Movie Stars Playing Movie Stars: A Marvy Montage

Categories: Film

Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest: Don't fuck with her, fellas!
No one plays a legendary movie star like another movie star--I mean, they really know how it's done, or at least they're willing to trot out their best mannerisms and try.

Here are some of the most memorable examples (some because they're brilliant, others because they're glittery trash) of filmland's favorite self-reflexive genre.

Carroll Baker in "Harlow." Delectable garbaggio, the way only Hollywood knows how to do it.

Carol Lynley as "Harlow." Ditto.

Gwen Stefani as Harlow in The Aviator. Finally, someone not named Carol.

Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner in The Aviator. I don't think so!

Cate Blanchett as the butch Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. Blanchett won the Oscar, some say because they wanted to give another one to Hepburn.

James Brolin and Jill Clayburgh as Gable and Lombard. I kid you not. Game actors, rotten script.

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Errol Flynn and Dorothy Malone as John and Diana Barrymore, "Too Much Too Soon." Too little too late, but the movie is trashy fun and Flynn is actually brilliant in it.

Jerry Lacy's Bogie haunts Woody Allen in "Play it Again Sam"

He gave good headwrap.

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Kirsten Dunst as Marion Davies in The Cat's Meow. Purrr-fect.
Michelle Williams in "My Week With Marilyn." She was Oscar nominated for playing a legend who was never Oscar nominated.

Kenneth Branaugh was nominated for playing Olivier in the same film.

And Julia Ormond was his wife, Vivien Leigh. Well, at least they didn't get Kate Beckinsale.

Robert Downey Jr. as Chaplin--the original Iron Man.

In Garbo Talks, Betty Comden played Greta (shown in a floppy hat, from behind). There are no stills, so I've included Betty's head shot. And by the way, I make a cameo in the film. And wasn't nominated.

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Rod Steiger and Valerie Perrine. Valerie played "Me." Said Leonard Maltin: "Has little relation to the truth, but still entertaining." Like practically every movie on this list.

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@mikeymusto "Kate Beckinsdale as Ava Gardner in The Aviator. I don't think so!" Finally! Exactly.


Michelle Williams sucked ass, as did most of these.  You forgot Connie Stevens & Catherine Hicks as Marilyn.


Thanks for including Betty C.'s Greta G.  It was something she had a ball doing, and until it became common knowledge with the advent of the IMdB, something she enjoyed having as a kind of open secret about her career - as well as something where she wasn't "and Green."

exackerly 1 Like

There are many more you could have listed, but I'll keep it to the best one ever -- Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi.

anonTWO 1 Like

and why is it people including Faye Dunaway hate that movie so much?

Mommie Dearest has it's flaws and it is by no means a pretty or uplifting film but Dunaway did some serious acting in that film.



BetteD 2 Like


 But she didn't even look like Joan Crawford -- in the photo she looks lke Faye Dunanway after sucking on a grapefruit.


 @anonTWO I love that movie, but it's kind of a hot mess. Supposedly the original version of the script made Joan even bitchier, but Faye objected -- she was afraid the Hollywood old-timers would hate her forever, which they pretty much did anyway. Her career has never really recovered.


 @exackerly Imma have to side with Dunaway on this one here.

Her MALE contemporaries (Nicholson and Beatty, etc) have made plenty of clunkers in their careers but they still work when they choose too - often opposite MUCH younger female leads!

I DO think Dunaway's career cooled off because she was no longer that hot young chippy as she was in Bonnie & Clyde.

I've watched Mommie Dearest many times and I do agree there are problems with the film. I've also read the memoir by Christina Crawford many times. CC's story aint pretty.

I really believe people hate this film because the story rips apart the fantasy of old time movie stardom and exposes something we really don't care to discuss!



 @anonTWO According to IMDB, she's worked non-stop since Mommy Dearest, but mostly in things I've never heard of. Not unusual for older actresses -- Susan Sarandon has also made a lot of clunkers. As for the movie, it became a gay cult film pretty much as soon as it was released, which may or may not be a good thing.



i agree. faye did her thing. lol. and i liked that line: don´t fuck with me fellas (in rage!) one of the highlights of the film. just wonder: was joan really like that? don´t remember that part in the book but hey what the heck.

one of faye´s most memorable.


not fair to Beckensale. Gardner was one of the if not the most beautiful women in film EVER.

Beckensale can't compare.


That was a TV movie. This thread only includes movies. Thank God there's no TV movies or there'd also be Jennifer Love Hewitt as Audrey Hepburn,


Gwen Stefani as Harlow is a big no no.

bethesda topcommenter

And now that I know about some of these, I'm going to have to go searching. I had no idea about all those Harlows.

bethesda topcommenter

"He gave good headwrap". Genius.