Who doesn’t love a juicy biopic? It’s delicious getting a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of luminaries — but only when the casting works. The actor doesn’t even have to look exactly like the icon being portrayed, as long as the performance is genius, we’re all in (hello, Ali and Mommie Dearest). But more often than not, biopic casting goes way off the rails. Lindsay Lohan and her plumped-up lips as Elizabeth Taylor? Travesty! Teenybopper-voiced Jennifer Love Hewitt as the luminous Audrey Hepburn? Unfathomable. Colin Farrell mincing about in blonde highlights as Alexander the Great? We’re giggling just thinking about it.
As we head to the theaters to see Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and eagerly anticipate the biopics of Jimi Hendrix and Elton John, let’s take a look at some of the ones that didn’t hit the mark. Here’s hoping we don’t get angry letters from Leo fans, regarding his prosthetic-y J. Edgar misfire.
Don’t miss this very important poll: Who’s hotter, the real-life biopic subjects or the actors playing them?
[Photos: Getty Images, ABC, Weinstein Co., Imagine Entertainment, Sony, Lifetime]