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Tilda Swinton

From Swinton to Stoltz: The Least Recognizable Actors in Movie Roles

Kevin Polowy
Senior Editor
August 22, 2014

“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” could be a case study in how and how not to render your actors unrecognizable: First there’s Mickey Rourke as the lumbering Marv, looking decidedly un-Rourke-ish under loads of makeup and heavy prosethetics. Then, at one point in the film, Josh Brolin’s character Dwight is supposed to be given a new face via reconstructive surgery, all in an attempt to fool his enemies — though, in the end, the finished result still looks very much like, well, Josh Brolin.

Still, as makeup techniques get more advanced — and actors seem more willing to fuss with their physique to get a role — performers hiding in plain sight under the skin of their characters is becoming more common. Here are 20 of the most impressive we’ve seen, done practically only (no computer-generated looks here).