There used to be a time when women were not allowed to be on stage, so a lot of the time men would play both male and female roles in theater plays. And while those days are over, we still occasionally get men playing female characters. Except these days it’s usually because the story is complicated and calls for that kind of casting. Here are some of the movies where male actors played female characters that we think are worth watching.
1. Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Eddie Redmayne did a brilliant job playing the role of Einar Wegener in The Danish Girl. His character would pose for his wife dressed as a woman. And with time his character learns that they’re actually way more comfortable as a woman and undergo the first gender reaffirming surgery. It’s a deeply moving story and a beautiful film, so if you haven’t seen it, you definitely should.
2. Cillian Murphy – Breakfast on Pluto
A story of a young kid who was abandoned by their mother on the steps of a church. The kid ends up in foster care and has a very traumatic life in general, but somewhere along the way they grow up and identify as transgender and goes to take over London and find his mother.
3. Robin Williams – Mrs. Doubtfire
This is a less serious but still heartwarming movie in which Robin Williams dressed up as an elderly woman and called himself Mrs Doubtfire so that he would get hired as a nanny by his ex-wife. All to have the opportunity to see his kids every day. Isn’t that sweet? Plus the movie is full of hilarious comedic moments so it’s a fun watch for sure.
4. Patrick Swayze – To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
If you’re used to seeing Partick Swayze as a swoon-worthy guy from Dirty Dancing you might want to see this movie just for a change. He played a drag queen called Miss Vida Boheme and he did such a great job he actually got a Golden Globe for this role.
5. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon – Some Like it Hot
This is a classic at this point, we’re pretty sure everyone saw this movie. It’s a story of two musicians who had to pretend to be women in order to play in the band and their adventures are absolutely hilarious. One of the actors, Jack Lemmon, even got an Oscar nomination for his role in Some Like It Hot.
6. Dustin Hoffman – Tootsie
We’d call Tootsie a cult classic. If you like this movie – you can’t get enough of this. If you haven’t seen it you’re missing out. The basic plot is that Dustin Hoffman’s character is an actor who can’t find a job, so he decides to disguise himself as a woman and try out for a female role in a drama and he gets cast. You’d think success is imminent but he then falls in love with his costar which makes his life and professional work that much harder.
7. John Travolta – Hairspray
This romantic comedy musical based on a Broadways show was definitely a turn we didn’t expect John Travolta to take, but hey, he started out with Grease so really we should’ve seen it coming. The guy loves a good musical and he’s not afraid to take on any role.
8. Adam Sandler – Jack & Jill
You know exactly what you’re in for when you’re watching an Adam Sandler movie. It’s going to be silly and it’s not going to be groundbreaking in any way. But hey, that’s Adam’s niche, he makes silly movies. And Jack & Jill is exactly that. In this movie, Adam played both characters, Jack and his twin sister Jill, who he hates, but has to put up with because of a work opportunity with Al Pacino who seems to have a crush on Jill. Yup, it’s as silly as it sounds.