'I'm Not There'.
The Weinstein Company | The Weinstein Company

There were six different actors who portrayed Bob Dylan in the biopic I'm Not There. Of them, Cate Blanchett was the only woman — and hers is by far the most convincing.

Christian Bale shed his skin (and gained 40 lbs) to play Dick Cheney in 'Vice'.

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in 'Vice'.
Giphy | Vice Movie

Christian Bale has become well-known for his drastic body transformations over the years. His work in Vice stands as a testament to the lengths he's willing to go to for the sake of his art.

Heath Ledger proved everyone wrong with his portrayal of The Joker in 'The Dark Knight'.

Heath Ledger as the Joker inside the GCPD interrogation room in 'The Dark Knight'.
Warner Bros. | Warner Bros.

Do you wanna see a magic trick? I'm gonna make Heath Ledger, disappear! To this day, Heath's mesmerizing depiction of The Joker remains as the final word on the character.

Eddie Murphy proved that he is a true Hollywood chameleon when he portrayed the entire Klump family in 'The Nutty Professor'.

Eddie Murphy as Sherman Klump, looking left and right nervously in 'The Nutty Professor'.
Giphy | Laff

Eddie Murphy plays almost all of Sherman's immediate family in the film, including Cletus Klump, Granny Klump, and Anna-Pearl Jensen-Klump.

Daniel Day-Lewis could easily be mistaken for Abraham Lincoln in 'Lincoln'.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in 'Lincoln'.
Disney | Disney

It wasn't only that Daniel Day-Lewis looked indistinguishable from the real-life Abraham Lincoln, but it was also his conviction in the role that made him appear so convincing.

I still have nightmares about Bill Skarsgård's version of Pennywise in 'IT'.

Pennywise slowly smirking in 'IT (2017)'.

There's something sinister about Bill Skarsgård. It's the way his eyes move, how his lips curl back over his teeth and countless other undefinable idiosyncracies that make him the perfect choice for Pennywise.

Colin Farrell's transformation into Oswald Cobblepot (aka The Penguin) was shocking.

Colin Farrell as The Penguin in 'The Batman'.
Warner Bros. | Warner Bros.

Call me crazy, but I foresee Oscar gold in Colin Farrell's future. His performance is far too formidable and the prosthetics far too convincing for him not to warrant consideration.

Anjelica Huston has forever scarred me with her portrayal of the Grand High Witch in 'The Witches'.

Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch in 'The Witches'.

The remake of The Witches starring Anne Hathaway is the perfect example of why some films should remain untouched and unblemished. There was simply no way that anyone was ever going to top what Anjelica Huston had already done.

John Leguizamo deserves all the praise for his role as Clown/Violator in 'Spawn'.

John Leguizamo as Clown in 'Spawn'.
New Line Cinema | New Line Cinema

There are plenty of superhero movies that came out in the '90s that never received their well-deserved flowers and Spawn is high atop that list. There's no way you'd guess John Leguizamo was the man behind the blue facepaint unless you already knew it to begin with.

Gary Oldman could've easily been mistaken for the ghost of Winston Churchill in 'Darkest Hour'.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in 'Darkest Hour'.

Gary Oldman has forged a reputation for being one of Hollywood's greatest character actors, and Darkest Hour may just be the best example of his prowess, to date.

Ralph Fiennes is a master of deception and of the dark arts as Lord Voldemort in the 'Harry Potter' franchise.

Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in 'Harry Potter' franchise.
Warner Bros. | Warner Bros.

The Harry Potter films are far from perfect — especially to someone who spent their entire childhood reading the books cover to cover. However, Ralph Fiennes's depiction of Voldemort is about as good as anyone could've hoped for.

My heart grew three sizes after watching Jim Carrey as The Grinch in 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'.

Jim Carrey as the Grinch, smiley in an evil way in 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'.

Putting on the Grinch's prosthetic makeup was torture for Jim Carrey — literally. The entire process was so painstaking that production had to hire a CIA torture expert in order to keep Jim calm.