Actors You Might Not Recognise out of Character

July 12th, 2016

Sometimes an actor blends into a role so convincingly that you can’t place who it is. Some have made a career out of it. Here is a selection of the most impressive transformations in movies and television that might throw you for a loop.

Boris Karloff


In the 1930 film Frankenstein, horror icon Boris Karloff gave us the popular image of Frankenstein’s monster that still endures today. Without the prosthetics that gave him the frightening visage of the monster, you wouldn’t recognise the demure gentleman who was known as Boris Karloff. Karloff reprised the role of the monster, as well as playing the titular monster in The Mummy in 1932.

Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman transforms so much from role to role that you just can’t pin him down. Some of his more outlandish roles include a grotesquely glamorous Count Dracula in the 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the apparently stylish Jean-Baptise Emmanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element, and even punk icon Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy. It’s always a wild ride to see what he does next.

Doug Jones


The prosthetics worn by Doug Jones are beyond amazing. His fruitful partnership with director Guillermo Del Toro has resulted in some legendary and iconic non-human characters. In the modern classic Pan’s Labyrinth, Jones’ dual role as the titular faun and the frightening Pale Man are instantly memorable, but for the most part the man behind the effects remains a mystery.

David Prowse


One of the most iconic movie villains of all time didn’t have a face. In the original Star Wars trilogy, David Prowse provided the intimidating stature and commanding gestures of Darth Vader. The character’s voice was provided by the much better known James Earl Jones, but without Prowse’s on-screen presence, Vader wouldn’t have made half the impact that he did.



You’d be forgiven for not recognising this seminal drag star. Harris Glenn Milstead, better known as Divine, didn’t use expensive and time-consuming prosthetics to become the star of such counter-cultural classics as Pink Flamingos and Hairspray, but just relied on a whole lot of makeup and some very severe eyebrows to become his intentionally ugly alter ego.