A Total Scam: Actors Vs the Real Life Criminals They Played On-Screen

Thu Nov 24 2022

In today’s day and age, people can’t get enough of true crime. By listening to or watching stories of serial killers, gangsters, financial fraudsters, and cult leaders, we unlock our natural desire to solve mysteries and learn more about our anxieties. So, it should come as no surprise to learn that Hollywood is full of movies and television shows about these criminals… and countless actors have taken on these challenging roles.

Transforming yourself into a person who has done unspeakable things can’t be easy, but these actors absolutely nailed their true crime castings. From Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes to Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, these actors had to put in some serious preparation for these roles. Not only did they physically transform, but they also had to undertake some spine-chilling research. These are the actors vs the real-life criminals they played on-screen.

Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes (The Dropout)

In 2003, Stanford University dropout Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos, a health technology company that aimed to revolutionize the world of healthcare. Elizabeth convinced some of the biggest players in the game that she had developed a way to test blood with just a fingerprick. Her fraudulent schemes and lies allowed her to be named Forbes’ youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America in 2015. But then came her downfall…

The Dropout sees actress Amanda Seyfried don a black turtleneck to bring Elizabeth Holmes’ criminal story to life, but doing so wasn’t easy. Although the makeup department used thick eyeliner, clumpy lipstick, and a messy bun to make Amanda look like Elizabeth, adopting her deep voice and mannerisms was much more difficult. Seyfried confessed that “I would be talking like Elizabeth and (my throat would) get a little sore. And I’d be like… Am I going to be able to do this for weeks?”

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr. (Catch Me If You Can)

While the stories within Frank Abagnale Jr.’s autobiography have been questioned over the years, his existence is still infamous. The scammer claims that he spent the 1960s and 1970s living out his life as an imposter, where he pretended to be everything from a Pan-Am pilot to a hospital physician. While living these fraudulent lives, he reportedly cashed around $2 million in bad checks. Eventually, after chasing him for years, the FBI eventually tracked him down.

In 2002, famed movie maker Steven Spielberg made Abagnale’s book into the blockbuster movie Catch Me If You Can, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the pilot’s seat. To get himself prepared for the role, DiCaprio met with the real Frank on countless occasions. He knew that reading his book or watching Frank’s seminars wouldn’t be enough, as “It was much more important to me to see how he engaged people and how he was able to make people feel calm and at ease around him. And how you just felt immersed in whatever he was talking about.”

Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter (The Girl From Plainville)

In 2017, 17-year-old Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy died by suicide. The case piqued interest and shocked people around the world, as this case was unusual. Although Conrad took his own life, it was discovered that Michelle had encouraged her boyfriend to do so in text messages, phone calls, and emails. Because of this, it was found that Michelle had coerced him.

The Girl from Plainville brought this unique story to our screens, with Elle Fanning taking on the role of Michelle. And while dark eyebrow makeup and a haircut aesthetically transformed the actress into Michelle, Elle also did her own research. She watched interviews and videos of Michelle, and, strangely, she also binge-watched Glee – a show that Carter loved so much that it took over her life in many ways.

Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh (Waco)

After a difficult start to life, David Koresh moved to Waco, Texas, in 1981 and joined the Branch Davidians. After competing for dominance and stating that he was the final prophet, Koresh eventually became the leader of the religious sect. Together with his followers, he lived in tents and buses without any running water or air conditioning – but claims of abuse and polygamy eventually led to the compound being the subject of a 51-day FBI siege.

The TV show Waco goes into more detail about Koresh and his cult, but actor Taylor Kitsch struggled to bring this story to life. He confessed that “I almost pulled out a month and a half [before the filming began]. I think I was in too deep… I had no outlet. And I was probably just scared sh*tless and panicked” However, he eventually chose to don his mullet wig and glasses and take on the challenging role.

Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos (Monster)

Between 1989 and 1990, Aileen Wuornos was working as a street worker along the highways of Florida. And while she herself claimed that all of her crimes were committed as an act of self-defense, she was ultimately convicted of killing seven of her male clients. She was sent to death row for her crimes, and in 2002 she lost her life by lethal injection. Just one year later, Monster was released.

This movie saw Hollywood actress Charlize Theron play the female serial killer, and Charlize’s prep was intense. She put on 30 lbs to play Aileen, and her beautiful features were hidden. They worked on “making her already-damaged hair look unwashed and greasy; giving a ruined-look to her complexion, fitting prosthetic dentures to push out her mouth slightly, making it appear wider and to replicate Aileen’s crooked, stained and rotting teeth; finally contact lenses to change her eye color from blue to brown.”

Zach Villa as Richard Ramirez (American Horror Story: 1984)

Often called ‘The Night Stalker,’ Richard Ramirez was a prolific serial killer whose reign of terror only lasted a year. But despite this short timeframe, Ramirez still killed 14 people and tortured even more – spurred on by his devotion to reactive Satanism. He was captured in 1985 and spent the next 23 years of his life on death row before he passed away in 2013. And in 2019, his story was brought to life in the popular anthology series American Horror Story: 1984.

For this role, actor Zach Villa took on Richard Ramirez’s infamous story. And while he looked like the spitting image of the man, there came a time when he thought about backing down and retreating from the intense and uncomfortable role. In the end, though, he ultimately decided to utilize the source material for Richard and “devour as much as possible” and allow his character to “just kind of exist.”

Patricia Arquette as Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell (Escape at Dannemora)

In 2015, Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell was working at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York. That year, she also helped two prolific criminals and convicted murderers escape from prison – resulting in one of the biggest manhunts in American history. According to reports, the married prison employee became entangled in a strange love triangle between the two criminals and ultimately planned the escape with both of them.

This intriguing story played out on our screens in the crime drama Escape at Dannemora, where Patricia Arquette had to mentally and physically prepare herself for the main role. As well as watching interviews of Joyce and reading police transcripts, Patricia also put on weight for the role. She confessed that she wanted to look like a “matronly, dumpy, middle-aged lady” and that she wanted to look as though “you just don’t exist.”

Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)

Jim Bakker is still very active within the televangelist world, but nobody can forget his previous convictions of fraud. While married to his ex-wife Tammy Faye, Jim was forced to resign from his role within the PTL Satellite Network when it was discovered that he had misused funds. On one occasion, he offered his church secretary Jessica Hahn hush money when she accused him of sexual assault. His story was brought to life in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Andrew Garfield was tasked with bringing Jim to the big screen, but he struggled to come to terms with the questions and the ambiguity surrounding the televangelist’s personal life. In the end, he focused on using his appearance to his advantage: “The costume was very helpful. The makeup was helpful, the prosthetics were helpful too…It changed the way I looked, and changed the way I moved, and it was very inspiring in that way as well.”

Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding (I, Tonya)

Tonya Harding had it all. She was talented, she was physically fit, and she had fame. As a world-famous figure skater, Tonya became the first American woman and the second woman in history to land a triple Axel in competition successfully. However, her place in the sports world was turned upside down when it was revealed that she had conspired to attack her skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan. As a result, she was banned from the United States Figure Skating Association for life.

The 2017 film I, Tonya shows this infamous sporting moment from various different perspectives, with Margot Robbie stepping into the skates of the figure skater. And she didn’t take this role lightly. She spent months rigorously training as a figure skater, she worked with vocal and accent coaches, and she even met with Harding herself. As if that wasn’t enough, Margot also had to wear countless prosthetics on her cheeks, chin, nose, neck, eyes, and more.

Eric Bana as John Meehan (Dirty John)

Most people have dated someone they regret, but when wealthy divorcee Debra Newell started dating anesthetist John Meehan, her children knew something wasn’t right. Their hunch was correct, as John ultimately used fake romance, charm, manipulation, criminality, and secrets to ruin her life. He used her for her money, and the show Dirty John explores the whole story.

While he doesn’t exactly look like John Meehan, Eric Bana was cast as the scammer for the show. However, playing a con man was a new experience for the seasoned actor, and he stated that “I usually try to find an emotional through line into a character in order to connect and empathize with them… I realized at a certain point in my research this was a waste of time with John Meehan.”

John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Exotic (Joe Vs. Carole)

From 1998 until 2018, ‘The Tiger King’ Joe Exotic owned and operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, where he housed all kinds of big cats. His zoo garnered criticism from animal rights organizations, and in 2019 he was sentenced to 22 years behind bars for animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder for hire for the plot to kill his big cat rival, Carole Baskin.

While Tiger King focused on the drama between Joe Exotic and Carole, the limited series Joe vs. Carole aimed to add a human element to their story. For this show, John Cameron Mitchell became the man with the mullet – and he physically transformed into the man we all knew. However, he didn’t just have to wear a wig. He also had to don numerous fake tattoos and even silicone nipples with piercings attached to them.

Joey King as Gypsy Rose Blanchard (The Act)

The story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard is one that divides opinions. From a young age, Gypsy’s mother convinced her that she was extremely sick, and she spent years fabricating illness and abusing her through the use of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. As Gypsy grew up and started to explore her sexuality and independence, her mother tightened the reins even more. As a result, Gypsy asked her boyfriend to kill her mother.

Joey King had the tough job of playing Gypsy Rose Blanchard in The Act, and she was dedicated to being as authentic to the story as possible. So, she shaved her head and did as much research as she possibly could into Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Joey also confessed that “I would sometimes fall asleep listening to her interviews… so that I could get her voice really ingrained in my brain.”

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Although he’s since become a motivational speaker and author, Jordan Belfort spent 22 months behind bars for his crimes – a sentence that was significantly shorter than it was supposed to be, due to giving testimony against numerous partners and subordinates as part of his bargaining deal. Belfort was sentenced for crimes related to stock market manipulation and penny stock scams, and The Wolf of Wall Street tells his story.

While some would say that Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t look like Jordan Belfort, there’s no doubt about the fact that the actor put in a huge amount of preparation work for this role. In fact, he spent “many months” with Belfort himself to learn everything, from how he speaks to how he holds his body. He even asked Belfort to show him what it was like to be on extra-strong lemon Quaaludes and videotaped it so that he could mimic a similar reaction on-screen.

Julia Garner as Anna Delvey/Sorokin (Inventing Anna)

High society in New York is notoriously difficult to get into, but Anna Sorokin managed to find her way into the upper crust. The Russian-born wannabe socialite – who took on the name of Anna Delvey while in the States – managed to convince those with huge power, money, and presence that she was actually a German heiress with access to a giant fortune. As a result, she was gifted with donations, loans, and millions of dollars of funding for an exclusive club she hoped to open.

The intriguing story of Anna Delvey came to life through the Netflix show Inventing Anna, and actress Julia Garner had the tough job of bringing this woman to our screens. Julia had just three weeks to learn and study Anna’s “consistently inconsistent” accent, and she visited the scammer in Albion Correctional Facility to learn her mannerisms and personality. As if that wasn’t enough, Julia also wore fake teeth and wigs for the role.

Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan (The Assassination of Gianni Versace)

According to those who knew him, Andrew Cunanan was perfect. He had a genius-level IQ, he was attractive, he was charming, and he was even voted “least likely to be forgotten” at high school. However, he was also known to be a prolific liar, and this helped him forge relationships with wealthy older men. Ultimately, though, he became a spree killer and killed five people over the course of three months, including the famed fashion designer Gianna Versace.

When it came to casting Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianna Versace, Darren Criss seemed like the perfect option. Like Andrew, Darren is Filipino-American, and they look strikingly similar. And while Criss did as much research as possible to nail Andrew’s personality, he stated that “there’s not a whole lot of preparation you can do. The only thing you can really do is being available to all emotions at all times. At any point, [Cunanan is] ready to fire off in any direction.”

Johnny Depp as James “Whitey” Bulger (Black Mass)

When he was just a child, James “Whitey” Bulger was drawn into street life, and he was just 14 years old when he was arrested for the first time. As time wore on, he rose through the ranks, and from the 1970s until the 1990s, he became the boss of the largely Irish Mob in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1999 he made his way onto the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and in 2013 he was sentenced to two life sentences on charges of racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and his involvement in 11 murders.

You can learn more about Bulger’s life and times from the 2015 film Black Mass. In this movie, Johnny Depp rocks a bald cap, stains his teeth yellow, wore prosthetics, and wore blue contact lenses – but this wasn’t the only prep he needed to do for it. Depp tried to meet with Bulger in prison to learn more about the mobster, but his request was denied. Despite this, Depp still tried to bring out the mobster’s “human side.”

Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker (Bonnie and Clyde)

While families struggled during the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker – alongside her partner Clyde Barrow – was robbing banks, stores, and funeral homes for her own gain. The Barrow Gang were infamous during the 1930s, and it’s believed that they murdered at least nine cops and four civilians during their criminal activities. And, of course, most people know this story thanks to the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

For this movie, Faye Dunaway starred alongside Warren Beatty to bring this criminal couple to life, and it’s still considered one of her most famous movies to date. With her beret, her beauty, and her brazen love of gangster life, Faye was the perfect choice to play Bonnie. She loved the role, stating that “Never have I felt so close to a character as I felt to Bonnie. She was a yearning, edgy, ambitious southern girl who wanted to get out of wherever she was.”

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer (Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story)

Between 1978 and 1991, a young man by the name of Jeffrey Dahmer quietly became one of the most notorious serial killers of all time. Targeting adolescent boys and men, he garnered the nicknames of the Milwaukee Cannibal and the Milwaukee Monster due to his fascination with the human form. During his killing sprees, he ventured into the realms of cannibalism, dismemberment, and even necrophilia.

Countless television shows and movies have been made about Jeffrey Dahmer’s life, and in 2022 Netflix released the show Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. For this, Evan Peters donned Dahmer’s tell-tale glasses and used method acting to transform himself into the infamous killer: “He doesn’t move his arms when he walks, so I put weights on my arms to see what that felt like. I wore the character shoes with lifts in them, his jeans, his glasses, I had a cigarette in my hand at all times.”

Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom (Molly’s Game)

Once upon a time, Molly Bloom had the chance to become one of the world’s most successful skiers. However, she suffered an injury while qualifying for the Olympics, leaving her high and dry with no direction in life. But it didn’t take her long to get into the world of high-stakes poker games, organizing games for super-rich businesspeople, celebrities, and even the Russian mob. She was eventually arrested by the FBI for money laundering and illegal sports gambling operations.

Molly’s whirlwind experience was first revealed in her very own memoir, but in 2017 her memoir was taken to the big screen in the form of Molly’s Game. The infamous poker legend was impressed with Jessica Chastain’s performance on-screen, stating that “We spent a little time together. She didn’t have much time for prep or research. I was blown away by her performance by how right it was and how deep and understood I felt by her performance.”

Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran (The Irishman)

Gangsters have long existed in our world, and Frank Sheeran was a huge part of the organized crime world during the 1960s and 1970s. The labor union official reportedly had links to the Pittston crime family, becoming a huge figure involved in the infiltration of unions by gangs and organized crime. Not only was he convicted of labor racketeering, but before he died he also claims to have killed Jimmy Hoffa, the leader of Teamster.

In 2019, the 3-and-half-hour-long movie The Irishman dropped on Netflix, with acting legend Robert De Niro playing Frank Sheeran. And while De Niro looks a lot like the older Sheeran, the production team ran into problems when going back in time. Apparently, De Niro was adamant “There’s no way we’re going to wear markers on our face or helmets with little cameras in front of us.” So, instead of using special effects, the team spent two years developing a new type of camera rig that would help them out.

Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Like many other writers around the world, Lee Israel knew that the publishing world was cruel and unkind. So, when she realized that her career was dwindling around her, she opted to forge letters from some of the most famous deceased writers in history, such as Ernest Hemingway and Dorothy Parker. She also stole original letters and autographs from libraries and stores and was eventually sentenced to six months of house arrest for her crimes.

Lee confessed all of her crimes in her 2008 memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me? – a book that was then turned into a film with Melissa McCarthy at the helm. To prepare for her role, Melissa had great aides at her side: “I got very lucky with two of our producers, David Yarnell and Anne Carey. Anne knew Lee very well for 10 years, and David knew her for 40 years… Listening to their stories about Lee was incredibly helpful to me. And there was a wonderful character written into that script.”

Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn Eckardt (I, Tonya)

While Tonya Harding was considered to be the main conspirator against her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan, she didn’t do the dirty work by herself. Shawn Eckardt not only served as the figure skater’s self-appointed bodyguard, but she also claimed that Eckardt orchestrated the whole attack. In the end, Eckardt was convicted of racketeering, and he passed away in 2007.

To play Shawn in I, Tonya the casting team knew there was only one option; Paul Walter Hauser. He was a dead-ringer for the skater’s bodyguard, and the actor was the spitting image of the convicted criminal. Hauser also connected with the script, stating that he was intrigued by “the severity with which Eckardt believed everything… The more digging I did, the more you learn he had nothing going for him but his own made-up reality.”

Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani (House of Gucci)

Patrizia Reggiani came from humble beginnings, but a chance encounter saw her fall in love with Maurizio Gucci – the heir to the Gucci fashion empire. When Maurizio surprised Patrizia with divorce papers after a ten-year marriage and two children, she didn’t take the news well. So, one year after their divorce, Patrizia hired a hitman to kill her ex-husband. She was originally sentenced to 29 years in prison, but she was released in 2016 after 18 years inside.

The Gucci drama was brought to the big screen in the form of House of Gucci in 2021, and Lady Gaga undertook method acting to bring Patrizia to life. She confessed that “I lived as [Reggiani] for a year and a half… I spoke with an accent for nine months of that.” While filming, the production teams also shelled out $10,000 to make Gaga 55 bespoke wigs, which would take a few hours to fit every single day.

Zac Efron as Ted Bundy (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile)

To those who encountered Ted Bundy during the 1970s, the man was handsome, charismatic, and utterly charming. But that was all part of his ruse, as Ted Bundy was actually a prolific serial killer who confessed to 30 murders of young girls and women throughout his lifetime – although his true victim count is reportedly a lot higher. The Netflix movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile follows his story from the perspective of his girlfriends.

In this movie, the handsome and charismatic actor Zac Efron was cast. And while he fit the bill in terms of his looks, playing a serial killer was hard for the actor. He confessed that playing the serial killer took a real toll on his mental health, and he struggled to separate his real life and his work life. He stated that “You have to be careful for your own emotions, your own safety…I was able to compartmentalize myself and leave him on set, in the jail cell—most days.”

Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin (Joe vs. Carole)

As the owner of the Big Cat Rescue center in Tampa, Florida, Carole Baskin certainly lives an unusual life. As well as hanging out with big cats every day, Carole was also the subject of a hitman attempt orchestrated by her big cat rival Joe Exotic. But Carole isn’t completely innocent herself. Many suspect that she had something to do with the mysterious disappearance of her second husband, Don Lewis.

While Tiger King went into the specifics surrounding this disappearance and the rivalry, Joe vs. Carole was a little different. And Kate McKinnon wanted it to be that way. Kate wanted to bring to life Carole’s unexplored traumas and past emotional and physical abuse from the hands of men, and she confessed that “I couldn’t access the character on any level until I put on that wig.” She also wore the exact same shirt that Carole wore in Tiger King.

Colin Firth as Michael Peterson (The Staircase)

The story surrounding Michael Peterson is a famous one. This novelist hit headlines in the early ’00s when his second wife was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in their shared home. And while Michael claimed his innocence, the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death led to Michael being convicted after countless trials and re-trials.

Many documentaries and shows have investigated the suspicious staircase story, but Netflix’s The Staircase has won fans over the most. In this role, Colin Firth played Michael Peterson. And while he doesn’t exactly look like the man, he felt confident in the role. He took dialect lessons to get Michael’s accent spot-on and stated, “I very much wanted to err toward finding my own interpretation.”

Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar (Narcos)

Most people know who Pablo Escobar is. As one of the most infamous drug kingpins of all time, the Colombian criminal is credited for monopolizing the cocaine trade in to the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. But that wasn’t all. He was also the leader of the Medellín Cartel, and it’s believed that he was involved in over 5,000 murders during his time at the top.

The story of Pablo Escobar has been made even more famous due to the popular television series Narcos. Wagner Moura gained 40 pounds to take on this role, and the Portuguese-speaking actor even moved his whole family – including his children – to Colombia so that he could learn Spanish and immerse himself in Colombian life. He confessed that it was a “deep cultural experience.”

Steve Carell as John Du Pont (Foxcatcher)

There was once a time when John Du Pont was celebrated for his work as a talented wrestling aficionado. He was the heir to a huge fortune, he was a charitable philanthropist, and he put a huge amount of work into his sporting passion. But as he got older, those around him began to worry about his erratic behavior, and he was eventually sentenced to prison when he murdered freestyle wrestler Dave Schultz.

In 2014, Steve Carell stepped out of his comedy box and donned fake teeth and prosthetics to become John Du Pont. To prepare for himself in the role, he tried to understand Du Pont: “I never saw him as a villain, and I didn’t want to depict him in that way. Here was a guy who was the product of his upbringing, his enormous wealth. He was isolated to a great extent from many of the things that he longed for – and it was compounded with mental issues, of course.”

Jessica Biel as Candy Montgomery (Candy)

At one point in her life, Candy Montgomery was just a normal suburban housewife. She lived her life in Texas with her husband during the 1970s until rumors of an affair filled her ears. In fact, Candy was accused of murdering her neighbor in 1980 after she heard that she was having an affair with her husband. Candy was later found not guilty, but her story was an infamous one.

Candy goes into detail about the ins and outs of Candy’s life during this time, and Jessica Biel brought the character to life. To do this, Jessica donned a wig and glasses, and she tried to connect with her character on a deeper level. She noted that “I really understood Candy’s desire to be this idea of a perfect, super fun, cool mom: this person who hosts all the neighborhood parties, who creates an experience for people.”

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill (Goodfellas)

From 1955 until 1980, Ray Liotta was one of the biggest names in the organized crime world of New York City. Associated with the infamous Lucchese crime family, Ray was involved in narcotics, robberies, sports fixing, and murders. He was eventually arrested and served as an FBI informant, which led to the arrest of 50 other associates. Today, most people know his story from the legendary movie Goodfellas.

Ray Liotta knew that it was a privilege to star in a Martin Scorsese movie, which is why he wanted to be as prepared as possible to play Henry Hill. And when Liotta passed away in May 2022, Scorsese confessed that “Playing Henry Hill in Goodfellas was a tall order because the character had so many different facets, so many complicated layers, and Ray was in almost every scene of a long, tough shoot. He absolutely amazed me, and I’ll always be proud of the work we did together on that picture.”

Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas (American Gangster)

New York City has seen its fair share of gangsters, criminals, and drug traffickers – and one of the most infamous was Frank Lucas. Known for cutting out the middleman and buying directly from the source, Frank often used the coffins of servicemen to smuggle his narcotics into the country. This allowed him to become one of the biggest drug traffickers of the 1960s and ’70s. He was arrested in 1976 but released in 1991.

Ridley Scott bought the story of Frank to life in the 2007 movie American Gangster. And while many have claimed that some of the story was fictionalized for entertainment purposes, nobody could deny that Denzel Washington smashed his leading role. He had the swagger of Frank, and he was a spitting image of him. This was probably helped by the fact that Frank was on-set while they were filming, providing advice to Denzel first-hand.

Ryan Gosling as Robert Durst/David Marks (All Good Things)

From the outside, Robert Durst had it all. He was the eldest son of Seymour Durst, one of the most successful real estate moguls in New York City, and he had oodles of money to his name. But his name truly came into the spotlight when he became the suspect in the disappearance of his first wife, as well as the murder of his long-time friend and his neighbor. Durst was eventually convicted of murder in 2021 after his suspect appearance in the miniseries The Jinx.

All Good Things also dissected the story of this man. Although Ryan Gosling’s character had a different name, the story was based on Durst and his crimes – and it’s fair to say that his performance was celebrated. Not only did Gosling’s wig perfectly match up to a young Durst, but he also seemed to embody the charm and charisma that Durst was known to have.

Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser/Evelyn Knight (American Hustle)

Many English people have moved to the States to live the American Dream, but Evelyn Knight had different plans. During her time in America, she started having an affair with married businessman and con artist Mel Weinberg. Before too long, Evelyn started getting involved with Mel’s crimes. But then the criminal duo then became the subject of an intense sting operation.

American Hustle focuses on the crimes of Mel and Evelyn, and while Amy Adams took on the female scammer, she was called Sydney Prosser in the movie. Amy had her own way of preparing for her role, but she was surprised when people saw her differently: “It’s funny. I never thought of her as sexy, because for me she was putting it on, do you know what I mean? But then I was like, wait a second, does everyone put it on? It’s funny, because I thought of her as really damaged, like she was lying to everyone.”

Christian Bale as Michael Burry (The Big Short)

Although Michael Burry has never been convicted of any crimes, his actions have caused a huge amount of controversy. The investor, physician, and hedge fund manager made billions when he successfully bet his money on a “short.” Yes, Burry’s life changed forever when he became one of the first investors to predict the subprime mortgage crisis during the 2000s.

The Big Short follows the life of Michael and other investors as they profited from this tragic world event, and Christian Bale stepped into the expensive shoes of the man himself. While there’s no doubt about the fact that the attractive cast of Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt helped the popularity of this movie, fans also fell in love with humor-filled Bale’s portrayal of the investor.