Onscreen Chameleons

Have you seen the trailer for Gary Oldman’s new movie Darkest Hour? I did a double take when I saw it because he doesn’t look like himself at all! My first thought was ”Oscar bait!” Then my thoughts turned to other onscreen chameleons. The term itself isn’t really established, but to me it means actors who completely disappear into their characters and whose body of work is radically diverse. Johnny Depp is an excellent example. Every character he portrays is exceptional from Jack Sparrow to Willie Wonka to the Mad Hatter. l’ve put together a little list of actors and the roles I think make them standouts:

Gary Oldman

Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK (1991)
Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Zorg in The Fifth Element (1997)
Sirius Black in the Harry Potter Series

 Meryl Streep

Sophie in Sophie’s Choice (1982)
Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Julia Child in Julie & Julia (2009)
Margaret Thacher in The Iron Lady (2011)


Ben Kingsley

Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi (1982)
Meyer Lansky in Bugsy (1991)
Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List (1993)
Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3 (2013)


Cate Blanchett

Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth (1998)
Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator (2005)
Bob Dylan in I’m Not There (2007)


Here are a few more I think should be considered

Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, Trainwreck, Doctor Strange)
Christian Bale (The Machinist, Batman Begins, The Fighter)
Philip Seymore Hoffman (Talented Mr Ripley, Capote, Almost Famous)


So who else do you think belongs on this list?

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Shannon Eddings

Shannon is movie-obsessed and her infatuation with the silver screen can be traced back to a single event. After helping her move into her first apartment, her mom left her with this parting remark: “Don’t spend all your money at the movies!” From that point on, thanks to her library card, Shannon continues to feed her obsession! She is the library's Database Administrator.