Films Based on Real Actors’ Lives: ‘The King of Staten Island,’ More!

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes! Actors are afforded the opportunity to play an assortment of characters — and sometimes they’re tasked with playing one of their own.

Pete Davidson, for one, starred in a semi-autobiographical movie based on his own life in 2020, titled The King of Staten Island. He cowrote the film with Dave Sirus and director Judd Apatow.

The Saturday Night Live star has been vocal about his struggles in the past, including his mental health and drug addiction battles. Speaking to CBS Sunday Morning in June 2020, Davidson opened up about how making the comedy-drama was a therapeutic process.

“I really wanted this to be, like, cleansing for me,” the comedian explained. “I feel like I got to speak about it in the biggest way possible, and I could get my story out there. So I feel like, now I could, like, let it go.”

In September 2019, Renée Zellweger appeared as industry icon Judy Garland in the Rupert Goold biopic, Judy. The film saw the Chicago actress channeling the Wizard of Oz star in 1968, the year before Garland died from a barbiturate overdose.

“It’s hard to fully appreciate the context of the circumstances that she was grappling with at the time,” Zellweger told USA Today of Garland in 2019. “And when you see what she was able to achieve in spite of the challenges she faced, then you can really see how extraordinary she was. It sort of sets her apart, in my opinion.”

Meanwhile, Jim Carrey put his character acting skills to work when he played Andy Kaufman in 1999’s Man on the Moon. In the years since the film’s release, the Truman Show actor shared how invested he was in the role.

“It was psychotic at times,” Carrey explained at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, per The Hollywood Reporter. “Jim Carrey didn’t exist at that time. Andy actually affected The Grinch as well.”

The Kidding actor claimed that Kaufman took over during the filming of the biopic, adding, “The true author of the project is Andy and his genius, the fact that he committed so completely to what he did, really made that possible and made it essential for me to lose myself. I don’t feel like I made the film at all. I feel like Andy made the film.”

Scroll down to see actors playing other actors over the years.

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