Now I've Seen Everything
Now I've Seen Everything

10 Actresses Who Were Hard to Recognize When They Impersonated Men on Stage

Being an actor carries a great responsibility: after all, you’re stepping into the shoes of a character. Many times that also means changing your gender for the role. That’s applicable when you’re an actress playing a man in a movie, or, as in Shakespeare’s play, when a woman had to pretend to be a man playing a female character. Today we wanted to talk about several girls who undertook a similar challenge.

Now I’ve Seen Everything wants to present actresses who took their role so seriously they transformed themselves to portray a male.

1. Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena

Thanks her performance in Boys Don’t Cry, Hilary Swank was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 2000. In both cases she won in the “Best Actress” category. The movie revolves around the life of Brandon Teena, a character played by Swank, who, being a transgender man, is forced to flee to a Nebraska town. The film was critically acclaimed and considered one of the best of the year.

2. Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola de Lesseps

Shakespeare in Love starred Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes in 1998. The film won seven Academy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. Paltrow played Viola de Lesseps, a character who disguises herself as Thomas Kent to impress Shakespeare, as women were forbidden to step on stage to perform plays. The actress won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for her excellent performance in this film.

3. Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt

Salt is a 2010 film starring Angelina Jolie. It tells the story of Evelyn Salt, who goes on the run, since, being a CIA agent, she is accused of being a spy for the KGB. To prove her innocence, she uses all her skills, including disguising herself as a colonel.

4. Kathy Burke as Perry

Kevin & Perry Go Large is a 2000 teen comedy in which Kathy Burke played one of the male leads, Perry. The film received both good and bad reviews from critics, but is known for its excellent soundtrack.

5. Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey’s Obsessed appeared in her twelfth album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. The singer stated that this was one of her favorite compositions, and added that it was inspired by the movie Mean Girls, of which she is a big fan. The music video features Mariah as a woman and a stalker who follows her everywhere. The talker is played by herself disguised as a man.

6. Blanca Portillo as friar Emilio Bocanegra

Blanca Portillo played the friar Emilio Bocanegra in the 2006 film Alatriste. The director, Agustín Díaz Yanes, was clear from the beginning that the role of the inquisitor should be played by a woman.

7. Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn

I’m Not There is a 2007 film about Bob Dylan. For this character, Cate Blanchett was nominated for an Oscar, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTA and Golden Globes, winning the “Best Supporting Actress” award at the latter.

8. Linda Hunt as Billy Kwan

The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 film in which Linda Hunt played Billy Kwan. For this role, she dyed her hair and plucked her eyebrows, which won her the Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress” in 1983.

9. Amanda Bynes as Sebastian Hastings

She’s the Man is a 2006 teen film based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. In it, Bynes played Viola Hastings, who impersonates her brother, Sebastian, to play soccer while “he” is in London.

10. Elle Fanning as Ray

3 Generations is a 2015 film that presents the story of three generations of women. Elle Fanning plays Ray, a teenager who decides to make a gender transition, changing the routine and expectations of the entire family.

What other actress do you remember who played a male role?

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