It’s sometimes difficult for fans to separate actors from the characters they portray. In fact, celebs are often addressed in public by their characters name. Fans put celebs on a pedestal but often they don’t meet their expectations. Celebs can be similar to a character they portray or the complete opposite. Actors that have played some of the most notorious villains are actually sweethearts in real life. Conversely, actors that have played the greatest heroes or sweethearts in cinema and television are actually known for being unpleasant. However, there are actors are that are much more similar to the characters they play than fans notice.
Several world-famous actors and actress are as brave or as sweet as the characters they portray. They’ve actually commit real-life acts of heroism and in some cases saved somebody’s life. They are truly the heroes they portray on the big screen. Those same people are always talked about in high respects from their co-stars and fans. On the other hand, numerous famous celebs have been anything but a hero. They’ve committed terrible acts and in some cases are even involved in somebody’s ill fortune. Here is a look at 10 Actors That Act Like The Hero They Play (And 10 Who Don’t).
20 not – Charlie Sheen
In the 80’s and 90’s, Charlie Sheen was on top of Hollywood and was one of its biggest stars. Sheen portrayed a wide range of characters from the hero to the anti-hero. To be fair, Sheen has portrayed some shady characters on screen that are eerily similar to his off-screen demeanor. Sheen starred in several popular movies, such as Platoon, Wall Street, and Major League. From 2003 to 2011, Sheen starred as Charlie Harper in the sitcom Two and a Half Men. The character was similar to Sheen’s real-life attitude.
Sheen was the highest paid actor on TV but was fired after publicly feuding with his Two and a Half Men boss, Chuck Lorre. He’s had a long history of problems in terms of his personal and public life. Additionally, he’s been in several volatile and tumultuous relationships. Sheen’s ex-wives have accused him of being someone unfit to be in a relationship with. Sheen was taken in on Christmas morning 2009 after his third wife, Brooke Mueller, made a call. That morning she asked Sheen for a divorce. She claimed that Sheen restrained her down on the bed and proceeded to act very hostile towards her. (Today) They separated and their divorce was finalized in 2011.
19 sweetheart – Ryan Gosling
Every hero has a unique origin story and Ryan Gosling is no different. Gosling started his career as a member of Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Club. He’s known for appearing in a number of successful romantic films most notably The Notebook. He’s also starred in several action films, such as Blade Runner 2049, Gangster Squad and Drive. Turns out that the critically acclaimed actor isn’t just talented and good looking. He is also a hero in real life and doesn’t just play one in the movies.
Ryan Gosling is often being a Good Samaritan and saving the day. In 2011, he famously intervened in a fight on the street between two men fighting over a stolen painting.
In 2012, writer Laurie Penny was crossing the street in New York City. She didn’t check both ways and was almost hit by a cab. However, Gosling happened to be nearby and saved her. Laurie tweeted, “I literally, LITERALLY just got saved from a car by Ryan Gosling. Literally. That actually just happened.” She added, “I was crossing 6th avenue in a new pink wig. Not looking the right way because I am from London. Ryan Gosling grabbed me away from a taxi.” (Newsday)
18 not – Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder first rose to fame after portraying Lydia Deetz in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. She later gained wider recognition with her roles in Mermaids, Edward Scissorhands and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In the 90’s, her career continued to skyrocket to the top as she starred in The Age of Innocence, Heathers, Little Women and Reality Bites. In defense, she never really played a squeaky clean hero and sometimes portrayed shady characters.
On December 12, 2001, she was accused of taking $5,500 worth of designer clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue. In 2002, she received $3,700 in fines, 480 hours of community service and had to pay $6, 355 to Saks Fifth Avenue. Later, she revealed that she was suffering mentally at the time and she was seeking help, but the doctor was not in good standings. He’s has since had his license revoked. Unlike most celebs that find themselves in a similar situation, she managed to make a comeback. After taking a very brief hiatus she eventually returned. She has received universal praise for her role as Joyce Byers in the critically acclaimed Netflix series Stranger Things.
17 sweetheart – Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is one of the most recognizable Hollywood stars in the world. In the last few years, he’s stirred up some controversy with his views and tumultuous marriages. He’s made a career out of playing the ultimate good guy and the hero that will always do the right thing. He starred in several memorable films, such as, Top Gun, A Few Good Men and Jerry Maguire. Since 1996, he has portrayed Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible franchise. Hunt is often the fearless hero that will take any risk to accomplish his mission. Turns out that Cruise and Hunt have a lot more in common than fans realize.
In 1996, Cruise was sailing the Mediterranean with then wife Nicole Kidman. They were enjoying their breakfast when they noticed a sailboat on fire. Cruise saved French paper magnate Jacques Lejeune, his wife, daughter and two crew members who were floating in a rubber raft.
His publicist noted, “If I ever get in trouble, I hope Tom Cruise is nearby.” He once saw an actress, Heloisa Vinhas, struck by a car as she ran for a bus. He stayed with the aspiring actress and followed her to the hospital. He later paid for her hospital stay. Vinhas said, “If he’s not Superman, he can be Batman—Batman doesn’t have super powers.” (People)
16 not – Wesley Snipes
There are a few requirements necessary to be considered a sweetheart. A hero is usually kind, generous, always does the right thing and most importantly pays their taxes. More often than not, a sweetheart certainly always does their best to follow the law. Wesley Snipes is best known for his roles in New Jack City, White Men Can’t Jump and Demolition Man. Initially, he was known for playing the villain. In New Jack City, he portrayed one of the most chilling villains in cinema. However, he also played the hero numerous times. He is well known for portraying Blade in the Blade film trilogy.
Apparently, Blade is fearless against vampires but has a weakness for taxes. On October 12, 2006, Snipes was charged with fraud and false claim for a payment. They also revealed that he failed to pay taxes between 1999 and 2004. He was found guilty of three misdemeanor counts and was sentenced to three years. He reported to it on December 9, 2010 and was released on April 2, 2013 but served house arrest until July.
15 sweetheart – Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet has won both an Academy Award and a Grammy Award. However, somebody should give her a sweetheart award. Kate Winslet is one of the top stars in Hollywood. She has starred in several memorable films, including, Heavenly Creatures, The Holiday and Revolutionary Road. She first gained fame for her memorable performance in the blockbuster film Titanic. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in The Reader. She is often invited to the best celebrity parties, events, and to be a resident at private islands. She’s not only famous but is also handy in a crisis.
In 2011, Winslet was vacationing on business tycoon Richard Branson’s private resort, Neckar Island. The resort caught on fire and the blaze destroyed a majority of the island. Branson was devastated but was extremely lucky that Winslet was a guest that weekend.
Winslet was with her two children at Branson’s resort. When the fire broke out, Winslet went back in the home to recuse Branson’s mother and carried her to safety. Branson was eternally grateful to the world famous actress. Branson said, “Many thanks to Kate Winslet for helping to carry my 90-year mum out of the main house to safety.” (People)
14 not – Stephen Collins
It’s always important to separate the character and the person. Stephen Collins became world famous for portraying a man of high morals, integrity and family values. However, in real life, Collins is the opposite of that character. From 1996 to 2007, Collins portrayed Reverend Eric Camden on the immensely popular television series 7th Heaven. He also appeared in several films, such as All the President’s Men, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Three Stooges. However, his career is now overshadowed by his heinous actions.
During a therapy session in 2012, Collins wife secretly recorded him confessing to acting badly with girls. In 2014, that audiotape was leaked and an investigation began over him. In December of that year, Collins admitted to being inappropriate with three females in 1973, 1982 and 1994. He claimed that since the third incident he has “not had an impulse to act out in any such way.” It was reported that he directly apologized to one of the girls 15 years later. He issued a statement as well. He said, “Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since.” (Latimes)
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13 sweetheart – Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton has never portrayed a sweetheart in a movie or TV series. However, his on-stage image as a country singer certainly comes across as one. Maybe it’s because he’s got that whole cowboy thing going for him. Regardless, there are four men from Oklahoma that would certainly consider him their hero. Shelton has released several popular albums, such as Blake Shelton, The Dreamer and Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill. He portrayed Wyatt Earp in the Netflix film, The Ridiculous 6. Since 2011, Shelton has served as a judge on the reality competition series, The Voice. Shelton has helped several aspiring stars to achieve their dream. However, he’s also saving lives off screen.
In November 2015, friends Bryar Blanton, Lenyell Blanton, Josh Turner and Adrian Poplin were stuck in a mudslide in Oklahoma. Luckily, the four friends were rescued by Shelton.
Bryar said, “Me and Adrian started walking down the road [looking for help] and [that’s when] Blake and his dog, Betty, stopped and picked us up in his truck.” When they arrived at the mudslide Shelton realized his truck wasn’t enough. Bryar added, “He couldn’t do it, so he said he would be back in 15 minutes with his tractor.” (ET) That wasn’t the only time Shelton saved the day. Earlier that year in June, he rescued a man that was stranded.
12 not – Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg has portrayed several famous heroes and has appeared in a number of action films. However, early in his childhood, he wasn’t the hero he’d portray later. Wahlberg began his career as the frontman for Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Later, He starred in several popular films, such as The Departed, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Patriots Days. He often plays the role of the heroic good guy.
Before his fame, he was the furthest thing from a sweetheart. In 1986, while on a field trip he threw rocks at kids while using slurs. In 1988, he was charged with something very similar to that effect. He plead guilty spent 45 days in the slammer on a two-year sentence. In 1992, he continued to have problems with a neighbor. He later regretted his actions, turned life around and apologized to one of the men who was victimized by him. In 2014, he filed for a full and unconditional pardon for his past crimes. This set off a fierce debate that had many of his past victims coming forward. Some felt he should be forgiven while other felt differently. In 2016, Wahlberg’s petition was closed when he failed to answer a request if he wanted it to remain open.
11 sweetheart – Luke Wilson
Luke Wilson has never portrayed a famous sweetheart or superhero but as it turns out he’s one in real life. Luke Wilson has starred in several popular films, such as Idiocracy, Old School and Legally Blonde. He’s not just a sweetheart in movies, he’s even risked his life to save a stranger. In February 2018, Wilson and pro golfer Bill Hass were involved in a fatal car accident. A Ferrari was speeding down the street when the driver lost control and hit several cars before hitting a light pole. The Ferrari hit Wilson’s SUV but he walked away unscathed.
However, a 50-year-old woman was trapped in her SUV after it flipped over due to the collision. Her leg was pinned down and she was unable to move. Wilson sprung into action to help her.
A Witness, Sean Heirigs, helped Wilson save the woman. Heirigs said, “Luke went around the back, to the trunk of the car. We pried it open, she was able to unbuckle herself, and Luke started to pull her out from the back. We then both carried her to the curb.” On that day, Wilson was a true superhero. Heirigs said about Wilson, “He was calm. He was definitely a hero, [a] super nice guy.” (People)
10 not – R. Kelly
In the 90’s, R. Kelly was one of the biggest R&B stars in the world. He was known for his intimate and romantic songs. He also released numerous inspirational songs that dominated the charts. However, R. Kelly turned out not to be the hero his music made him out to be. In 1993, R. Kelly began his solo career and quickly rose to the top of the charts. He is best known for releasing the singles “Bump N’ Grind”, “Ignition” and “The World’s Greatest.” In 1998, he won three Grammy Awards for the inspirational song “I Believe I Can Fly”, which was featured on the Space Jam soundtrack. Kelly made headlines when at the age of 27 he illegally married then 15-year-old singer Aaliyah.
In 1996, Tiffany Hawkins sued him for having relations with her when she was young. He was able to avoid any major charges or attention but that all soon changed. In 2002, a video surfaced of Kelly engaging in inappropriate physical activity with someone else. Kelly denied that he was the man in the video. A search was then conducted at his home and officers discovered 12 images of a girl on a digital camera. Kelly was taken in but was found not guilty.
9 sweetheart – John Krasinski
Before John Krasinski was an actor, director, and action hero, he was already saving lives. Krasinski is best known for his role as Jim Halpert in the NBC sitcom The Office. He starred in several films, including, License to Wed, Leatherheads and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. He recently directed and starred in the critically acclaimed horror film A Quiet Place. He returns to television to play the ultimate hero in the upcoming Amazon series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. Turns out he’s been getting ready for this role for years.
After Krasinski graduated from high school, he lived in Costa Rica and worked as an English teacher. One day he went swimming at a gorgeous beach but it soon turned deadly. He said,
“This Costa Rican girl and an American guy were swimming right next to me, and we were knee-deep. I went underwater for a second, and when I came back up he was screaming at the top of his lungs. Literally, in three seconds the girl had been swept 150 yards out.”
He added, “In that moment, I didn’t ask anyone. There was no one to help me. I just went out and tried to save her.” (People) He managed to rescue her and took her to safety. Krasinski expressed that it was a life-changing experience for him.
8 not – Matthew Broderick Dangerous Driving
In the 80’s, Matthew Broderick was a teen sensation on the rise. He’s still regarded as one of the most recognizable Hollywood stars. However, Broderick had moments where he wasn’t the hero he played in the movies. Broderick starred in several popular films, such as, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Producers and voiced Simba in Disney’s The Lion King.
On August 5, 1987, Matthew Broderick and then-girlfriend Jennifer Grey were driving in a BMW in Northern Ireland. They had started dating secretly since playing siblings in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Broderick crossed the line into traffic going in the opposite direction and crashed head-on with a Volvo. Grey had minor injuries and Broderick had a concussion, among other issues. Broderick said, “I don’t remember the day. I don’t remember even getting up in the morning.” (IMDB) He was convicted of careless driving and fined $175. Brother and son, Martin Doherty was furious over the ruling but years later forgave Broderick. They planned to meet in 2003 but that fell through and Martin never heard from Broderick. In 2012, Broderick was featured in a Super Bowl Honda commercial and Martin felt he “wasn’t the greatest choice of drivers.” (TheThings)
7 sweetheart – Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy has portrayed some of the bravest heroes, sweethearts, and most ruthless villains in cinema. He often plays tough guy roles regardless if he’s the good guy or the bad guy. Hardy portrayed the villain or anti-hero in many films, including, The Dark Knight Rises, Legend and The Revenant. He’s also played the hero in films, such as Warrior, Inception and Mad Max: Fury Road. He will also portray Eddie Brock/Venom in the upcoming film Venom. When he’s not starring in blockbuster movies, he’s chasing criminals down the street.
In 2017, two criminals stole a moped and tried to escape but instead crashed into a car. That wasn’t even the worst part because Tom Hardy witnessed the entire event and ran after the criminal that fled. Hardy chased the criminal through building sites and gardens.
According to the Sun UK, “The Legend, Batman and Taboo star vaulted walls as he sprinted after the crook — then grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and patted him down for concealed weapons.”
Witness, Arun Pullen, watched Hardy in action. He said, “It was mental – like he’d switched to superhero mode in an action movie.” He added, “He went off like a shot in pursuit and looked furious. If the kid had been dumb enough to resist I reckon Tom would have given him a good hiding.” (SunUK)
6 not – Woody Allen
Woody Allen is widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. However, he lives under a dark cloud as he’s been accused of inappropriate behavior. He started his career as a stand-up comedian and created an innocent, insecure and nebbish persona that was similar to his offstage demeanor. However, it would soon be revealed that there is a much darker side to Allen. Allen is known for several classic films, including, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters and Match Point.
In 1980, he began a 12-year relationship with actress Mia Farrow. They raised two adoptive children, Soon Yi Previn and Moses Farrow, from her previous marriage and together have one child Satchel Farrow (later known as Ronan Farrow) and adopted Dylan Farrow. Allen and Farrow separated after it was discovered that Allen was also with the then 21-year-old Soon. In 1992, Dylan accused Allen of being inappropriate with her. Allen denied the allegation and claimed Mia was coaching Dylan to say that. However, an adult Dylan Farrow has repeated that same claim. Her story has remained consistent since first making the claim in 1992 as a child.
5 sweetheart – Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence has portrayed the fearless hero and sweetheart so many times that she instinctively springs into action when she sees someone in trouble. Lawrence is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her critically acclaimed performance in Silver Linings Playbook. She is well known for portraying several famous female heroes. She currently portrays Mystique in the X-Men film series. However, she gained widespread fame for her role as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games franchise. The success of the franchise established her as one of the highest grossing action heroines of all time.
Lawrence is a hero off-screen as well. She is known for her outspoken stance on gender equality. However, she is also the type of hero that will always lend a helping hand.
In 2012, Katniss…er…Jennifer Lawrence ran to a young girls aid when she appeared to be in trouble. According to the Daily Mail, “The 21-year-old was standing outside her apartment complex in Santa Monica when a woman walking past suddenly collapsed on the grass.” (DailyMailUK) Lawrence was photographed checking on the woman and later called the paramedics. The young woman ended up being fine. Luckily, Jennifer Lawrence was nearby to save her.
4 not – O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson never portrayed any kind of sweetheart. He was the superhero and sweetheart however in real life, for a very long time. Initially, Simpson would have gone down in history as one of the great running backs in NFL of all time. Instead, he will go down as one of the most notorious celebrity figures in history. He played in the NFL from 1969 to 1979 and played for both the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers. Additionally, he appeared in the mini-series Roots and The Naked Gun trilogy. However, he is now associated with the scandal involving his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
In 1995, Nicole and Ronald were in her Brentwood condo. Simpson was a person of interest but failed to turn himself in. Instead, he was involved in an epic car chase through the streets of Los Angeles in his white ford bronco. Eventually, Simpson turned himself in and went on trial, which was dubbed “The Trial of the Century.” Simpson was found not guilty in a verdict that divided many people. In 2007, Simpson was brought in again before being released in October 2017. All of this was depicted in the critically acclaimed FX series The People vs. O.J. Simpson.
3 sweetheart – Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. He has starred in several memorable films, such as Collateral, Django Unchained, and Baby Driver. He won an Academy Award for his critically acclaimed performance in the biopic, Ray.
In 2016, Brett Kyle’s car collided with a drainage pipe and he landed on the passenger side with the car in flames. He happened to crash in front of Jamie Foxx’s home. Foxx sprung into action and pulled the young man from the car.
Foxx said, “I grabbed the scissors from him, cut the seat belt, but it’s on his neck. So I cut it off his neck. And then, as the flames do come into the cabin, I lean back, but I think what it did is it hit his legs, which made him extend. And when he extends out of the cabin, pull him out, and as we pull him out, within five seconds later, the truck goes up.” Brett’s father said, “It doesn’t matter to me who it was, or what they do for a living, or whatever. Just the idea that someone would do that is so much more than I can fathom. It’s all tears of joy.” (E!News)
2 not – Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby never played a superhero like Batman that saved the world in a big budget film. However, he was widely regarded as America’s father. He had a squeaky clean image. He influenced an entire generation of stand up comedians and sitcom writers. However, the entire time he was doing terrible things. Cosby first became known for his stand up comedy and released several popular albums, such as Bill Cosby is a Very Funny Fellow…Right, Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs and Bill Cosby: Himself. From 1984 to 1992 he starred in the sitcom The Cosby Show, which he co-created.
Since the late 60’s, several women accused Cosby of acting badly with them. However, the allegations were never taken seriously. In 2014, comedian Hannibal Buress discussed the Cosby allegations in his stand up and the video went viral bringing more attention to the allegations. Over 70 women came forward telling their interactions with Cosby. He completely denied the allegations but the damage had been done and America’s dad was not the hero many thought he was anymore. On April 26, 2018, he was found guilty.
1 hero – Harrison Ford
Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman! No, it’s actually Harrison Ford in his helicopter. Harrison Ford has portrayed some of the greatest heroes and sweethearts in cinema history. He’s learned a lot from his fictional counterparts and applies that heroism to his real life. He starred in several popular films, such as, American Graffiti, Witness and The Fugitive. Over the years he has played a plethora of classic heroes. However, there are a few that are the most iconic heroes in history. Ford is best known for portraying Han Solo in the Star Wars Universe, Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones franchise and Rick Deckard in Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049.
Harrison Ford is the ultimate hero both on and off screen. In 2000, Ford used his helicopter to save two female hikers stuck at the top of Table Mountain in Wyoming.
They were suffering from altitude sickness when he saved them. Ford didn’t even get upset when one of the hikers vomited in his personal helicopter. A year later, Ford was flying his helicopter over Wyoming and found a missing 13-year old boy who had been separated from his troop. Luckily for Wyoming, Ford is always watching over them.
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