15 Actors Who Immersed Their Characters So Well That Viewers Are Impossible To Recognize Until The End Credits Rolled

For all actors, a requirement is to be able to become your character. And that includes looking the most like your character. And whether it’s due to makeup or diet, some actors have gone through such insane transformations in their movies that we hardly ever recognize them.
These are either the results of immaculate makeup, or a brutal diet and training regime. Either way, actors have to go through the wringer just to look like what their filmmakers envisage of their characters.
While most actors are still recognizable in their movies, some of them transform into their characters so successfully that makes us double back just to ensure that they are the same person. And on that department, they deserve a standing ovation.
But which actors have accomplished this astronomical feat? Here we have a list of 15 actors that become their roles so well they are impossible to recognize. Let’s start!

#1 Helena Bonham Carter: the Harry Potter series vs The Crown

Source: © Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 / WarnerBros© The Crown / Left Bank Pictures

We are so used to seeing Helena Bonham Carter as a dark, gothic, and quirky character - courtesy of Tim Burton - that seeing her in a different character is shocking. In The Crown, she plays Princess Margaret so convincingly that we almost do not recognize her. Maybe it’s the ginger hair and regal clothing?

#2 Rooney Mara: Mary Magdalene vs The girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Source: © Mary Magdalene / See-Saw Films© The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Columbia Pictures

From one extreme to another, Rooney Mara plays both the Virgin Mary and the dark and twisted hacker Lisbeth Salander perfectly. But without the movie credits, we wouldn’t be able to recognize the actress in the latter. I mean, can you tell these photos are of the same person?

#3 Bryan Cranston: Breaking Bad vs Malcolm in the Middle

Source: © Breaking Bad / AMC© Malcolm in the Middle / 20th Century Studio

We are so used to seeing Bryan Cranston as the chem teacher in Breaking Bad is cleanly shaven, and has a sense of lightness about him. However, in his role as the well-meaning, loving, but inept and completely immature father, he looks rather… clumsy and honest. So different, don’t you think?

#4 Charlize Theron: Mad Max vs Monster

Source: © Mad Max: Fury Road / Warner Bros.© Monster / Denver and Delilah Productions

Charlize Theron received critical acclaim for both her roles in Mad Max and Monster. The actress is known for her commitment to acting by transforming her body to fit the roles if required.

#5 Margot Robbie: Mary Queen of Scots vs I, Tonya

Source: © Mary Queen of Scots / Focus Features© I, Tonya / AI-Film

You have to be beautiful to play both Barbie and Harley Quinn. But despite being so beautiful, Margot Robbie doesn’t mind looking a bit goofy, or even ugly, for her role. From braces in I, Tonya, to period-accurate chalk-white makeup in Mary Queen of Scots, the actress can take it all.

#6 Denzel Washington: Training Day vs Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Source: © Training Day / Warner Bros.© Roman J. Israel, Esq. / Bron Studios

Denzel Washington is a smoking hot leading man, which most films lean into when casting him, such as Training Day. But we are all pleasantly surprised when he put on an afro and goofy glasses in Roman J. Israel, Esq, because we cannot recognize the super handsome actor.

#7 Blake Lively: Gossip girl vs The Rhythm Section

Source: © Gossip Girl / Warner Bros. Television© The Rhythm Section / Paramount Pictures

Gossip Girl describes Serena as always looking “effortless.” And so is Blake Lively. That’s why we were all taken aback when we realize the dark, butt-kicking freelance assassin is also played by the beautiful actress.

#8 Johnny Depp: The Professor vs Black Mass

Source: © The Professor / Global Road Entertainment© Black Mass / Cross Creek Pictures

Johnny Depp, despite being a very versatile actor, is often cast as a quirky character. From Captain Jack Sparrow to Edward Scissorhands, we are very used to the oddball Depp. That’s why his look as the crime boss Whitey Bulger is so oddly refreshing.

#9 Marion Cotillard: La Vie En Rose vs Macbeth

Source: © La Vie En Rose / Légende Films© MacBeth / See-Saw Films

Marion Cotillard has played a lot of roles in her acting career. But each time, we almost never recognize her. This is because of her ability to just transform herself into the character through demeanors. Yes, this is her both as the shy Piaf and the tragic Lady Macbeth.

#10 Matthew McConaughey: True Detective vs Dallas Buyers Club

Source: © True Detective / HBO Entertainment© Dallas Buyers Club / Voltage Pictures

Matthew McConaughey is a handsome man; his countless roles in rom-coms are a testament to that. This is why when we see him transforming into an AIDS-ridden man in Dallas Buyers Club, we almost thought it was another actor. C’mon, can you believe these are the same person?

#11 Jake Gyllenhaal: Nightcrawler vs Southpaw

Source: © Nightcrawler / Bold Films© Southpaw / Escape Artists

Who knows that Jake Gyllenhaal can be so jacked? But when he takes his shirt off in Southpaw, we were all in awe! The actor goes through intensive training and diet. But he can also look fairly dorky, just by going with super greasy hair, as he does in Nightcrawler.

#12 Cillian Murphy: TRON: Legacy vs Peaky Blinders

Source: © Tron: Legacy / Walt Disney Pictures, © Peaky Blinders / Caryn Mandabach Productions

Another factor that manages to look vastly different for his roles is Cillian Murphy. In TRON: Legacy, he carries a very high-tech futuristic vibe, while in Peaky Blinders, he brings on the 1900s nostalgic vibe. And he did this so convincingly, we hardly can tell the difference.

#13 Jared Leto: The Outsider vs Chapter 27

Source: © The Outsider / Linson Entertainment© Chapter 27 / Artina Films

While Jared Leto still looks very much recognizable in The Outsider, in Chapter 27, he looks unrecognizable. With a bigger frame and more facial fat, he looks just like Mark David Chapman. Which is a feat all in itself.

#14 Harry Melling: Harry Potter vs The Queen’s Gambit

Source: © Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / WarnerBros© The Queen's Gambit / Netflix

Harry Melling fits the character Dursley to a T: spoiled and kind of plumb. But in The Queen’s Gambit, he looks the part of a chess champion; gaunter and grows up, so much that we barely were able to recognize him.

#15 Bradley Cooper: Case 39 vs American Sniper

Source: © Case 39 / Paramount Vantage© American Sniper / Warner Bros.

In Case 39, Bradley Cooper still looks like his charming self, with his signature blond hair to match. But to be the gunman Chris Kyle in American Sniper, he bulks up and ditches his blond hair for a darker color. With the beard, doesn’t he looks like a war-worn veteran?
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