Truly great actors are able to set vanity aside to play an ugly character.
Some actors even commit to making changes to their body in real life to make it all look more realistic. They gain weight, lose, weight, shave their head, or make other sacrifices to their normally stunning appearance.
There’s something magical about seeing an actor rendered completely unrecognizable in a role. It makes the acting even more real, and awards for the performer usually follow. It really messes with our minds to see actors who we know are hot look so gross on screen. It’s even more mind-bending when an actor undergoes a transformation from beautiful to ugly for their first major role because audiences aren’t familiar with the way they look in real life. And when you search them on Google images after the movie is over, it will break your brain.
Here are 15 ‘Ugly’ Movie Characters Who Look Way Better In Real Life.
15. Bill Skarsgård – IT
This year’s It remake was a breakout performance for Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, the terrifying, evil killer clown.
But it also made people feel really conflicted, because Bill Skarsgård is super hot in real life. In fact, he’s everyone’s latest crush. Many Twitter users have proclaimed their lust for Skarsgård as Pennywise. The super fine 27-year-old Swede is the brother of fellow extremely hot actor Alexander Skarsgård and son of Stellan Skarsgård. Bill appeared on Conan and did his Pennywise smile without makeup, and it will really mess with your mind.
Bill is also a model, which explains a lot. In addition to It, he’s starred in Hemlock Grove and has appeared in The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Atomic Blonde, and Anna Karenina. He’ll also appear in the Stephen King anthology series Castle Rock – presumably not as Pennywise.
14. Christine Lakin – The Hottie & the Nottie
The Hottie & the Nottie is a truly terrible Paris Hilton vehicle. The film is about a woman who agrees to go on a date with a man on the condition that he finds a date for her ugly best friend. Of course, Hilton is the “hottie” of the title. The “nottie” is played by Christine Lakin, best known for the TV series Step By Step.
The film went for the exaggerated approach with Lakin’s character June Phigg. June has crooked teeth, a unibrow, unsightly moles, and bad skin: all the hallmarks of a stereotypically ugly character. It’s certainly not supposed to be a realistic look. This completely ridiculous plot device is one of the many reasons this awful film ended up being called one of the worst films of all time.
13. Daveigh Chase – The Ring
Daveigh Chase, the girl who played Samara in the horror flick The Ring, grew up to be a stunning beauty.
Samara is the stuff of nightmares. She’s a little demon child who, when she isn’t peering threateningly at you through a curtain of greasy black hair, is climbing out of a TV to kill you.
That’s why it was such a surprise when Chase’s Instagram made the rounds on the Internet in 2015, with news site proclaiming that she was now a beautiful woman. And it’s true. But disassociating her from Samara might require a feat of mental gymnastics.
12. Christian Bale – American Hustle
Christian Bale gained 43 pounds to play a ’70s con artist Irving Rosenfeld in 2013’s American Hustle.
To achieve his character’s protruding belly, Bale told People, “I ate lots of doughnuts, a whole lot of cheeseburgers and whatever I could get my hands on. I literally ate anything that came my way.” Sounds pretty unhealthy. He also cut his hair so his character’s bad toupee would look more realistic.
Bale has a history of being so committed to a film that he wreaks havoc on his body. But of course, it was only temporary: after the movie wrapped shooting, he lost the weight and his hair grew back, returning to his status as a handsome movie star. By 2014 he donned armor for his role as Hot Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings.
11. Charlize Theron – Monster
Charlize Theron’s transformation into serial killer Aileen Wuornos for Patty Jenkins’ Monster is truly shocking.
Wuornos was a gay Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. After being raped by a client, she kills him in self-defense. She tries to get out of prostitution, but with her criminal history and lack of experience, she can’t find other work. So, she returns to prostitution, this time killing all her male clients in what she called self-defense. On October 9, 2002, she was executed by lethal injection. Christina Ricci also starred as her girlfriend Selby Wall.
10. Napoleon Dynamite – Jon Heder
Looking at geeky weirdo Napoleon Dynamite, you wouldn’t dream that he’s actually cute in real life. But when you see Jon Heder out of costume, you’ll be blown away. He looks nothing like his character. His adorable boy next door looks and a scruffy beard will make you weak in the knees.
Napoleon Dynamite was Heder’s first feature film. The first time audiences laid eyes on him, he was pretty unfortunate-looking. Napoleon’s hair sort of resemble a bad perm. He has huge glasses. He does not dress well. His mouth is perpetually agape. And his voice makes him sound very… unintelligent.
9. Cameron Diaz – Being John Malkovich
Cameron Diaz went frumpy for her role as the zany Lotte Schwartz in the indie film Being John Malkovich.
Her usual straight, blonde hair made way for an unruly mop of frizzy brown curls. Her outfits consisted of dowdy ’90s clothes. By the time she did Being John Malkovich, Diaz had already established herself as a Hollywood beauty and one of the go-to actresses for playing gorgeous leading women. Prior to Being John Malkovich in 1999, she’d done My Best Friend’s Wedding, There’s Something About Mary, and The Mask.
Being John Malkovich was praised by critics and put director Spike Jonze on the map. Diaz went on to continued success playing stunning women on screen, from Charlie’s Angels to the period piece Gangs of New York.
8. Tom Cruise – Tropic Thunder
Tom Cruise’s Tropic Thunder character is different than his usual roles. For one, he’s not the romantic lead or the hero of an action movie; he’s a comedic side character. Cruise plays Les Grossman, a sleazy, fast-talking Hollywood agent.
The filmmakers disguised his gorgeousness by making him look pretty repulsive: balding, fat, and very hairy. Cruise pleasantly surprised audiences by killing it at something so different from his usual fare.
Of course, we know that Cruise is generally considered to be one of the hottest male celebrities. Even at the age of 55, he’s still a hottie with a body. And he’s still a staple of action flicks, usually also winning the heart of a woman (although his female costars have stayed young while he has aged).
7. Rooney Mara – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Lisbeth Salander’s look is very extreme, to say the least. It’s sort of a combination of punk and goth.
The character is a talented computer hacker who has suffered severe emotional and sexual abuse, turning her into a hardened vigilante. Most striking are her eyebrows, which are bleached while her hair is black, making her look eyebrow-less. Her hair is choppy and uneven, she dresses in black and leather, and her face is covered with piercings.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was Mara’s first big leading role. After she ascended into the limelight, it was a bit shocking to see how different she looked out of costume and on the red carpet. Mara has a classic, Audrey Hepburn-like beauty and a refined sense of style.
6. Matthew McConaughey – Gold
Matthew McConaughey is among the ranks of hot actors who have gone bald (or, balding) for a role.
In 2016’s Gold, he plays Kenny Wells, a prospector who teams up with a geologist to find gold in the jungles of Indonesia. The actor gained 47 pounds for the role. He also wore veneers to make it look like he had bad teeth and shaved his head and wore a toupee. It was the first time he’d gained weight for a role that wasn’t in muscle mass.
McConaughey told E! News about how he lost the weight to get back to him athletic build. “It was somewhat daunting. I had to be patient. I looked at myself like, ‘This is not going to happen overnight. This isn’t going to happen in a couple or a few months,'” he said. “The hard part was getting down to… I would go from 217 to 211, easy. Then 211 to 209, crossing that 210 mark was really tough. Then go 209 to 201, easy.”
5. Lizzy Caplan – Mean Girls
Kevin Gnapoor was onto something here.
In Mean Girls, Lizzy Caplan’s character Janis Ian is a weirdo who, along with her gay BFF Damien, is an outsider when it comes to the popular crowd at North Shore High School. She couldn’t be more different from her friend-turned-enemy Regina George, the most popular girl in school and a beautiful blonde.
Janis dresses like a punk, with her heavy black eyeliner, baggy clothes, and piercings. She wears a purple suit to prom and it’s not a good look. But Janis is not truly ugly. And Lizzy Caplan looks a million times better in real life.
4. James Franco – Spring Breakers
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that James Franco is hot. You wouldn’t know it from his role in Spring Breakers, though.
Franco plays Alien, a drug-dealing rapper who looks positively repulsive. For one thing, he’s a white guy with cornrows, which is never a good look. He completes his white trash look with a Hawaiian shirt over a white tank top, lame sunglasses, and a ridiculous grill.
In real life, Franco has had a varied career, playing pretty boy roles like Tristan in Tristan + Isolde, goofing it up in comedies like The Pineapple Express, starring in blockbusters (Spider-Man, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and doing some just plain weird movies like The Disaster Artist (in which he plays Tommy Wiseau).
3. Emma Thompson, Nanny McPhee
Nanny McPhee is a magical nanny who uses her powers to discipline naughty children. But she’s no Mary Poppins: Nanny McPhee is hideously ugly. She looks like what comes to mind when you think of a wicked witch.
The 2005 film is about Cedric Brown, who is the father to a gaggle of very badly behaved children. The kids have a habit of scaring away any nanny that their father hires, until Nanny McPhee takes the job.
When Emma Thompson played the role, she was decked out in exaggeratedly costume and makeup to help her appear ugly, including buckteeth, a huge mole, a prosthetic nose, a unibrow, and a severe black gown. Her appearance make her young charges think that she’s a spooky witch.
2. Jude Law – Dom Hemingway
Jude Law gained 30 pounds to play Dom Hemingway, a safe cracker who’s fresh out of prison in the 2013 film of the same name.
“It just seemed clear that I needed to sort of look a little bit more excessive because he was someone who didn’t eat healthily, probably had a bit more bulk, drank too much, smoked too much, so I certainly changed what I normally eat,” Law told Access Hollywood.
As for the hair, Law’s hairline has been receding for as long as he’s been famous, but amazingly, he can get away with it because he’s just that hot. For Dom Hemingway, his hair was slicked back to suit a character who was a greasy London criminal, which accentuated his baldness. In real life, he styles his hair in a much more flattering way.
1. Mae Whitman – The Duff
DUFF is an acronym for “designated ugly fat friend.” A DUFF’s purpose is to make her friends seem pretty when compared to her and to function as a tool for people who want to get close to the prettier friends. According to the characters, a DUFF doesn’t actually have to be ugly. As if that makes it any better for Bianca (Mae Whitman) when she finds out she’s the DUFF of her friend group.
But it’s strange to cast Whitman as a character who’s supposed to be ugly when she’s not ugly at all. Although she isn’t as conventionally pretty as the actors who play her friends, Bianca A. Santos and Skyler Samuels, she’s actually really beautiful. The characters in the movie insult her style because she doesn’t dress like the popular kids, but there’s a word for that: a hipster.
Which other ‘ugly’ movie characters are actually gorgeous in real life? Share in the comments!
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