10 brilliant, average and terrible biopic casting decisions

From The Imitation Game to the Kate and William movie, there have been many truly brilliant lookalikes— and some astoundingly poor ones...

We’ve had a look through cinematic history to see who struck lookalike gold, and who just looked pretty ridiculous…


Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch

Who? Alan Turing

Film: The Imitation Game (2014)

Lookalike success: 7/10. Spot-on side parting and excellent shirt and tie combo make up to some extent for only averagely similar facial features 

Actor: Eddie Redmayne

Who? Stephen Hawking

Film: The Theory of Everything (2014)

Lookalike success:  9/10. Er, which is which? Very similar face (and ear) shapes and perfect glasses. We can’t think of better casting for a young Hawking

Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch

Who? Julian Assange

Film: The Fifth Estate (2013)

Lookalike success: 6/10. Good platinum blonde hair and a similar mouth. But you wouldn’t mistake one for the other in a dark alleyway

Actor: Ben Kingsley 

Who? Mohandas Gandhi 

Film: Gandhi (1982)

Lookalike success: 10/10.  In real life the two looked nothing alike, but Kingsley’s transformation was so good, people still confuse the two images 32 years later

Actor: Helen Mirren

Who? The Queen

Film: Er, The Queen (2006)

Lookalike success: 9/10. Excellent hair and a spot-on demeanour. No wonder when Mirren won the Best Actress Oscar for the film, a Palace spokeswoman said, “I’m sure that the Queen will be pleased”

Actors: Nico Evers-Swindell and Camilla Luddington

Who? Prince William and Kate Middleton

Film: Kate and William: The Movie (2011)

Lookalike success: 3/10. Are these people made of wood? Where’s K-Mid’s excellent smile? And this William has way too much hair…

Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis

Who? Abraham Lincoln

Film: Lincoln (2012)

Lookalike success: Day-Lewis has spot-on chair posture and a Lincoln-like long face (try saying that quickly after a few shandies…)

Actor: Alexandra Shipp

Who? Aaliyah

Film: Aaliyah:The Princess Of R&B (2014)

Lookalike success: 8/10. The casting of this much-maligned biopic is the least of the many problems with the film (the creators didn’t get the rights to her music, and it’s just not a very good movie), and it’s not a bad effort. A slightly similar look wasn’t enough to stop the backlash though…

Actor: Meryl Streep 

Who? Margaret Thatcher

Film: The Iron Lady (2011)

Lookalike success: 10/10. Streep bears an uncanny resemblance to Thatcher in The Iron Lady, right from the perfectly curled hair right down to the stern, wide-eyed expression

Actor: Robert Pattinson

Who: Salvador Dali

Film: Little Ashes (2008)


Lookalike success: 6/10, purely for the moustache. We can’t really see any likeness beyond the moustache, but the moustache is mesmerising…