Popular Actors Who Played The Opposite Gender (& Crushed It So Hard It Became Iconic)

There is no business like show business. The film industry is without a doubt the most unusual place to work. Adult actors are cast in teen roles, kids steal the spotlight from adults, and male actors are occasionally featured in female roles and likewise. As strange as that may sound, actors can alter their appearance, shave their hair, shed weight, put on weight, and even play an opposite gender to earn a role.

Gender is a fluid concept, and cross-dressing in the industry has a long history. Gender transformation, believe it or not, is a normal event for many artists. Many actors have worn facial hair, clothes, makeup, and wigs over the years, and many have delivered outstanding performances. We’ve compiled a list of celebrities who excelled at playing opposite gender roles to the point where we couldn’t tell who they actually were.

Cillian Murphy – Breakfast on Pluto (2005)

Cillian Murphy in Breakfast on Pluto - Popular Actors Who Played The Opposite Gender
Cillian Murphy in Breakfast on Pluto

Breakfast on Pluto is one of Cillian Murphy’s most recognizable and intricate works. The actor’s role transforms from an unattractive adolescent to a stunning blonde. And no one can deny that Cillian Murphy, an Irish actor, makes a really handsome woman. Braden’s search for love and her long-lost mother in little villages across London and Ireland in the 1970s is depicted in this comedy. Murphy worked his ass off to excel in the role. And, thankfully, his efforts were rewarded; the performance garnered him plenty of award nominations, including a coveted Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

Amanda Bynes -She’s the Man (2006)

'Amanda Bynes in She's the Man - Popular Actors Who Played The Opposite Gender
Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man

This comedy is a free adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and it depicts the difficulty of being two people at once. Viola and her twin brother Sebastian were played by Amanda. Viola Hastings is eager to join the school’s soccer team since she loves football, but there’s only one problem: it’s only for boys. With her heart set on joining the team, the smart-mouthed adolescent impersonates her brother Sebastian and is finally accepted. The film is a lot of fun to watch, but it also serves as a melancholy reminder of how Bynes’ career could have reached new heights if she hadn’t been entangled in legal difficulties.

Angelina Jolie – Salt (2010)

Angelina Jolie in Salt - Popular Actors Who Played The Opposite Gender
Angelina Jolie in Salt

Salt, a 2010 action thriller, was created and produced with the intention of featuring a male lead. More specifically, Tom Cruise was set to play Edwin Salt, a secret spy tasked with saving his family. The storyline changed when Angelina Jolie joined, and the main character became Evelyn Salt. Evelyn Salt, a CIA operative accused of working for Russian intelligence, was played by Jolie. The female officer must, according to the plot, convert into a guy. To create such a convincing makeover, Angelina Jolie had to spend many hours in the dressing room.

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club - Popular Actors Who Played The Opposite Gender
Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

Leto has no shortage of versatility, which appears to be a trademark among the few performers who have played The Joker on screen. Leto’s portrayal of transgender woman Rayon in 2013’s Dallas Buyer’s Club stunned audiences all over the world. The casting of Jared Leto as trans woman Rayon in 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club, however, caused some debate. The film, which is based on a true incident, follows a patient who is seeking therapy and features a cast of characters that are blends of genuine patients, activists, and doctors. Leto’s portrayal of Rayon was achingly great, earning him a slew of honors, including an Academy Award.

Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl (2015)

Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl - Popular Actors Who Played The Opposite Gender
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl

After Eddie Redmayne won an Academy Award for his role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, he indeed became a matter of discussion. Viewers were really excited to know what he’ll do next. He took up the challenge to play the lead role in Lili Elbe’s biopic. Lili Elbe is said to be the very first recipient of sex reassignment surgery. The drama is set in the 1920s and tells the story of Einar Wegener. He was an artist who posed as a woman for his wife. Einar eventually realizes he no longer wants to be a man and simply chooses the world’s first sex-change procedure. This film about the world’s first transgender turned out to be strong, intellectual, and lyrical, thanks to Eddie Redmayne’s wonderful performance. Redmayne received another Academy Award nomination for the same but he lost to Leonardo DiCaprio.

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