There are moments in Stephen Frears’ The Program that are downright spooky. It’s nothing like a horror film – The Program is just a run-of-the-mill biopic of Lance Armstrong, with the focus on the disgraced cyclist’s days as a serial Tour de France winner and secret doper. It’s having Ben Foster in the role of Armstrong, however, that gives the film its almost creepy edge.
Foster is so physically similar to Armstrong in the part (check him out in the trailer above), and has clearly studied the man’s behavior and mannerisms so closely, that in certain shots you could be convinced it’s Armstrong himself. It’s art imitating life, in a way that reminds you of just how rarely biopics get it exactly right, of how infrequently the actor truly goes beyond uncanny valley when it comes to looking like the real-life subject they’re portraying.
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There have been a few notable cases where the casting director got it just right, at least in terms of outward appearance. Those are the cases in which the actors came to the role with no makeup or enhancement required to look the part (that excepts the likes of, say, Ben Kingsley in Gandhi or Charlize Theron in Monster); effectively, appearance-wise, it was the part they were born to play.
Here, then, are ten examples of actors playing real-life figures that they are virtually already identical to.