Immersing yourself in a character of the opposite gender, whether it’s a man playing a woman or a woman playing a man, seems like a great approach to beginning to experience the other side of our dualism. When actors portray gender-transitioning characters, they contribute to viewers’ awareness of gender as a whole and, in turn, to an understanding of our own humanity.
Crossover storylines can be found in a variety of genres, from Shakespearean tragedies to 90s comedies. Many actors and actresses have tried parts of the opposite gender on screen and succeeded in not only finishing the film, but also to get the most out of the characters.
Tilda Swinton – ‘Suspiria’
Tilda Swinton is a famous actress who is widely known for her role as the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobeor Mason in snowdrops. With his role as Dr Klemperer in sighsshe is one of many gifted performers who can skillfully play the other gender.
sighs is a supernatural horror film directed by Luca Guadagnino and inspired by Dario ArgentoThe 1977 film of the same name. It centers on an American woman (dakota johnson) who enrolls in a major dance academy run by witches in Berlin. Fans won’t realize Swinton portrayed Dr. Klemperer if they don’t watch the credits, so his portrayal of him is undoubtedly compelling.
Cillian Murphy – “Breakfast on Pluto”
Cillian Murphy is a well-known actor in the field due to his work on productions like Peaky Blinders, Creationand 28 days later. In Breakfast on Plutoa film centered on a transgender foundling, played by Murphy, who is looking for love and his long-lost mother in the fictional Irish town of Tyrellin in the 1970s.
Murphy reportedly spent weeks learning to dress and observing the body language of real-life drag queens for her role. In a year filled with excellent lead performances, Murphy’s highly endearing effort ranks among the best, earning him a nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes the following year. .
Jared Leto – ‘Dallas Buyers Club’
Due to his roles in films such as Morbius, Blade Runner 2049and Requiem for a dream, Jared Leto is a familiar face to moviegoers. Due to its superb portrayal of the opposite sex in Dallas Buyers Clubthe gifted actor won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.
Dallas Buyers Club follows Ron Woodroof, an AIDS patient (Matthew McConaughey), who was diagnosed in the mid-1980s, at a time when HIV/AIDS drugs were little studied. Leto portrayed Rayon, a fictional HIV-positive trans woman who helps Woodroof. Leto portrayed Rayon, vulnerable yet smart on the streets, with such a polished and meticulous portrayal after months of preparation for the role.
Eddie Redmayne – ‘The Danish Girl’
Many moviegoers know Eddie Redmayne of his roles as Newt in Harry Potterthe prequel, fantastic beasts and where to find them; Marius in Wretched; or Stephen Hawking in The theory of everythingthe latter won him the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
Redmayne stunned audiences in 2015 by playing Einar Wegener and Lili Elbeone of the first known gender reassignment surgery patients in film, The Danish Girl. With every tilt of the head and movement of the ankle, Redmayne skillfully conveys Einar’s study of a certain stylized female body language. Due to the beauty and conviction of the portrayal, Redmayne won another Oscar for her work.
Meryl Streep – “Angels in America”
Meryl Streep is a well-established actress in the film industry due to her involvement in numerous films, including Sophia’s Choice, Outside of Africaand The devil wears Prada, and his many accolades throughout his active years. She is also one of the many performers who can masterfully portray characters of a different gender in the TV miniseries, Angels in Americawhich is based on Tony Kushnerof the 1991 Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name.
Streep has played a number of roles on the show, including The Rabbi, which requires him to perform in a bear mask and an accent. Despite this, it posed no difficulty to him; instead, it helped her improve her game.
Hilary Swank – “Boys Don’t Cry”
Over the years, Hilary Swank has been involved in many initiatives such as ps i love you, Amelieand Million dollar baby, the latter of which won her the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. However, she had already received an Oscar for playing a transgender man named Brandon Teena in the 1999 biopic boys don’t cry for his performance.
Swank lived as a man for a month in order to prepare for the role after being cast due to the closeness of his behavior to that of the character’s real life counterpart. The honest complexity of Hilary Swank’s portrayal, who managed to retain her optimism despite the mind-numbing tragedy, was praised.
Dustin Hoffman – ‘Tootsie’
Dustin Hoffmanan Oscar-winning actor, built a long career on his flexibility, and the 1982 comedy Tootsie is a great example. The actor played Michael Dorsey, a meticulous actor with whom no one wants to collaborate. Also, instead of portraying a woman directly, Hoffman plays a guy impersonating a woman.
Tootsie was a smash hit and is considered a film of cultural and historical significance. Also, the disguised wig and glasses are a bit over the top, but in a weird way, Hoffman’s character’s portrayal of women resembles some real-life drag queens and really gives the audience a good time.
Robin Williams – ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’
With his natural acting talent and perfect comedic timing, Robin Williams was the guy with the eternal smile who made laugh, cry and turn everything he touched into gold. In 1993 Mrs. DoubtfireWilliams portrayed Daniel Hillard, a divorced man who disguised himself as a woman and pretended to be a nanny named Euphegenia Doubtfire to get a second chance to prove he can be a decent parent and husband.
As the film received an Oscar for Best Makeup, Williams’ transition into a woman was truly spectacular. Her persuasive portrayal of a sweet, chubby woman would fool audiences, much like the film’s other characters.
Cate Blanchett – “I’m Not Here”
I am not here is a cinematic love letter to Bob Dylan, with six performers playing various facets of Dylan’s personality. Perhaps the most intriguing of these depictions is Cate Blanchett‘s since she is the only actress to play Dylan, unlike the other actors.
Blanchett played the electric guitar era character of Dylan, known in the film as Jude Quinn, and offended many fans who anticipated and hoped for folk music from him. It’s hard to imagine anyone else topping her mesmerizing and eerie performance since she faithfully portrayed Dylan and gave the role such wonderful dimension.
Hugo Weaving – ‘Cloud Atlas’
The primary set of cloud atlas, the Wachowski sisters‘ ambitious attempt to capture transcendent grandeur on film, plays diverse roles as the story unfolds across six distinct time periods and locations. Hugo Weavingthe undisputed king of sci-fi and fantasy films, plays Nurse Noakes, a relentless and cruel character whose aim is to keep publisher Timothy Cavendish (Jim Broadbent) confined to a nursing facility.
In addition to Nurse Noakes, Weaving plays five other characters. Although it divided audiences and critics alike, it was hailed for its boldness and multi-layeredness, and it was certainly one of the unique roles Weaving had ever taken on.
NEXT: 10 Best Queer TV Characters Played By Queer Actors