What’s the biggest difference between the new biopics Lincoln and Hitchcock? The latter is what I call a “celebrity playing a celebrity film.” Sure, Abraham Lincoln was famous too, but Alfred Hitchcock lived at a time when his whole iconic appearance and personality could be captured by motion pictures and audio recordings. So, he’s more accurately impersonated -- or portrayed.
And in Hitchcock, the filmmaker is portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, a celebrity in his own right. Casting a famous person in such a role makes it more difficult to look past the actor and see the person he’s playing than if they’d found an unknown. But it’s not always as distracting as expected, and the following 25 performances prove that celebs playing celebs can be a great way to go with biographical films.