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Playing Biographical Roles

There have been several biography movies. Let us take a look at some of them and see how the actors have actually "lived" the character whose biography is being depicted.

Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi in "The Gandhi "

Ben Kinsley lived the role of Gandhi in the movie “The Gandhi” . He prepared for the role methodically and scientifically,  reading biographies, screening newsreel footage and poring over every photograph that he  could get his hands on. In his quest for authenticity, Mr. Kingsley not only shaved his head and lost 20 pounds on Gandhi's vegetarian diet, but he also studied yoga, began to meditate and learned to spin cotton thread on a wooden wheel, as Gandhi had done while holding conversations. This role made Ben Kingsley world famous.

Colin Firth as King George VI in "The King's Speech "

The King’s Speech tells the story of Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, who wasreluctantly thrust into the limelight and on to the throne after his brother Edward VIII abdicated to marry divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. When the outbreak of the Second World War required the new King, by then known as George VI, to become a voice of reassurance for the nation over the radio, his battle to speak fluently became all the more crucial. How the king overcomes the problem with his speech therapist is the story. Colin Firth live the character of King Georve VI and won the Academy Award.

 

 

3. Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in "Invictus  "

In the early 1990’s Nelson Mandela released his autobiography “‘A Long Walk to Freedom.’ During a press conference, he was asked, ‘If your book is made into amovie, who’d you like to portray you?’ He said, ‘Morgan Freeman.’ Morgan Freeman immediately started getting ready to play the role of Nelson Mandela. He met Mr Mandela quite a few times and started to observe him in close quarters. He ate with him and sat with him having long conversations. This helped Morgan observe very closely the behavior of Mr Nelson Mandela which he in turn showed it up in “Invictus”

 

4. Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland  "

Forest Whitaker played Idi Amin In this movie. He had to do a lot of hard work for this movie. He started by learning to play the accordion, which was one of Amin’s favorite pastimes, and moved to Uganda to breathe in the atmosphere and politics of the country the movie is set within. There, he met with as many of Amin’s relatives, former generals, friends and victims in an attempt to build up a wide and unbiased portrait of the man himself. Then Whitaker took up learning Swahili language and spent months mastering Amin’s East African accent. He was also reported to have read dozens and dozens on books on Amin. Forest Whitaker won the Academy Award for his excellent performance.

 

5. Meryl Streep as Margarat Thatcher in "The Iron Lady "

 Meryl Streep researched hard before she played the role of Margarat Thatcher in the movie “The Iron Lady”. She had to  play the young Margarat and the older one, which she did very convincingly. Being an American, she had to switch to the British Accent which required a lot of homework  to be done. Her hairstyle, speech, body language all was done to the perfection.

 

6. Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in"Lincoln "

Day-Lewis spent a year in preparation for the role, a time he had requested from the movie’s director, Steven Spielberg.Day-Lewis read over 100 books on Lincoln, and long worked with the makeup artist to achieve a physical likeness to Lincoln. Day-Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Lincoln.

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