8 Talented and Beautiful Hollywood Stars Who Put Aside Their Egos For Unattractive Roles

With few exceptions, if you want to be a leading lady in Hollywood, you have to be among the top 1% in terms of looks. On the other hand, there are times when you will be called upon to portray that other 99%, including characters who are flat-out ugly. We aren’t referring to that silly cliché where the “unattractive” girl is revealed to be stunning when she takes off her glasses and styles her hair either; we mean chicks who look like they’re on crack. With that in mind, here are 8 A-listers who tried being ugly for a change.

Julia Roberts as Mary Reilly in “Mary Reilly”

Roberts has won an Oscar and three Golden Globes for a good reason — she’s very good at what she does. But it was her girl-next-door look that allowed her to really make a name of herself in movies like “Mystic Pizza” and, of course, “Pretty Woman.” So when she played the extremely homely titular character in 1996’s “Mary Reilly,” a gothic horror about a housemaid who falls in love with both Dr. Jekyll and his sinister alter ego Mr. Hyde, it proved that she wasn’t afraid to step out of her comfort zone. 

Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos in “Monster”

Charlize Theron is plenty easy on the eyes, but it isn’t her beauty that led to her winning an Oscar; rather, it was her complete dedication to her craft. In the case of “Monster,” the biographical crime drama about real-life female serial killer Aileen Wuornos, Theron didn’t merely throw some makeup on herself to look like a strung out, murdering prostitute. She actually gained 30lb (14kg) to ensure the portrayal was as authentic as possible.

Blake Lively as Stephanie Patrick in “Rhythm Section”

Let’s not sugarcoat things: this movie was craptastic. A complete box office bomb. In fact, it holds the record for the worst box office opening for any film playing on at least 3,000 screens. That said, Blake Lively did a mighty fine job of transforming herself from the gorgeous girl with cascading blonde hair to a bland brunette who becomes an assassin determined to get revenge on the dirtbags who staged a plane crash that took out her family. 

Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf in “The Hours”

Kidman is always the hottest woman on the screen in whatever movie she’s in, whether we’re talking about “Far and Away,” “Moulin Rouge,” or “Batman Forever” (known both for when the franchise started going off the rails and for the nipples on the Caped Cruiser’s Batsuit). So of course it took sporting a prosthetic nose for her to win her one and only Oscar in 2002’s “The Hours,” in which she played the eccentric famed turn-of-the-century British novelist Virginia Woolf. 

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in “Les Misérables”

Hathaway initially rose to fame in “The Princess Diaries” as a pretty but awkward girl who discovers she is the heir to the throne of a fictitious European country of Genovia, and was subsequently cast in a lot of gam roles, including Ella Enchanted and “The Devil Wears Prada.” But it was her role as Fantine, the shaved head, tuberculosis-suffering prostitute, in the musical “Les Misérables” that earned her that shiny gold statuette. 

Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo”

When you see Mara as the pale, androgynous Lisbeth Salander with the funky hairdos and black, gothic-inspired clothing in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” it’s hard to believe she played the chick in “The Social Network” that rejected Mark Zuckerberg and thereby “inspired” him to start Facebook (it’s actually a widely-debunked myth, if you care to know).

Jennifer Aniston as Claire Bennett in “Cake”

Aniston single-handedly inspired a hairstyle in the 1990s named the “Rachel” after her famous character in “Friends,” and through the 2000s and 2010s she appeared as the love interest in a slew of rom coms, but she also has a dramatic side, as demonstrated in the 2014 movie “Cake” where she plays former attorney Clair Bennett, who struggles with drug addiction as a result of the physical and emotional pain that resulted from surviving a car accident that took her son. The movie didn’t fare well at the box office, but she received plenty of accolades.

Sandra Bullock as Harper Lee in “Infamous”

The highly popular Bullock has had a durable career that spans more than three decades and from 2010 through 2014 was even the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. Although typically radiant and feminine, she decided to go a different route by accepting the role of Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” in the 2006 movie “Infamous.” Let’s put it this way: the cigarette-smoking Lee, who never married, had amazing talent as a writer, but was never going to be mistaken for a beauty pageant contestant.