13 Actresses Known for Roles Opposite to Who They Are in Real Life 

Lisa Waugh
1.2k votes 319 voters 22.6k views 13 items

List Rules Vote up the actresses who are most different than their characters.

It's an actresses job to act (duh). It can't be all too surprising some actresses don't necessarily identify with their characters. Many of the most popular cinematic villains and heroines are played by actresses who say they don’t have the time or the energy to be that bad or good in real life. It stands there are so many actresses who are different than their characters. 

Game of Thrones's Lena Headey is one of those actresses who are nothing like their characters. She’s a self-described “clumsy nerd” who has never wine-boarded anyone, nor slept with a relative. Gilmore Girls's Alexis Bledel is another of these actresses known for roles that are nothing like they are. She's even mentioned her belief that Rory Gilmore is too perfect. Maybe that's the reason she nearly showed some nip on Mad Men?

Of the many Hollywood actresses who are different than their characters, which do you think are the most dissimilar? Cast your votes below!

Jennifer Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 13 Actresses Known for Roles Opposite to Who They Are in Real Life
Photo: Graham Norton/Twentieth Century Fox

In real life: Jennifer Lawrence’s non-fake persona has gotten just as much attention as her roles. She’s not interested in pretending to be packaged and polished and she’s open about who she is and how she sees the world.

In film and TV roles: Lawrence has played a wide range of characters, though some of her most well-known roles, such as those in Winter's Bone and The Hunger Games, have the actress playing relatively reserved, quiet characters. Writer/director David O Russell has given her the opportunity to play characters closer to her fiery self in Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and Joy.

Notable quote: “As hard as it is and as tired as I am, I force myself to get dinner at least once a week with my girlfriends, or have a sleepover. Otherwise my life is just work.”

Big difference?

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Maisie Williams is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 13 Actresses Known for Roles Opposite to Who They Are in Real Life
Photo: BBC/HBO

In real life: Maisie Williams is both lighthearted and serious. She loves a good laugh but takes her career seriously. Like her Game of Thrones character Arya Stark, Williams doesn’t take BS, but she uses Twitter to take people down, not Needle. 

In film and TV roles: William showed audiences she’s more than Arya Stark with her work on Doctor Who and the film The Falling. Still, she holds Arya near and dear. As for her acting career, she’s all about letting it happen a certain way. “It needs to happen organically,” she explained to Deadline. “Everything that’s happened in my career so far has happened really organically... when the time is right, I know I’ll be able, as an actor, to create a new character and have the confidence to do that.”

Notable quote: “I’d never want to be trapped. I never like to stay in one place too long. I always flit around, I never settle anywhere. So being married would be being trapped.”

Big difference?

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Carrie Fisher is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 13 Actresses Known for Roles Opposite to Who They Are in Real Life
Photo: Carrie Fisher via Instagram/Disney

In real life: When she first started out, under the influence and under contract, fans believed Carrie Fisher to be a lot Princess Leia. We’ve come to learn she's an outspoken and fierce woman who is funny as hell, not exactly far afield from Princess Leia but with added grit and realness. Fisher’s books, including memoir Wishful Drinking, and body of work are proof.  

In film and TV roles: As Princess Leia, Fisher is a sci-fi icon. The actor has a complex relationship with her Star Wars character and was rightfully prickly about being asked to drop 40 pounds to play General Leia in The Force Awakens. After all of this time, diehard fans appreciate that Leia and Fisher have melded to some extent. 

Notable quote: “There is no point at which you can say, 'Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap.’”

Big difference?

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Lena Headey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 13 Actresses Known for Roles Opposite to Who They Are in Real Life
Photo: Pedro Pascal via Instagram/HBO

In real life: Lena Headey is sweet and fun-loving. A far cry from her plotting, scheming, brother-loving Cersei. Despite her laid back demeanor, she was having none of the criticism over using a body double for her walk of atonement in Season 5 of Game of Thrones. Headey has described herself as a “clumsy nerd.”  

In film and TV roles: Many times, Headey asked showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff about Cersei’s motivations and levels of plotting, so the actress isn’t drawing that evil from an inner well. She also played nasty very well in Dredd, a little seen, very fun shoot-em-up. 

Notable quote: “I hate being looked at. Can't stand it. I know, I know — I picked the wrong career. I should have been a doctor. If you play certain parts you have this nice face painted on you, and then you have to feel as if you have a responsibility to this idea of being beautiful. I hate that about our business.”

Big difference?

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