10 Actresses Who Can Play Contrasting Characters, and Be Brilliant in Both
Some actors seem to play the same role in every movie. This happens to Katherine Heigl, Zooey Deschanel, and Michelle Rodriguez. And it’s hard to say why. Perhaps they are so good at their specific type of characters that moviemakers don’t want to try them out in anything else. However, there are actresses who can transform into dozens of different characters — desperate villains and real cuties.
At Bright Side, we want to talk about famous women who can play contrasting characters with brilliance.
They say Cate Blanchett has had a career that many aspiring actors dream about. The Australian actress has already played dozens of different characters including men and women, protagonists and antagonists. And not just in movies. Cate also acts on stage.
Her best roles include Queen Elizabeth I in the historical movie Elizabeth and agent Irina Spalko in the adventure movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. By the way, Steven Spielberg says that Irina Spalko is his favorite villain in the Indiana Jones film series.
The villain portrayed by Imelda Staunton became one of the key antagonists in the Harry Potter film series. Magazines wrote that Staunton was clearly having a lot of fun as the movie’s smug and scheming villain, Professor Dolores Umbridge.
But the actress is no less convincing in the roles of positive characters. In Maleficent, she played the cute fairy who raised the princess. Both of these roles, according to critics, are included in her best performances.
Emma Thompson has always selected roles that show the varying complexities of women whether it’s the queen of England, a professor in Hogwarts, or an arrogant Baroness. All of these roles were well received by critics and viewers.
One of the positive characters portrayed by Thompson is Nanny McPhee in the movie with the same name. Her character goes through different changes in her look, and the actress’s performance was very convincing.
In the 2021 movie Cruella, Emma played the antagonist. The actress said that she’d dreamed of playing a villain for years. She was especially pleased with the dresses she was wearing in the movie. She said they were true works of art. When asked what the process of creating a villain was like, Thompson replied, “I think if my husband were in the room, he’d say, ’And no acting required, really.’”
Helena Bonham Carter
According to the media, Helena Bonham Carter has a distinctive style. This refers to her characters too. The actress often plays quirky women. Villain Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter film series is one of her best works.
This character became iconic partly thanks to Helena. Some features of Bellatrix’s looks were Helena’s ideas, like the messy hair and the rotten teeth. She also made her character more balanced than it was described in the script.
Jennifer Lawrence has a really prominent acting portfolio. Her awards include an Oscar and Golden Globe. She was named one of the most influential people by Forbes. The actress takes part in both indie movies and blockbusters. It’s not surprising that her characters are so different. Lawrence portrayed Mystique in a few films of the X-Men film series, and she was unrecognizable there thanks to makeup.
Jennifer looks completely different in the recent movie Don’t Look Up where she plays a grad student who discovers a comet that’s hurtling toward Earth. Both of these works are included on the list of her brightest roles.
According to the media, Tilda Swinton is one of the best modern Hollywood actresses. She can easily transform into a woman in love, a crazy dictator, or a fallen angel. Almost every one of her roles attracts a lot of attention.
In 2020, Pedro Almodóvar released the movie The Human Voice starring Tilda. She plays a woman speaking to her beloved on the phone, who wants to break up with her. Her acting was so fascinating that critics described the movie as “a concise, concentrated burst of demented passion.”
Tilda looks quite different in the post-apocalyptic thriller Snowpiercer where she plays a crazy deputy of a train caretaker. The actress tried to make her character as disgusting as possible. Some details of her character’s looks were even Tilda’s ideas.
Nicole Kidman has been one of the most sought-after actresses since the 1990s, and she has played in the movies of different genres: musicals, historical dramas, psychological thrillers, and superhero blockbusters. Her heroines were quite diverse too.
But the actress can also play a villain. In Paddington, she played taxidermist Millicent Clyde who hunts down the bear. By the way, Kidman was happy to take on the role as she is a childhood fan of Michael Bond’s books. Nicole took her part very seriously: she learned to throw knives and took a taxidermy class.
Lena Headey is mostly known for her role of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. But she’s had so many other great works. Her Sarah Connor was taken by critics and viewers really positively. She was called “a tough leader of people who will walk through anything to achieve her goal.”
As for the role of Cersei, it brought Lena money and fame, but also the anger of fans. Headey was so convincing in this role that the fans of the series directed their hatred toward her character to her personally. She mentioned that during an autograph session at Comic-Con, people were snatching their books from her hands to prevent her from signing them.
The part of Evey in V for Vendetta is one of the most prominent in Natalie Portman’s acting career. The actress shaved her head and worked on her accent and the audience loved the movie. It’s worth mentioning that in an interview Natalie said that she was open to returning for a sequel to the movie if the creators decided to make it.
But it’s the role of a negative character that brought her the coveted Oscar. The thriller Black Swan was released in 2010. By portraying manically obsessed Nina Sayers, Portman showed what an artist endures to achieve near perfection.
In 2003, the movie Monster was released. Charlize Theron had to drastically change her looks for this role. She gained 30 pounds, shaved off her eyebrows, and wore fake teeth. Her performance was highly praised by critics. In particular, it was mentioned that the actress could convey emotions with both her eyes and gestures.
Charlize was really upset every time she read that the media wrote about her visual transformation, not about her acting. She, however, proved that she was not just a pretty face but an actress by winning an Oscar for this role.
One of Charlize’s other best works is Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. Her Furiosa is a fearless warrior who risks her life to save others. Magazines wrote that her heroine “stole the show from its iconic lead character.”
Do you know of any other actors among men and women who are great at transformations? Tell us in the comments below.