5 Women Who Have Convincingly Played Male Roles In Movies



A round of applause to the ladies dressed as men for the silver screen.

Women have known better that when it comes to fiction, they too can take on the role of the men. Not only do these actresses proved how versatile they are, but they were also ahead of their time at proving anything a man can do, women can. In the big screen, a lot of the crossdressing happens. We’ve seen it in movies like ‘Shakespeare In Love’ or ‘She’s The Man’—both honorable mentions in the list. Among all these films, we picked five that had us completely forget that they’re women behind the masks. Here are 5 women who played male roles in movies:

Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena

Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena

This controversial piece is a discussion on its own. But pulling apart the pieces that created ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, it’s safe to say that Hilary Swank did a stunning performance as Brandon Teena, a transman. Not to mention, her features also complemented the role she was given.

Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn

Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn

‘I’m Not There’ can be one of the most iconic biopics yet. The movie gathered 6 actors to depict the many personas inspired by the legendary artist Bob Dylan. One of those actors is Cate Blanchett playing the role of Jude Quinn. Bearing Dylan’s looks in the 60s, the singer-songwriter fuels himself with philosophical ideas and illegal drugs.

Barbara Streisand as Anshel Mendel

Barbara Streisand as Anshel Mendel

‘Yentl’ is a movie far more important than we think. Barbara Streisand didn’t only play the lead in the film, she also wrote, produced, and directed it. Most importantly, Streisand’s directorial debut won her a Golden Globe for directing—she’s the only woman who has won the award since. In the movie, she plays the role of Yentl, a Jewish woman who defied all social and religious boundaries and assumed the name of her brother Ashnel to be able to study.

RELATED: The Women Already Won At The 2019 Golden Globe Awards

Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs

Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs

In the same premise as ‘Yentl’, Glenn Close played the titular role of Albert Nobbs. Like Streisand, she played more than one role in the production of the film. Close was also co-writer and producer of the film. Despite the premise of the film, Close said in an interview that more than gender roles, the movie is “about how people survive and about how human beings need to feel safe.” The movie tells the story of Nobbs, born a woman but lived his life as a man for 30 years to gain independence.

Tilda Swinton as Orlando

Tilda Swinton as Orlando

The androgyny of Tilda Swinton can be the first among the many reasons why she’s cast as the eponymous Orlando. Director Sally Potter said that upon seeing Swinton in the Manfred Karge play Man to Man, she saw a “profound subtlety about the way she took on male body language and handled maleness and femaleness.” With the movie’s premise a little too different among others, we see Swinton as Orlando, a young nobleman commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay young. Throughout the film, we find Orlando through several eras in British history, even changing sex in the process. Recently, Swinton played another male role in ‘Suspiria’ as Dr. Josef Klemperer (credited under the pseudonym Lutz Ebersdorf).


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