Comicbook Fantasy Casting
"[as to who should play him in a movie] Mr. Samuel L. Jackson, of course, no discussion."
Sometimes in comics or animated shows, a character is made to look like a particular actor or other celebrity whom the artist imagines playing the character. This might be out of fandom for the actor, because the character fits with the actor's well-known roles, or in the hope that the actor would be flattered and try to get the comic adapted as a movie. Or it might be unconscious on the author/artist's part.
Fantasy casting can also occur in non-visual media such as (non-illustrated) novels, but can be harder to spot unless Word of God
acknowledges it, or the character is closely based
on a particular role the actor is associated with. If the resemblance is outright stated in the text, it's Textual Celebrity Resemblance
For when the character is a direct impression or parody of a celebrity's public persona, see No Celebrities Were Harmed
For when an animated character is designed to resemble the real-world voice actor, see Ink-Suit Actor
See also Hypothetical Casting
, for where fans or creators do this as Word of God
without making it explicit in canon.
Not the same thing as when a comic book or animation is spun-off from an earlier live-action film or TV show and the characters inevitably are drawn to look like the live-action actors, which would be "Reality Casting". However, sometimes there are borderline cases where a comic or animation is adapted into a live-action medium and artists start drawing a character to look like the actor in the adaptation
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Anime and Manga
- Bakuman。 offers an interesting Manga Within A Manga case: every time Takagi and Mashiro create a new manga series, Mashiro makes the most important female character look like his girlfriend Azuki, a voice actress, hoping that she will get the role of this character in the anime adaptation.
- Great Brother Chang in Black Lagoon looks a lot like Chow Yun-Fat.
- Cowboy Bebop's Spike Spiegel was modelled after famous 1970s Japanese action film star Yusaku Matsuda.
- Freddy from Cromartie High School bears an obvious resemblance to Freddie Mercury from Queen. It's never explicitly stated whether or not he actually is Freddie Mercury, but most signs point to no. Just avoids No Celebrities Were Harmed since his characterization has no resemblance at all to Freddy's public persona.
- It's hard to tell, given the blue hair and gold eyes, but April of Darker Than Black looks a fair amount like Halle Berry. Probably because her Japanese voice actress, Takako Honda, dubs a lot of Berry's film roles – including that of Storm from the X-Men movies, who like April, is black and has weather-control powers.
- Dr. Slump had Dr Mashirito as a recurring Big Bad (as far as that goes in the comedy/satire genre), with facial features based on Akira Toriyama's editor, Kazuhiko Torishima. It's even lampshaded by a few panels where said editor calls up Toriyama to tell him not to draw Mashirito to look like him - for this scene, he is drawn with exactly the same face as Mashirito.
- It's been noted that Re-L of Ergo Proxy has an uncanny resemblance to Evanescence singer Amy Lee.
- Eyeshield 21 has some really strange ones considering all the characters are high school football players. Shin (especially in the early days) was pretty much Bruce Lee in football gear, Aoyanagi is Weird Al on steroids, Bud Walker is Johnny Depp, and Shinryuuji has players that resemble Gandhi, Richard Nixon, and the Dalai Lama.
- Kenshiro of Fist of the North Star fame infamously resembles Mel Gibson's character from The Road Warrior with a bit of Bruce Lee to round him out.
- In Moldiver, Mad Scientist Doctor Machinegal's robot female minions are all named after (and are designed to resemble) various female movie stars.
- Doctor Reichwein in Monster bears a strong resemblance to American actor Wilford Brimley. Oddly, this is actually due to Naoki Urasawa's unrepentant Osamu Tezuka fandom. Reichwein was modelled on Brimley because he was the closest Real Life actor to Tezuka's famed "Mr. Mustachio" character. Still, any AMV Hell clip of the character will include the dance remix of "You know, I have diabeetus..."
- All three of the admirals in One Piece are patterned after prominent actors in Japan. By sheer coincidence, one of the admirals also bears a strong resemblance to Sammy Davis Jr.
- Masayuki Ozaki has confirmed that several characters in Tiger & Bunny are supposed to resemble certain famous individuals. So far, the fandom's located Robert Downey, Jr., Steven Spielberg, Forrest Whitaker, Macaulay Culkin, and Barack Obama.
- Yami No Aegis's Zero really looks like Leon from The Professional. They're also both assassins, and aside from the hats (Zero wears a baseball hat) they dress identically.
- The Jesus of Saint Young Men is drawn to look like Johnny Depp. The comic occasionally lampshades the similarity - one of his bios says he would want Depp to play him in a movie about his life, and at one point, he distracts a group of Gyaru who are upsetting Buddha by posing at a 'Johnny Depp-like angle' and flirting with them in English.
- At another point, he tries on a Cosplay of Jack Sparrow, calling it 'fate'.
- When Buddha tries to persuade Jesus to change his hairstyle, he hands him a movie magazine containing some photos of Depp's various roles - Edward Scissorhands, Jack Sparrow, Sweeney Todd and Willy Wonka - but Jesus decides to keep his original haircut due to the need to protect his celebrity image.
- Zafal Takie from the Motorball arc of Battle Angel Alita is based on Grace Jones in Conan the Destroyer. Overall this seems to be a fairly common practice with black characters in manga. Since there aren't many of them in Japan, artists will often use American movies as photo-reference, because trying to draw (their idea of) black people freehand usually winds up being less than conducive to an international release.
- In Naruto, the First Raikage is designed to look like Jimi Hendrix.
- Shougo Sena from Love Stage's physical appearance is based off of one of Daigo, lead vocalist from the band Breakerz, who happens to be author Eiki Eiki's younger brother.
- Ash Lynx, the main character in Banana Fish, was initially based off the tennis player Stephen Edberg, and later River Phoenix. Another character, Max Lobo, was modeled on Harrison Ford.
Comic Books - DC Universe
- Artist Gary Frank always draws Superman as Christopher Reeve. This makes him one of fandom's favorite artists to draw the Man of Steel.
- Captain Marvel was said to be based on Fred MacMurray.
- His sister Mary Marvel was initially modeled after Judy Garland.
- Inverted with Captain Marvel Junior, as Elvis Presley modeled his signature hairdo and costumes after him.
- Hal Jordan and Sinestro in Green Lantern have respectively been claimed to have been based on Paul Newman and David Niven.
- The male Guardians of the Universe from Green Lantern were initially based on David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel.
- The comic book prequel to Injustice: Gods Among Us makes Lois Lane look like Amy Adams, the actress who portrays the character in Man of Steel.
- Aqualad's mother Sha'lain'a from the Young Justice tie-in comic series looks like singer Beyoncé Knowles.
- Batman Incorporated featured a trio of female assassins who looked exactly like Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga. For bonus points, the headmistress of the Leviathan-run school featured in the story looked like Madonna.
- Bruce Wayne in Batman: Year One was unashamedly drawn a lot like Cary Grant, and intentionally so, although David Mazuchelli has also claimed an influence from Gregory Peck.
- And his aged look in Kingdom Come winds up looking like Peck, minus mustache.
- After the success of Batman Begins, there was at least one issue of a Batman comic (this one) in which Bruce Wayne bore an unmistakable resemblance to Christian Bale, and the Joker got plastic surgery to look like Heath Ledger.
- The Batman manga Child of Dreams has Bruce Wayne with an uncanny resemblance to Bale. And the story was published around 2000, a few years before Batman Begins.
- Superman #355 (Jan. 1981) presented Dr. Asa Ezaak, a dead ringer for Isaac Asimov, sideburns and all, as an insane moon-powered evil writer. Those were happier times.
- Superman is Clark Gable.
- In Paul Cornell's "Black Ring" story arc in Action Comics, Lex Luthor's assistant Spalding is modeled on David Tennant, complete with the Tenth Doctor's "clever specs". Lampshade Hanging is provided by the Joker who, when taking credit for killing Spalding, claims "He reminded me so much of that actor, I wanted to see if he'd turn into someone else!"
- George Pérez based his Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman on Connie Sellecca and his Post-Crisis version on Marina Sirtis.
- Darwyn Cooke admits to doing this a lot in his Catwoman story "Selina's Big Score". Stark is Lee Marvin, Jeff is Chow Yun-Fat, Swifty is Burgess Meredith and Chantel is Pam Grier.
- There's a list of these in the back of Identity Crisis; among others, Captain Boomerang is based on Ron Jeremy and his son is based on Justin Timberlake.
- In the commentary, the artist says Vixen was drawn to look like Geena Davis...which is odd because Davis is not black.
- Action Comics #9 had a story about an Alternate Universe where Superman and Wonder Woman were both black. Wonder Woman was based on Beyoncé Knowles, while Superman was basically a younger, beefier Barack Obama.
- Given that President Obama is an avowed Superman fan and Beyoncé has expressed interest in playing Wonder Woman in a live-action film, this was almost certainly intentional.
- In The Sandman:
- John Constantine, Hellblazer, was drawn in his initial Swamp Thing appearances to look like Sting and has continued to do so ever since.
- In Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's Black Orchid, Carl Thorne looks like the young Marlon Brando, while Lex Luthor often looks like the older Brando (especially when he's on the videophone—he seems to be based on Brando in Apocalypse Now then).
- Jack Kirby was said to have based Big Barda of New Gods on actress and singer model Lainie Kazan.
- According to Mike Grell, Tyroc from the Legion Of Superheroes was designed to resemble actor and former football star Fred "The Hammer" Williamson.
- Some artists are drawing Jonathan and Martha Kent to more resemble John Schneider and Annette O'Toole.
- And to hammer the point further home, the young Clark Kent seen in the Superman: Birthright miniseries looks like a child version of Tom Welling.
- In the Final Crisis sketchbook, Grant Morrison describes Dan Turpin as "Jack Kirby drawn by Frank Miller".
- Towards the end of her pre-New 52 run, Power Girl began to resemble actress Christina Hendricks in more than just body shape.
- In the 2009-2010 miniseries Superman: Secret Origin, Superman/Clark Kent was drawn to resemble Christopher Reeve, which is not surprising, but Lois Lane is drawn to closely resemble Winona Ryder, who has yet to appear in a Superman-related production.
Comic Books - Marvel Universe
- Ultimate Nick Fury was drawn to look like Samuel L. Jackson. In the Iron Man movie, Jackson was naturally cast in the role.
- This was an explicit arrangement; Jackson gave Marvel free rein to do it as long as he could have the part in the movies.
- NYPD Detective Paul Budiansky, a one-arc character from The Punisher MAX is also modeled after Sam Jackson.
- The original X-Men Hellfire Club line-up were all based by John Byrne on actors he admired. Sebastian Shaw was based on Robert Shaw, the Black Queen (Jean Grey) on Diana Rigg (Emma Peel), Mastermind/Jason Wyngarde on Peter Wyngarde (Jason King in Department S), Harry Leland on Orson Welles (Harry Lime and Jedediah Leland), and Donald Pierce on Donald Sutherland (film version of Hawkeye Pierce).
- A later writer introduced Emma Steed of the London Hellfire Club, who was even more Diana Rigg.
- The Diana Rigg and Peter Wyngarde parallels specifically were part of a Whole Plot Reference to the Avengers episode "A Touch of Brimstone", also set at a Hellfire Club, and which had Mrs Peel in the Jean Grey role and Peter Wyngarde as John Cleverly Carter in the Mastermind role.
- During the Claremont/Byrne run on Uncanny X-Men, Cyclops was based on a young Henry Fonda, Jean Grey on a young Raquel Welch, Wolverine on Paul D'Amato in Slap Shot, Colossus on Max Baer Jr, Beast on Al Franken, Charles Xavier on Keane Curtis, Moira McTaggert on Hannah Gordon, Arcade on Malcolm McDowell, and Emma Frost on a young Faye Dunaway. Kitty Pryde was based on what Byrne thought a young Sigourney Weaver would look like.
- The disco-themed mutant Dazzler was modeled after Bo Derek, who was supposed to play the character in a live-action movie.
- Later, when handling art honors for Excalibur, Alan Davis once stated that he modeled his Kitty Pryde after a young Katharine Hepburn.
- Darla Deering/Miss Thing from FF was modeled after pop star Katy Perry.
- Detective Oscar Clemons from Greg Rucka's The Punisher run is based on Morgan Freeman.
- In John Byrne comics, Mr Fantastic is based on Jeffrey Hunter, Wonder Man on David Prowse, Doctor Strange on Richard Boone, the Scarlet Witch on Playmate Julia Lyndon, Desmond Marrs on Rocco Siffredi, Polaris (in X-Men: The Hidden Years) on Jennifer Aniston.
- John Romita (Sr.) modeled Mary Jane Watson on Ann-Margret, specifically the way she looked in Bye Bye Birdie.
- More recently, Mike Deodato has drawn her as a red-haired Liv Tyler, and Paolo Rivera's take on her is a blend between Leighton Meester and Miranda Kerr, inspired by her dimples.
- Rachel Summers in her first appearances in New Mutants was intentionally designed to look like Annie Lennox.
- Likewise, Illyana Rasputin in the same title was designed to look like Heather O'Rourke, the child actress who played Carol-Ann in Poltergeist.
- Whenever Mike Deodato draws Norman Osborn (see Thunderbolts, Dark Avengers, etc.), he ends up looking like Tommy Lee Jones. Deodato has admitted that this is deliberate.
- In his more recent appearances, Norman appears to have been modelled on Julian McMahon. Which is kind of ironic when you think about it...
- Since the success of the Blade movies, there hasn't been an instance where the character wasn't drawn to look like Wesley Snipes.
- Before the movies, Charles Xavier's bald head and thin eyebrows were reminiscent of Yul Brynner’s distinct appearance. In several X-Men books since the movies, though, Professor Xavier has noticeably been drawn more like Patrick Stewart.
- When Walt Simonson was the writer/artist on Thor, he based Sif's look on actress Sigourney Weaver and the Enchantress' sister Lorelei on Debbie Harry of the punk band Blondie.
- Numinus, an obscure Power Pack character who looks like a bright-red Whoopi Goldberg in Kirbyesque "cosmic" armor.
- Before Iron Man 2 came out, Justin Hammer was modeled on Peter Cushing.
- Tony Stark, as drawn by Salvador Larocca in the current series by Matt Fraction, looks A LOT◊ like Josh Holloway.
- On at least one occasion (the moment when Spider-Man revealed his secret identity), Peter Parker and J. Jonah Jameson look very much like Tobey Maguire and J. K. Simmons, respectively.
- Early Doctor Strange more or less is Vincent Price.
- Steve Ditko's art can make it difficult to say for certain, but his early apperances more closely resemble Charlie Chan actor Warner Oland
- Alex Ross based Mr. Fantastic's appearance in Marvels off of Russell Johnson aka The Professor from Gilligan's Island in keeping with The Sixties setting of the series.
Ross's fully-painted artwork uses photo references for most major characters. Books like Kingdom Come
actually have model credits, mostly comprised of the artist's friends and fellow comic creators. And Richard Nixon as Norman Osborn.
- Brian Michael Bendis's unused script for Ultimate X-Men actually calls for this, describing Archangel as "Kurt Cobain-esque", Rogue as a teen Gwen Stefani, Storm as either Erykah Badu or Lauryn Hill, and Gambit as a devilish Leonardo look-a-like, probably referring to DiCaprio (although this troper prefers to believe he meant the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Beast's dad would supposedly look like Martin Sheen.
- Black Panther supporting character Everett Ross is admittedly drawn as Michael J. Fox.
- In an interview, John Romita said that he had been asked to make Monica Rambeau/Captain Marvel look like actress Pam Grier.
- Frank Miller stated that Elektra's appearance was based on bodybuilder Lisa Lyon.
- On The Avengers, John Buscema modeled Captain America on Burt Lancaster, Hawkeye on Anthony Quinn, Goliath on Robert Culp, Quicksilver on Fred Astaire and The Incredible Hercules on Steve Reeves, who portrayed Hercules in the famous Italian produced Hercules movies from the 50s.
- Robbie Reyes, the All-New Ghost Rider, is based off pop singer Zayn Malik.
- Jack Kirby's pre-cosmic ray Ben Grimm borrows the look of cinema heavy John Garfield.
- In the second volume of Secret Avengers, Senator Robert Ralston, former Howling Commando and United Nations official overseeing SHIELD is drawn to resemble a middle aged Robert Redford.
Comic Books - Other
- The Saint of Killers in Preacher had a powerful and deliberate resemblance to Lee Marvin, stated as deliberate by Garth Ennis in his introduction to the Ancient History collection that contained his origin story.
- The Boys features Simon Pegg as Wee Hughie. This started back with Pegg had only done Spaced and wasn't well known.
- The eponymous hero of the Italian comic Dylan Dog is based on Rupert Everett. Among the other characters, Kim is based on Kim Novak, and Professor Adam on Sean Connery. Groucho is a in-universe sosia of Groucho Marx, complete with fake mustaches.
- Dave Stevens did this an awful lot in The Rocketeer. For example, Cliff is Errol Flynn, his girlfriend Betty is pin-up model Bettie Page, Cliff's sleazy photographer rival is real-world porn photographer Ken Marcus, and second-storyline villain Lothar is Rondo Hatton.
- Stevens modeled Cliff Secord after himself, not Errol Flynn. He mentioned this in several interviews. And Peevy was modeled after his friend and mentor Doug Wildey.
- Astro City's Steeljack's appearance was modeled on Robert Mitchum.
- Anything drawn by Greg Land will resemble a random assortment of celebrities and porn stars due to his tendency to trace. Unfortunately, there's little rhyme or reason to his choices. Emma Frost may look like Natalie Portman in one panel and Kim Kardashian in the next.
- Cerebus the Aardvark has too many of these to count, though the most notable one has to be Lord Julius, who for all intents and purposes is Groucho Marx. Groucho's actual first name, for the record, was Julius. Other members of the Marx Brothers are also depicted. Over the years there has also been a character based upon Margaret Thatcher, and Canadian politicians have also been caricaturized.
- In Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8, there's a Tibetan character called Bayarmaa. The artist, Georges Jeanty, made her look like the exact portrait of Dichen Lachman, a half Tibetan actress who stars in another of Whedon's shows (she's Sierra in Dollhouse).
- Jeremy Johns, a character in Spike: After the Fall, is based on Jim Halpert from The Office, played by John Krasinski.
- In the Doctor Who Magazine Eighth Doctor comic strips, long-running companion Izzy S was based, according to Word of God, initially on the singer Louise Wener and later on the actor Luisa Bradshaw-White. The strips also featured a fake Ninth Doctor, in reality the Time Lord agent Shayde in disguise, who was visually based on the Big Name Fan, spin-off actor-director, and now official Dalek voice artist Nicholas Briggs. Leighton Woodrow, an MI6 recurring character from that era of the comics, was closely based on Leo McKern, specifically as he appeared when playing Number Two in The Prisoner.
- Lieutenant Blueberry was originally based on Jean-Paul Belmondo. His face later evolved into what now looks like a Belmondo/Banderas cross-over.
- Dirty Frank in Judge Dredd was intentionally drawn to resemble Alan Moore.
- There are a number of examples in Global Frequency, Depending on the Artist. In certain issues, Miranda Zero looks almost exactly like Michelle Forbes, who was later cast as her in the abortive TV pilot. In issue 4, the English gunwoman looks like Kate Moss (something of an in-joke, as Warren Ellis's Stormwatch and The Authority leading character Jenny Sparks was famously visually based on her). And in issue 5, the magician Alan Crowe looks exactly like Alan Cumming.
- Rasputin in Corto Maltese is quite obviously modeled after the famous Russian monk of the same name. This is lampshaded in one story, where someone asks the name of the "guy who looks like Rasputin".
- The main character of Switchblade Honey, Captain John Ryder, is based on Ray Winstone. The story started out with the idea "What if the kind of character who Ray Winstone usually plays somehow got to be a Star Trek captain?".
- John Polito was cast as Gideon the pawn shop owner in the film of The Crow because the character in the comic was modeled on him.
- In the Marsupilami comic series, Harold Stonelove, the villain of The Temple of Boavista, has a striking similarity to Hugh Laurie, especially in the flashback to his younger days.
- Gargoyles: Several comic only characters were based off of actors, and even the creator admitted that he mentally casts the characters. Quincy Hemings is Morgan Freeman, Duval is Eddie Marsan, and the leader of the Illuminati is Jude Law.
- Criminal: Last of the Innocent features Wil Wheaton as Britannica Black, a former Kid Detective who grew into a Noir-style PI.
- Wesley and the Fox in Wanted are overtly based on Eminem and Halle Berry, in what was seen as a deliberate attempt to angle for a film adaptation. In the eventual film the roles ended up being played by James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie. Wesley's father bears a resemblance to Tommy Lee Jones.
- Jenny Sparks in Stormwatch and The Authority is a double for the model Kate Moss.
- Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch's series America's Got Powers is pretty evident with its celebrity likenesses, with David Tennant as the head scientist, and Sarah Palin as a villainous US Sentator, with Ed Harris playing a John McCain fashioned US President, even before he was cast as McCain for the TV movie Game Change.
- Lucky Luke faced a Bounty Hunter who looked like Lee Van Cleef, and in one story there is an Alfred Hitchcock bartender - making a Creator Cameo in a "movie" outside of his own!
- From Hell: Inspector Abberline was modelled after Robbie Coltrane. Who amusingly was also in the movie, though Abberline himself was played by Johnny Depp.
- Paul Kidby's illustrations of Sam Vimes in Discworld cover designs and other art deliberately depict him as Clint Eastwood. By contrast, Melvyn Grant, the artist of Where's My Cow?, drew Vimes like Pete Postlethwaite, who is said to be Terry Pratchett's own fantasy casting for the role.
- Similiarly, Kidby has based his drawings of Carrot Ironfoundersson on a young Liam Neeson.
- Cornelia Funke based Mo in Inkheart on Brendan Fraser, who went on to play the character in the film version. (And in her less-famous novel The Thief Lord, she based Viktor on Bob Hoskins. It was also made into a film, but not with Bob Hoskins in.)
- Harry Dresden is generally described in fashions that evoke a young Clint Eastwood, which carries over into the art. Tall, lean, dark haired, stubbly, sharp features... yep, that's Clint.
- Doctor Who Expanded Universe examples:
- Lance Parkin has an acknowledged tendency toward fantasy-casting his characters; in particular, Ian Richardson gets a lot of "roles" in Parkin novels, most obviously in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel The Dying Days, where Lord Greyhaven is quite close to his iconic role in House of Cards.
- The evil third incarnation of Romana who appears in the Eighth Doctor Adventures was based by her initial creator, Paul Cornell, on Louise Brooks.
- Cornell has also said he saw Bernice Summerfield played by Emma Thompson (specifically, she's based on the character of Kate from The Tall Guy). This gets Lampshaded in The Dying Days, where she's mistaken for Thompson, and the short story "Digging Up the Past" by Mark Michelowski in The Dead Men Diaries, in which she says she'd like to be played by a CGI Thompson in a docudrama.
- The new Master in the New Adventures is played by Basil Rathbone.
- Iris Wildthyme's incarnations in the Eighth Doctor Adventures are modelled on Beryl Reid, Shirley Bassey and Jane Fonda as Barbarella. (The Big Finish Doctor Who incarnation is modelled Katy Manning, but that incarnation is actually played by Katy Manning.)
- Word of God from Marissa Meyer is that Linh Cinder from Lunar Chronicles was modeled after Mew Azama, the actress who played Sailor Jupiter in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.
- Barbara Hambly:
- Supposedly, J. K. Rowling based Hagrid on Robbie Coltrane when she was writing the first Harry Potter book. Either way, when the movies rolled around, she insisted that Robbie Coltrane was the only choice for the part of Hagrid and, fortunately for her, they got him. JK has also said that she imagined Professor McGonagall as being Maggie Smith. This also worked out for her. One that didn't however, was her vision of Tim Roth as Snape (Roth later confirmed he was offered the part, but was unable to appear in the first film due to his commitment to Tim Burton's version of Planet of the Apes), although its clear that Alan Rickman did start to creep into her image of him in later books.
- Tamora Pierce often "casts" characters in her head in both her Tortall Universe and Circle of Magic books—sometimes the actor themselves or a role they've played. Rosethorn, for example, is based on Kira Nerys. (Yes, she's a Trekkie.) Rosto the Piper is played by James Marsters, which is pretty clear when you read Beka's description and then look at a picture of, say, Spike.
- Played with in Gaunt's Ghosts. In the books, Gaunt is described as having blonde hair and it's generally agreed he was modeled after Sean Bean's performance in Sharpe. The funny thing is that the cover art also looks like Sharpe, only this time as he's described in the books.
- Christopher Fowler's novel Hell Train is conceived as the novelisation of a fictional "lost" Hammer Horror film, with a framing narrative around the planning of the film. This includes an in-canon casting chapter where it's discussed which of the Hammer regulars and other well-known English character actors would play the major characters.
- Happens in-universe in Nora Roberts' Tribute. After meeting Former Child Star Cilla McGowan, graphic novelist Ford Sawyer is inspired to create a new superheroine and bases her appearance off of Cilla's.
- A.J. Butcher, the author of Spy High, said that he envisioned Lori as the tennis player Anna Kournikova, and would want her to be played by Kournikova in any screen adaptation (although Kournikova isn't an actress.)
- William Goldman says he wrote Fezzik (The Princess Bride) with André the Giant in mind. They got him for the movie, even though he didn't speak English!
- Rex Mundi, the co-hero of Robert Rankin's Armageddon trilogy, is repeatedly described as looking like a young Harrison Ford. The third book in the trilogy finishes with "credits" (including actors who at the time of publication were obviously far too old for the characters (or, in the case of Orson Welles, too dead)). Note that Rex's co-hero is a time-travelling Elvis Presley.
- Writer Ian Fleming based the James Bond's original appearance on that of singer/actor Hoagy Carmichael. In later books, however, Fleming made Bond more closely resemble actor Sean Connery (including making the character part Scottish).
- Recurring Star Wars character Kell Tainer resembles Jason Segel on recent illustrations. Both of them are very tall, so it's possibly intentional.
- Word of God says that Shadow from American Gods by Neil Gaiman was supposed to look like Dwayne Johnson.
- An odd partial example - the The Pirates books make a point out of describing the Captain in the introduction to every book as "all teeth and curls" and with "a pleasant, open face", both notorious clichés used to describe Tom Baker and Peter Davison's Doctors in Doctor Who ("teeth and curls" coming from a notorious Take That line by Jon Pertwee's Doctor in "The Five Doctors", and "pleasant open face" from Terrance Dicks' Target novelisations). However, when the author was asked about whether he imagined the Captain being 'played' by those actors in an interview, he admitted that he didn't imagine him as anyone specific at all. The version of him that appears in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists looks slightly like a mixture of Tom Baker and Peter Davison, but in the art style it's hard to tell, and his voice performance (by Hugh Grant) and animation is nothing like how either of them would have played the role.
- Gerry Anderson shows did a fair amount of this
- A few characters from Warhammer 40,000 are based on famous movie characters and are thus designed to resemble the actors who played them (though how much the models and/or official art reflect this is pretty hit or miss). Fabius Bile is pretty blatantly modeled on Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff, Sly Marbo is Sylvester Stallone's Rambo, etc., though sometimes there's no particular rationale for a character's resemblance to a particular celebrity. There's one cover painting for one of the Horus Heresy books where Horus bears an uncanny resemblance to James Gandolfini of all people.
- In the actual game of Injustice: Gods Among Us, John Stewart is a dead-ringer for Idris Elba.
- Wing Commander: The Tiger's Claw ace pilot Iceman appears magnificently similar in both grizzly features and gritty demeanour to that ace shooter himself of another time, Clint Eastwood. One of the good guys and firmly focused on vengeance against the Kilrathi. Not someone who one can imagine cracking a joke with too often. According to his fellow pilots, he don't say much.
- Metal Gear:
- Big Boss was originally based off Sean Connery in appearance, while the box art of Snake was based on Michael Biehn. Snake's codec image for Metal Gear 2 was based on Mel Gibson. The other characters had obvious casting as well — most hilariously, Bond Girl-type Holly White was modeled after Christina Applegate.
- After redesign in Metal Gear Solid, Snake (according to Word of God) now has the face of Christopher Walken's character in The Deer Hunter, with the body of Jean-Claude Van Damme (although he and his family have been subtly moving away from that look and more towards Kurt Russell's character, Snake Plissken in Escape from New York). Ocelot was also 'cast' as Lee Van Cleef, and dressed up similarly to his Colonel Mortimer character in For a Few Dollars More (Van Cleef makes a two-fer in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, as Old Snake is clearly based on him as well◊ - though by the time of Escape from New York, for obvious reasons). In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Vamp was modelled after the flamenco dancer Joaquín Cortés◊, and The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was modelled after Charlotte Rampling.
- Somewhat weird video game example: Eddie Riggs from Brütal Legend was based on Jack Black from the start, but then Double Fine persuaded him to play the role, which turned it into an example of an Ink-Suit Actor.
- In Condemned, The Obi-Wan character Malcolm Van Horn looks uncannily like Max von Sydow (especially in the second game, most strikingly in the concept art).
- Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic (a sort of 1988 proto-Mass Effect RPG) used particularly shameless photo swipes as the basis for several crew pictures, including Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator, Sigourney Weaver from Aliens, and, apparently, a young Donald Rumsfeld◊.
- Laser Squad is guilty of this in the IBM PC version. The cutscenes exclusive to this version use trace-overs of various scenes and/or characters from The Empire Strikes Back for the Rebel Star team in the first level and the cyborgs in the second, while the team member portraits use various 1980s movie actors as facial sources - Lorenzo Lamas, Michael Biehn, Alec Baldwin, Rutger Hauer, Michael Ironside, John Hollis (who makes up the entire enemy squad in the second mission) and, surprisingly standing out from the rest of the list, Errol Flynn. In a bit of Hilarious in Hindsight, there are also people looking like Adam Baldwin and Vin Diesel as Riddick as he appears in the Batman Cold Open of The Chronicles of Riddick.
- Zoey in Left 4 Dead is modeled after Natassja Kinski, according to the series's wiki.
- Something worth noting would be the fact that the face model of Zoey happened to be Sonja Kinski, the daughter of Natassja.
- All eight playable main characters in the Resident Evil Outbreak games resemble celebrities to some extent. The most blatant is Jim Chapman, who is basically Chris Tucker in The Fifth Element.
- Nathan Drake's appearance is based on Johnny Knoxville.
- Speaking of Naughty Dog: Ellie from The Last of Us looks a lot like Ellen Page.
- The character design has since been modified to look a little younger and better resemble voice actress Ashley Johnson, though the resemblance did not go unnoticed by Page, who said she was "not pleased" at Ellie's close resemblance to her, mainly since her image IS being used for the game Beyond Two Souls.
- Like Nathan Drake above, Travis Touchdown is modeled on Johnny Knoxville. Some of his opponents also resemble real people; Dr. Peace is Charles Bronson, Volodarski is magician Criss Angel and Destroyman's secret identity, John Harnet, is UFC fighter Josh Barnett.
- Max Payne's face was modeled after the chief writer Sam Lake's in the original game and after Timothy Gibbs' in the second, before going full-on Ink-Suit Actor in the third (where he is modeled after his own long-time VA James McCaffrey).
- Rynn's appearance in the Drakan series was based on a model named Myrna Blankenstein.
- Whether intentional or not is unknown, but Natla in the original Tomb Raider game bears more than a passing resemblance to then-singer Victoria Adams (now better-known as socialite and fashion designer Victoria Beckham)
- Arcueid's design in Tsukihime was based upon a nameless occidental model◊ whom the artist Takashi Takeuchi once glimpsed in a fashion magazine and was so smitten by that he decided to recreate her appearance from memory and give it to the female lead of the game.
- The two female love interests in Dragon Age: Origins were modeled after real women (Leliana after an adult model Alexandra Stein, and Morrigan, after Victoria Johnson)—at least in the Sacred Ashes trailer (which not entirely dissimilar from the released game).
- Many of the NPC character portraits in Neverwinter Nights strongly resemble not just celebrity actors, but specific photographs of those actors. In most cases, the photos were legally licensed for use, but when it turned out that some were used without permission, the offending portraits had to be redrawn.
- You can actually do this with your Commander Shepard in Mass Effect. The default apperance of the male Commander Shepard is modeled after Dutch model Mark Vanderloo.
- Mr. Torgue of Borderlands 2 was based on Randy Savage. Word of God also states that Handsome Jack was based on Nathan Fillion.
- Jennifer, the main character of Clock Tower and its first sequel, looks just like Jennifer Connelly. The game was inspired by Dario Argento movies (especially Phenomena, which starred Connelly), so the resemblance is clearly intentional, as another one of the developers' homages.
- Pokémon X and Y: Diantha was clearly based on Audrey Hepburn, down to being an actress.
- The development team behind the Nancy Drew games uses celebrities as inspiration for their character designs, as stated in an interview. Many characters bear resemblance to certain famous actors, such as a Scottish character looking suspiciously like David Tennant.
- Similarly, the photo◊ of George Fayne owes a lot to Tina Fey, and Victor Lossett◊ of The Deadly Device is rather blatantly a photo of Obadiah Stane era Jeff Bridges.
- In Superman: The Animated Series, Lex Luthor was based on Telly Savalas and Metallo seems to have been based on James Coburn, while Dan "Terrible" Turpin is modeled after his creator, Jack Kirby.
- In Aladdin, Aladdin was based on Tom Cruise.
- Earlier designs took inspiration from Michael J. Fox, but it was realized that it would be unlikely a girl as hot as Princess Jasmine would fall for somebody like that.
- Carl Fredrickson from Up is inspired by Spencer Tracy, with a bit of Walter Matthau thrown in. His childhood hero turned nemesis, Charles Muntz, resembles Kirk Douglas.
- In The Little Mermaid, Ursula was based on, of all people, drag queen and John Waters regular Divine.
- Anastasia is a combination of Audrey Hepburn and her voice actress, Meg Ryan, making her both this trope and Ink-Suit Actor.
- The wicked queen in Snow White was based on Katharine Hepburn.
- Cinderella was based on Ingrid Bergman
- Sleeping Beauty: Helene Stanley was the physical model for Aurora.
- Gaston in Beauty and the Beast bears an uncanny resemblance to Bruce Campbell. He's even introduced with a boomstick in his hand.
- It goes further than that. In his first appearance he's wearing the "Groovy" Smile.
- Belle was based on a range of actresses, including Audrey Hepburn.
- Trevor Goodchild in Æon Flux has a distinct resemblance to David Bowie, especially at the climax of "The Purge" when he's dressed up like a music-hall act.
- The Boondocks' Hateocracy consists of Lord Rufus Crabmiser, Lady Esmerelda Gripenasty and Mister George Pistofferson. Their designs are based on Redd Foxx, Lawanda Page and Jimmy Walker, respectively.
- Tony Stark is not only drawn to look like Robert Downey, Jr. in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but sounds like Downey, too. You could be forgiven for thinking that his voice actor, Eric Loomis, is doing a pretty good impression of Downey, but as it turns out, that's actually Eric's normal voice.
- Word of God has confirmed that Randa Duane, the sexy Femme Fatale who appeared in "Heart of Steel" in Batman: The Animated Series, was based on Marilyn Monroe.
- If you know who Cab Calloway is, then you'll pick up on Oogie Boogie's similarities to him.
- Mr. DeMartino from Daria is based on Christopher Walken.
- Chris Bradford on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) is rather obviously based on Chuck Norris.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, Damage Control is run by a Canon Foreigner called "Mac" who is drawn to resemble Damage Control's creator, the late Dwayne McDuffie.
- Artemis from Young Justice was designed to resemble Hanah Cook, the mixed-race daughter of one of Greg Weisman's frequent collaborators.
- Magpie's design in Beware the Batman is inspired by pop star Lady Gaga. Magpie's original design was more akin to that of a punk rocker or hair metal musician.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Piandao looks quite a lot like Sifu Kisu, a man who works on the show as a martial arts consultant.
- In The Legend of Korra, one of the people who became airbenders in the third season, a Basement-Dweller named Ryu, looks like and has the same first name as the series' art director, Ryu Ki Hyun
- Agents Kessler and Costello from Regular Show look exactly like David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
- Concept art online from a proposed Doctor Who cartoon by Nelvana depicts a Doctor with an extremely strong resemblance to Christopher Lloyd.
- Clyde, the leader of The Ant Hill Mob in Wacky Races and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, is based on Edward G Robinson.