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Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

The stories of great victories and overcoming are found not only in the cinema. The whole sport of high achievements consists of them, but only a few events become the basis of a biographical drama. We have collected seven actors who played the roles of world famous film champions. Some of them do bear a striking resemblance to those they portrayed on screen.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

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Legendary films with the stars of sports and Hollywood. There is even a Russian film!

Kevin de Paula as Pele

Kevin de Paula played the legendary Pele, having no acting experience behind him. Still, critics were delighted with how accurately he conveyed the energy of the famous football player. Pele: The Birth of a Legend portrays Edson Arantis do Nascimento's childhood and adolescence, the years he earned the famous nickname, and the first FIFA World Cup of his career - Sweden 1958.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

Photo: Getty Images / Still from the movie

By the way, Pele himself once also played a football player in a movie. In the film Escape to Victory, he played the role of Luis Fernandez, a talented attacker of the POW team. The film is set during World War II in a German camp, where a group of prisoners go to an exhibition match against German jailers. Famous footballers such as Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ordiles, John Work and Kazimierz Deina also played other POWs.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

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Danila Kozlovsky as Valery Kharlamov

The film crew of the Legend No. 17 tried to convey the image of hockey player Valery Kharlamov as accurately as possible. His personal belongings even appear in the frame: a real jacket and a pendant, created in the image and likeness of what the athlete wore. The hockey player's relatives admitted that actor Danila Kozlovsky is surprisingly similar to his hero.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

Photo: RIA Novosti / Still from the film

Various actors auditioned for the role of dad, but Danila Kozlovsky was the best. He came to our house, talked with his grandmother. When she came in for the first time, she even burst into tears: "My God, how you look like Valera!", Valery Kharlamov's daughter Begonita said in an interview.

Kristina Asmus as Svetlana Khorkina

Film Champions: Faster. Higher. He acted more strongly with the participation of gymnast Svetlana Khorkina. She, together with the producer, selected the main actress and helped her get used to the role. As a child, Kristine Asmus was also involved in artistic gymnastics, so she performed some acrobatic elements on the site.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

Photo: RIA Novosti / Still from the film

However, Khorkina's Olympic programs were nevertheless recreated in the frame by professional athletes. Among them, for example, the European champion on uneven bars Daria Skrypnik.

After filming, Asmus said: I have been involved in sports for 10 years. 13 have passed since then, but it turned out that muscles are remembered. Of course, I had to remember a lot, but it was not so difficult. Before filming, I went to the hall for three months and prepared. In the first period - before the Olympics - I did almost all the tricks on my own, because my preparation was enough. But when it comes to the Olympic Games, of course, I take off my hat to the understudies, who are all active athletes, national teams, champions.

Will Smith as Muhammad Ali

When Will Smith offered to play the main role in the drama Ali, he refused. Then Mohammed Ali personally called the actor and asked him to join the work on the picture. The result exceeded all expectations. Prior to this, the shooting of the film was postponed for 10 years, the script was rewritten more than once, and the directors replaced each other one after another. But in 2001, the project, led by Michael Mann, was still completed.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

Photo: Getty Images / Still from the movie

To match the famous boxer's appearance, Will Smith had to gain over 15 kilograms of muscle mass in less than four months. He completely changed his lifestyle: he ran 8 kilometers every morning, worked out in the gym all day and boxed in the ring for three hours every day.

After filming the film, a warm relationship developed between the legendary athlete and the actor. And when Muhammad Ali passed away in 2016, Will Smith was one of those who carried his coffin at the funeral.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

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Ivan Kolesnikov as Alexander Belov

Alexander Belov is a legend of Soviet basketball, Olympic champion in 1972. Today, many have become known after the release of the film Moving Up, although the fate of Belov is not shown quite accurately in it. But the film crew managed to convey the appearance of the athlete very well. Ivan Kolesnikov managed to embody the image on the screen.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

Photo: RIA Novosti / Still from the film

The actor tried to achieve maximum similarity: he worked out the movements of the basketball player on the court, learned to make correct throws, worked out the technique. Each time before the shooting process, the actors trained specially.

Margot Robbie as Tony Harding

Tonya Harding is the vice-champion of the world in single figure skating and a participant in two Olympics. The first woman in the history of the United States, SumThe one to perform the most difficult jump is an axel of 3.5 turns. In 1994, she became involved in one of the most famous scandals in the world of sports. Her ex-husband Tony Jeff Gillowly and bodyguard Sean Eckardt organized an assassination attempt on Tony's main rival in the national team, Nancy Kerrigan. Harding was an accomplice in this case. These events are shown in the film Tonya against everyone.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

Photo: Getty Images / Still from the movie

To achieve the greatest resemblance to the heroine, the performer of the main role, Margot Robbie, spent several hours a day at the rink with Harding herself. Even the images of the doubles were thought out in detail. The facial features of the actress were copied and, using a special graphic program, they were imposed on the faces of the athletes, who performed multi-turn jumps instead.

By the way, Robbie had to master not only figure skating. After Harding left the ice, she went into professional boxing in the early 2000s. So on the set, the actress also had a chance to work in the ring.

Alexander Fokin as Lev Yashin

Sports drama Lev Yashin. The goalkeeper of my dreams was released at the end of November 2019. The role of the legendary goalkeeper went to Alexander Fokin. This work became his film debut for him.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

Photo: RIA Novosti / Still from the film

Playing Yashin is not an easy task, especially since Alexander Fokin has never stood at the gate before. However, he tried to exactly copy the movements, facial expressions and intonations of the famous football player. The grandson of Lev Yashin, Vasily Frolov, who took part in the filming, helped the actor get into the role. Fokin was simply delighted with his hero.

There are no more such goalkeepers in the world. Therefore, it is much more interesting to tell and show Lev Ivanovich in life. This is a human being with such character, willpower, a great desire to work. He was strong, sturdy, but somewhere a little vulnerable. I was very impressed with this role. Look with his eyes at what happened in his life. Very valuable experience, - Alexander admitted in an interview.

Cinema vs reality: what actors who play famous athletes look like

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Save yourself, so as not to forget to watch.

If you have not watched the films from this collection, be sure to free them a couple of hours on the weekend and see for yourself how well the actors managed to embody the images of world legends on the screen sports.

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