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Not Just a Pretty Face: 6 Actors Who’ve Gone Ugly for Quality Roles

As if it wasn’t hard enough to make it in Hollywood, having a pretty face isn’t the ticket to a long acting career.  Like the obscenely good looking Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Johnny Depp and Halle Berry know full well, they owe their longevity to that one role that reminded us they are not on screen solely for their beautiful faces.  These actors took a risk and downgraded their looks for a quality role.  Two of them walked away with an Academy Award for Best Actress.    

Luckily for those actors, they started their careers as grown-ups, but teen stars often have a hard time transitioning into adult roles.   Rarely does a teen heartthrob continue their careers into adulthood with the exception of Patrick Demsey and Neil Patrick Harris.

It’s especially tough for a Disney female star to transition into adulthood both onscreen and off as evidenced through tabloid favorites Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Christina Aguilera.  The male Disney alums like Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling made out fine with respectable careers.  One former female mouseketeer who avoided the Disney curse is Kerri Russell (The Americans) with her wise acting choices.

Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens are the latest starlets to rebel against everything Disney with a risqué turn as college girls gone criminal in SPRING BREAKERS.  But they should take note on how to transition into a meaningful acting career from these six actors who went ugly.


1.    Brad Pitt in Kalifornia (1993)
The Thelma & Louise hunk didn’t’ want just want to just be a pin up boy so he cracked a tooth for his turn as a trailer trash, psychopathic killer.

2.    Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich (1999)
The hot blonde broke out in Jim Carrey’s The Mask, but she traded in her blonde locks for a frizzy brunette wig as a plain Jane in Being John Malkovich.  More juicier roles followed with A-list directors with Gangs of New York, Vanilla Sky and Any Given Sunday.

3.    Jim Carrey in Man on the Moon (1994)
The funny man tried his hand at drama with Truman Show, but it wasn’t until his turn as Andy Kaufman, in which he transformed himself into the awkwardly looking personality,  that proved he was more than just funny face.  He received critical acclaim later for his heart felt role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).


4.    Charlize Theron in Monster (2003)
No one could ever imagine Charlize looking unattractive, but she proved everyone wrong in her transformative role as real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos.  She went on to win the Best Actress award at the Oscars. 

5.    Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball (2001)
This Hollywood beauty traded in her good looks for a dramatic role in Monster’s Ball which won her a Best Actress award at the Academy Awards. She was no stranger to transforming herself into a hot mess as a drug addicted mother in Losing Isaiah in 1995.

6.    Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands
The former 21 Jump Street star hated the limelight as a teen heartthrob. His turn as Frankenstein-like creation in Edward Scissorhands propelled his career into a new direction and started one of many collaborations with director Tim Burton.

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