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Actors Who Were Unrecognizable From One Movie To The Next

It isn't all that surprising when famous actors look very different in unrelated films: After all, the best performers are in high demand precisely because they are able to transform themselves to play an array of distinctive characters. However, there are rare cases where an actor undergoes a physical transformation between films that are part of the same franchise, which can be more of a shock for the audience. In some instances, these changes can be so drastic that viewers might not even realize it's the same actor.

These types of dramatic alterations can happen for a number of reasons, whether the actor is playing the same character or someone else entirely. For example, an actor might have gained weight for the role because the script called for it, or they might have had something happen in their personal life that led to their appearance changing naturally. Whatever the reason may be, the following actors were all unrecognizable from one movie to the next.

Pat Roach

The late British wrestler-turned-actor Pat Roach portrayed four different characters in the "Indiana Jones" films. Roach's imposing size, martial arts skills, and experience in professional wrestling made him the perfect figure to play henchmen and villains. In "Raiders of the Lost Ark," he played the huge Sherpa who brawls with Indy in Nepal, and, more famously, the Luftwaffe mechanic who fights Indy as the hero attempts to escape from the Egyptian dig site, meeting a memorable end via some airplane propeller blades.

In "The Temple of Doom," Roach played the chief Thuggee guard, overseeing the operation under Pankot Palace. He once again fights Indy, this time meeting his death via a rock crusher. His final appearance in the franchise came in "The Last Crusade," with Roach taking on the role of a Gestapo agent, this time in a suit with neatly trimmed facial hair. He was again supposed to fight Jones on camera, but these scenes were ultimately cut from the film.

Lawrence Makoare

There are some things that you only notice in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" films when you watch them more than once. The nature of the trilogy — with so many figures in heavy make-up and a huge supporting cast of characters — means it is easy for people to play multiple roles. Even Jackson himself appears in several cameos throughout the trilogy. Among the many actors who play more than one role in the critically acclaimed films is Lawrence Makoare, who stands out among this group because each of his three characters are significant to the overall story.

In "The Fellowship of the Ring," the Māori actor portrays the Uruk-hai Lurtz. This imposing character, who is not present in the books, leads Saruman's scouts who are pursuing the hobbits and is responsible for killing Sean Bean's Boromir. In "The Return of the King," Makoare plays two distinctive characters: The orc commander Gothmog and the Witch-king of Angmar. That means Makoare is responsible for three of the trilogy's biggest secondary villains, each with a very different appearance. The only way to know that these three are played by the same actor is to check the credits.

Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell has been a longtime collaborator of Sam Raimi throughout the director's career. As well as starring in the "Evil Dead" films as Ash Williams, Campbell has also appeared in "Crimewave" and "Darkman," Raimi's superhero cult classic. That is likely why he was given the opportunity to make cameo appearances in Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy.

Campbell first pops up as the over-the-top ring announcer at the wrestling competition in 2002's "Spider-Man." Wearing sunglasses, he has spiked-up hair and a golden jacket. In the 2004 sequel, Campbell portrays the snooty usher who refuses to allow Peter to enter the Ivar Theatre to see Mary Jane's play. For this part, the actor looks relatively normal and more recognizable.

In 2007's "Spider-Man 3," Campbell plays the maître d' at the fancy restaurant where Peter plans to propose to Mary Jane. This time around, he sports a thin mustache and a slick side parting. Across his three performances, Campbell goes from bizarre to comical and has a distinctive appearance in each case.

Warwick Davis

Warwick Davis has appeared in some of the biggest franchises in Hollywood history. The British actor has played numerous characters in the "Star Wars" films, and he also portrayed two important figures in the "Harry Potter" series: Gringotts employee Griphook and Professor Filius Flitwick. In the first "Harry Potter" movie, Davis appeared as another, unnamed Gringotts employee while also providing the voice of Griphook (who was played physically by Verne Troyer). However, he played the role completely in the "Deathly Hallows" movies, famously double crossing Harry and co after helping them break into the Wizarding bank.

Davis is perhaps best known for playing Professor Flitwick, appearing as the Hogwarts teacher in all but one of the eight "Harry Potter" films (he was absent from "The Prisoner of Azkaban," though he did pop up as an unnamed wizard in that installment). Flitwick's appearance changed rather drastically over the years: He was made up to look like a very elderly man with long white hair and a shaggy beard to begin with, but in later appearances, he had neat, dark hair and a mustache. This younger-looking version of Flitwick is the one most people tend to recall.

Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver famously played Dr. Grace Augustine in James Cameron's "Avatar." One of the original drivers in the avatar program, she is a sympathetic supporter of the Na'vi. An expert xenobotanist and xenolinguist, Grace knew every plant on Pandora and helped foster relations between the Omatikaya clan and humanity. At the end of "Avatar," Grace is killed by Colonel Quaritch while helping Jake Sully and Norm Spellman escape from Hell's Gate. What you may not know is that Weaver returned for "Avatar: The Way of Water" as a different character – Kiri, Grace's 14-year-old Na'vi daughter.

How did this happen, exactly? "Not long after Grace Augustine's death, her dormant avatar was discovered to be pregnant, and Jake and Neytiri adopted the child when she was born," the Avatar website explains. Obviously, there's a major difference in how the two Weaver characters look, with Grace an older human woman and Kiri being a blue-skinned teenager. Without looking at the credits, most people would probably assume someone else was portraying Kiri.

Jesse Plemons

An antagonist introduced in the later seasons of "Breaking Bad," Todd Alquist is played by Jesse Plemons. He is a 24-year-old pest exterminator and burglar who proves himself useful to Walter White, Mike Ehrmantraut, and Jesse Pinkman. Todd ends up working directly with the meth operation as a result of his criminal past and connections to his uncle's white supremacist gang.

He's pretty fresh-faced in the series, but when he appears in the sequel movie "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie," Todd looks very different. This was down to Plemons, who had gained some weight and looked noticeably older. The film is set during and immediately after the original series, so Todd's noticeably different appearance was rather jarring for viewers.

Some people have tried to explain the change in Todd — as well as Jesse's older and more ragged appearance — by pointing to an interesting fan theory: As "El Camino" is told directly from Jesse's perspective, it may be that the altered looks of the characters are down to how Jesse perceives them rather than how they actually appear. Plemons has since lost 50 pounds as a result of being more active with his young kids and daily intermittent fasting.

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson is best known as the star of several Hollywood blockbusters nowadays, but back when he appeared in 2001's "The Mummy Returns" (a sequel to the 1999 Brendan Fraser-led hit "The Mummy"), he was still primarily a WWE wrestler. "The Mummy Returns" features Johnson as a secondary antagonist known as the Scorpion King. The main thing that people tend to remember about the character is how terrible he looks in his resurrected scorpion form: "The Mummy Returns" is an example of a good film ruined by bad CGI.

When Johnson returned to the franchise for the 2002 prequel spin-off "The Scorpion King," he was in his human form and didn't need any fancy special effects. This makes him look completely different to his earlier appearance as he is actually recognizable. The VFX artists who worked on the film later confirmed that they couldn't create a realistic model of Johnson as they had limited time with him due to his busy wrestling schedule.

Matthew Lewis

Like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, Matthew Lewis found fame through the "Harry Potter" film franchise. He made his debut in the 2001 movie "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (released as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the United States) as Neville Longbottom, a character who would become increasingly important as the films went on. As many fans of the franchise have noticed, Neville looks very different by the time he steps up to help save the day in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2."

In his first appearance, Lewis was styled to match the Neville from J.K. Rowling's novels. This meant wearing fake teeth, having prosthetics fitted to his head to force his ears to stick out, and putting on a "fat suit," he told Victoria Quarter. However, as time progressed and Lewis aged alongside his character, Neville started to look less like your stereotypical geek and more like the rest of his classmates. By the time the two-part finale came out, Lewis was unrecognizable and actually considered something of a heartthrob, a far cry from his initial look.

Joe Don Baker

Character actor Joe Don Baker has had a prolific career in Hollywood. He's popped up in everything from "Cool Hand Luke" and "Congo" to "Mars Attacks!" over the years, though he's best known for his work in the James Bond franchise. In 1987's "The Living Daylights," Baker plays American arms dealer Brad Whitaker, one of the main antagonists. He works with Soviet forces to smuggle opium from Afghanistan in the hopes of funding his future arms deals. A disgraced army recruit, he is obsessed with the military and worships leaders such as Napoleon and Hitler.

Baker looked very different when he next appeared in the James Bond franchise in the role of CIA Agent Jack Wade. An ally to Bond, Wade plays a supporting role in 1995's "GoldenEye" and also pops up briefly in 1997's "Tomorrow Never Dies," both of which feature Pierce Brosnan as 007. This time around, Baker lacks the military uniform and sternness of his former character and appears far more relaxed and relatable, wearing colorful shirts and hats. The characters are so different that most viewers likely didn't realize it was the same actor.

Linda Hamilton

While the "Terminator" franchise is largely focused on Skynet's quest to kill John Connor, the main protagonist is actually his mother, Sarah Connor. Several actors have taken on the role, including "Game of Thrones" stars Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke, but the most famous portrayal is undoubtedly that of Linda Hamilton. She played Sarah in the original 1984 film as well as its hit sequel, 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," setting the standard for the other performers who would later take the reins. Hamilton then reprised the role years later in the 2019 movie "Terminator: Dark Fate." Of course, she looks a lot older in that film, but there's also a stark difference between her appearance in the first two installments.

James Cameron's sci-fi franchise has never been particularly forthright with the ages of its characters. In fact, Sarah Connor's age in "The Terminator" wasn't confirmed onscreen, though the script had her at 19. In the film, she is a college student and is working as a waitress, suggesting that she is relatively young. That all changes in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," where Hamilton looks very different: She plays a slightly older and far more battle-hardened version of the character. Institutionalized for her actions against various computer systems and AI groups, she has strong muscles, a rougher exterior, and a steely edge that were not present in the first entry.

Hayden Christensen

Jake Lloyd played the young Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," but a new actor was needed for the next film given that "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones" takes place a decade later, with Anakin now 19. Hayden Christensen landed the job and looked every bit the part. When it came to "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith," just three years had passed within the fictional universe, meaning that Christensen could remain in the post — but why does he look so different between the second and third installment of the prequel trilogy?

In turns out that director George Lucas asked the actor to change his appearance for "Episode III." Speaking to Movieweb, Christensen said: "George asked me to put on some size, which I have since lost, but he wanted me to bulk up and physically show the maturity that had taken place between the two films. And I did that for about a three month period before we started filming." What's interesting is that the actor was made to do the same thing many years later: Christensen had to once again put on a lot of weight for "Obi-Wan Kenobi," the Disney+ series that saw him reprise the role.

Michelle Yeoh

It shouldn't come as a shock that Michelle Yeoh was able to play two very different characters within the same movie franchise — after all, her Oscar-winning performance in "Everything Everywhere All at Once" showcased just how great an actor she is. Yeoh also has a strong pedigree in action flicks, making her an ideal fit for superhero movies. That may be why she is one of the few actors who have played more than one role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Yeoh's first part in the MCU came in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," in which she played Ravager captain Aleta Ogord, a fierce warrior and the wife of Sylvester Stallone's Stakar Ogord. She would later play Ying Nan in "Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings." This was a far more significant part, with Ying acting as the guardian of Ta Lo. This saw Yeoh transition from her somewhat crazed look in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" to a more serene and wise protector.

Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan is another actor who has played more than one role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She first shows up in the MCU as Minn-Erva in "Captain Marvel." This character is a blue-skinned Kree and member of Starforce who puts her considerable marksmanship skills to good use as the team's sniper. She is ultimately killed when her ship is shot down during a battle with Captain Marvel and Maria Rambeau.

The actor took on a more pivotal part in "Eternals," where she plays Sersi, one of the titular beings. An empathetic member of the immortal alien race that protects Earth, she ends up becoming the leader of the group by the end of the film, helping to avert the Emergence of Tiamut the Communicator and saving the planet in the process. As well as lacking the blue skin of her other character, Sersi has a more god-like and composed demeanor, making her very different to Minn-Erva.

Chloë Grace Moretz

Chloë Grace Moretz began her acting career as a child, debuting in the CBS legal drama "The Guardian" in 2004 before landing roles in the TV movie "Family Plan" and the underrated Ryan Reynolds remake "The Amityville Horror." However, it wasn't until she starred in the 2010 black comedy film "Kick-Ass" that she came to mainstream attention. In the Matthew Vaughn directed movie, Moretz plays the vigilante anti-hero Hit-Girl, who works alongside Big Daddy and Kick-Ass in the fight against Red Mist and crime boss Frank D'Amico.

In "Kick-Ass," Hit-Girl is a prepubescent fighter who looks incredibly young for her line of work, which makes her violent approach and expert martial arts skills all the funnier. Moretz returned for "Kick-Ass 2," once again playing Hit-Girl. However, despite the fact that it was released just three years after the first film, Moretz is almost unrecognizable in the role. This wasn't an artistic choice, but rather the result of aging: Moretz was 12 when she made the first film and was 15 when she filmed the follow-up.

Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff may not be a name that is familiar to modern moviegoers, but from the 1920s up until the 1960s he was one of the most prolific actors in the film industry. The English horror movie icon racked up over 200 credits, becoming known for his portrayal of monsters and villains. Karloff was one of the many faces of Frankenstein's Monster and did much to define the Mary Shelley character on the silver screen.

Karloff portrayed the monster in three films, starting with the 1931 classic "Frankenstein." He subsequently appeared in both "Bride of Frankenstein" in 1935 and then "Son of Frankenstein" in 1939. The most famous image of the monster is from the original film, with Karloff achieving the iconic sunken cheek look by removing his dental plate. The decision was made to have the monster speak a few simple words in the second film (something Karloff disagreed with), which meant putting the plate back. This is why he looks different.