Let’s not be flippant about this, pretty much everyone in Hollywood is a beautiful person. Yes, there are some exceptions but, for the most part, you have to be incredibly good looking to make it in the movies. That being said, there are a few actors who play down their looks or play nerdy in their best-known roles despite being amongst the most stunning human beings on Earth.
Here we look at this attractive assortment who are also adept at playing the more homely role when it suits.
1. America Ferrera
Let’s start off with an obvious choice for this list. America Ferrera is an American actress born to Honduran parents and is immensely talented, winning an Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award among others. Talented and good looking it is perhaps a little odd then that Ferrera has made her name as someone who plays more homely characters.
First coming to people’s attention in Real Women Have Curves she then became a household name playing the lead character on TV sitcom Ugly Betty, a character who, as the title suggests, was not endowed with the best looks. So, being as beautiful as she is, it is evident that it was her skill that won her the role rather than her looks.
2. Benedict Cumberbatch
With a strong and dedicated following to his name, Cumberbatch has immersed himself in nerd culture by playing the sociopathic version of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock whilst also appearing in Star Trek, Dr. Strang and doing voice work for The Hobbit films. Now an Oscar-nominated star with major roles behind him, Cumber batch is well and truly a mainstream icon.
His well-spoken, British accent, tousled hair and impeccable sense of style, as well as inimitable humor, means that he has given more than a few a flutter of the heart.
3. Natalie Portman
Part of the Marvel and Star Wars universes, Natalie is firmly embedded into the nerd culture canon of both of these franchises whilst also being recognized as one of the most accomplished actresses of this generation with an Oscar to her name for Black Swan as well as a Golden Globe for her part in Closer and a Saturn Award for Best Actress for her starring role in the political thriller V for Vendetta.
Quite the academic herself, Portman has a degree from Harvard and knows many different languages.
4. Karen Fukuhara
Starting out her career on the Disney Channel, she appeared on Movie Surfers where she would talk to stars about their up and coming films. Not content just talking to movie stars, Karen has set out on a path to become one and appeared in the blockbuster Suicide Squad as the Japanese warrior Katana who has a bewitched samurai sword that captures the soles of those defeated by it.
Despite having her face covered for the entirety of that movie, Karen is set to break into more Hollywood roles where we get to see her stunning features more often.
5. Andrew Garfield
Cast as the nerdy and nervous Peter Parker in The Amazing Spiderman films, Andrew was actually the leading light in what turned out to be lackluster films but he has made a career out of playing nerdy characters on TV back home in his native UK. Also appearing as a timid, pacifist in Hacksaw Ridge Garfield hardly adheres to the typical stereotype of the alpha male.
However, cheeky smile and British accent at his disposal, Garfield is landing bigger and better roles all the time and will soon be appearing in Breathe and Under the Silver Lake.
6. Anna Kendrick
Playing Bella’s best friend in Vampire romance series Twilight as well as a singing sensation in the Pitch Perfect films has gained Anna Kendrick a pretty hardcore cult following but the actress has been known to play on her quirky demeanor that has seen her self-depreciating humor and wry sarcasm endear her to many.
Her comedic chops became evident in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates whilst she further gained notice for her role in Into The Woods. Recently releasing her memoir, Kendrick has become a hit with many on-screen and off.
7. Chris Pratt
First gaining attention and acclaim for his role as the idiotic, chubby but fundamentally loveable Andy Dwyer in the hit TV comedy Parks and Rec. Going on to play bigger and bigger movie roles, Pratt had to get seriously pumped up for his role in Zero Dark Thirty which would later land him leading man roles in Jurassic World and Guardians of The Galaxy.
Now a bonafide Hollywood hunk, he is one of the hottest properties around but it all started a long way back.
8. Emma Stone
Another actress who has thrown herself into nerd culture via appearances in The Amazing Spiderman films as well as Zombieland. It was her roles in the critically acclaimed black comedy Birdman and La La Land that got people to recognize her strengths as an incredibly talented actress with a serious repertoire at her disposal.
Nominated for an Oscar, Stone is now a serious force in Hollywood and much sought after outside of the genres she originally made a name for herself in.
9. Daniel Radcliffe
The man who played the boy wizard in the Harry Potter franchise made his name playing a bespectacled teen with scruffy hair and hand me down clothes but he would later move on from the franchise by tackling indie film roles and harder hitting subject matter that would gain him serious acclaim outside of his millions of adoring fans.
Although best-known for playing a skinny orphan, he has cultivated a sense of style and dress more befitting a Hollywood superstar as well as bulking up for other roles.
10. Sophie McShera
Best known for playing the poor kitchen maid, Daisy Robinson in the British period drama Downton Abbey, Sophie had to look the part as a poor peasant who couldn’t afford life’s luxuries or even decent health care. The role didn’t give Sophie the opportunity to revel in her natural beauty but the beautiful starlet us certainly not as homely as her character.
Still working in television and on London’s West End, we’re sure to see more of Sophie in the future and probably in far more flattering roles.
11. Johnny Depp
No one is going to deny that Johnny Depp isn’t a good looking man but such is his commitment to roles that, given any performance he throws himself into, he can completely change his look and character so convincingly, the persona of Depp himself completely melts away. Take for example his star turn in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory or drug-addled, balding writer in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Whilst he has cultivated an ultimate image of cool off-screen, he has no problem shedding this for each of his roles.
12. Felicity Jones
Felicity Jones has appeared in many films such as Northanger Abbey, Brideshead Revisited, Chéri, The Tempest and Inferno but many will know her as the star of the upcoming Star Wars film, Rogue One. Her performance as Jane Hawking in The Theory of Everything garnered her many award nominations and fans of the space opera franchise are eagerly looking forward to seeing how she takes on the role.
At one point it was suggested she may become part of The Amazing Spiderman universe but with Star Wars undoubtedly going to take up a lot of her time in the near future, she is already part of a massive fandom.
13. Emma Watson
Alongside Daniel Radcliffe’s scruffy and shambolic Harry Potter character, Emma Watson played his headstrong and bookish friend Hermine Grainger. Like her character, Watson is also an incredibly clever and hard working individual with a degree from Brown University, directorial credit on a short film and a UN ambassador for women’s rights.
The actress will continue playing characters with a love for reading when she takes on the role of Belle in the upcoming Beauty and The Beast remake. Outside of acting, Watson is also a very successful model.
14. Melissa Rauch
Best-known for her role as Bernadette on the runaway comedy hit The Big Bang Theory, the character is fiery, driven and a little bossy but plays the headstrong microbiologist who works for a pharmaceutical company. A comedian and talented actress in real life, Melissa has done many photo shoots for magazines that showcase her natural good looks.
Appearing on other TV shows such as The Office, she also is a regular performer on stage.
15. Tina Fey
Writer, comedian and actress, Tina Fey can do it all but quite often gets typecast, and admittedly even by herself, as the nerdy, disgruntled type and will play anything to get the laughs she deserves. With an incredible sense of humor though she has become a TV regular in things like 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.