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Actors Who Transformed Into Historical Figures Talk About The Process

Updated 30 Jun 2020 384.1k views14 items

Actors are used to pretending to be other people; that's their entire job description. When an actor is playing a real person, however, the transformation process can be a little tricky. Since they're not creating a character from scratch based on the ideas of writers and directors, there's a lot riding on their performance if the audience, subject, or subject's loved ones think it's wrong. While actors often have the ability to view photographs, read biographies, or ask questions of the subject or those who knew them, it can still be a big responsibility.

Many actors are helped in their transformation by adopting costumes and makeup that physically change them to resemble the real-life person they're portraying. Others base their performance on their own interpretation of the person, knowing that attempting to mimic a real person could easily fail, or come across as insincere. Some actors known for their dedication try to live like the person they're portraying, and use their experience to better connect to the character. Many also find inspiration through their own relationships and experiences. Whether actors succeed in their performances or turn off critics and audiences, portraying a real person can't be easy. For many actors, however, the process of transforming into a historical figure is a fulfilling, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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