Classical Music Lookalikes for Future Biopic Consideration


By Iman Sadri

In Oliver Stone’s biopic The Doors one could appreciate many aspects of the film. One such element is how much Val Kilmer resembles The Doors’ lead singer, Jim Morrison. In Spike Lee’s film Malcom X the resemblance of Denzel Washington to the titular character is uncanny. Perhaps the degree to which the leading actor or actress of the biopic resembles the character he or she is playing onscreen is what gives the biopic instant credibility.

The genres of biopics can range with multiple biographical categories. Ranging from sports figures to musicians to political leaders, etc. In the category of historical dramas, Gandhi is a film that was portrayed by Ben Kingsley with great physical affinity. Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the Indian leader.

Casting doppelgängers to play the biopic lead is in many instances easier said than done. In the context of classical music biopics, for example, there have several misfires with biopics related to Mozart and Beethoven. In Amadeus the titular character was played by Tom Hulce. Despite the film winning the Academy Award for Best Picture Hulce gaining an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, he did not resemble Mozart much.

A suggestion for a future Mozart biopic is James McAvoy. The 37 year-old Scottish actor has a modest resemblance to the globally celebrated German composer. Another classical music composer who has left an indelible legacy in music is Beethoven. Biopics have been made about the Beethoven in the past. Among these has been Immortal Beloved portrayed by Gary Oldman and Copying Beethoven played by Ed Harris. These films had their own sensibilities and positive attributes. One element that was missing, however, was the fact that the leading actors playing their titular characters did not resemble the composers they were playing. A suggestion for a future Beethoven biopic is for Michael Shannon to play Beethoven. 

Iman Sadri blogs for Persian Media outlets and can be reached at