10 Young Stars We'd Cast to Play Hollywood Icons in a Biopic
If the success of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman proves anything, it’s that people can’t get enough of biographical movies. We’re already looking forward to some of the many biographical films coming soon, including the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect starring Jennifer Hudson, the David Bowie biopic Stardust starring Johnny Flynn, the Elvis Presley biopic starring Austin Butler, and the (rumored) Bob Dylan biopic starring Timothée Chalamet. Of course, there are plenty of Hollywood actors, music legends, and other public figures who deserve their own movies, and we’ve rounded up a few we’d love to see (as well as the young celebrities we could totally picture playing those icons).
Icon: Janet Jackson
Singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer Janet Jackson is the 10th and youngest child of the Jackson family. She began her career on The Jacksons variety TV show in 1976 and went on – like her late brother Michael Jackson – to achieve international fame. Jackson is one of the world’s bestselling and highest-paid musical artists of all time, and in 2019, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her achievements.
Halle Bailey as Janet Jackson
Known for her roles in A Wrinkle in Time and Grown-ish, actress Halle Bailey is also one-half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, which makes her the perfect person to play the legendary Janet Jackson. (Oh, and did we mention they also happen to be the exact same height and bear more than a passing resemblance to each other?)
Icon: Anna May Wong
Anna May Wong is considered the first Chinese-American Hollywood movie star, as well as the first Chinese-American actress to gain international recognition. During the silent-film era, Wong gained fame through films such as The Toll of the Sea and The Thief of Baghdad, and in 1951, the actress made history with her TV show The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, which was the first TV show in the US with an Asian-American series lead.
Christine Ko as Anna May Wong
Michelle Krusiec may have played Anna May Wong on Netflix’s Hollywood, but we could also see Taiwanese-American actress Christine Ko (who’s known for her roles in Dave, Tigertail, and Upload, among others) taking on the trailblazing Hollywood star in a biopic, despite being a bit shorter than Wong was.
Icon: Mick Jagger
English singer, songwriter, actor, and film producer Mick Jagger gained worldwide fame as the lead singer and one of the founding members of legendary rock band The Rolling Stones. Over his five-decade career, Jagger has become known as one of the most iconic frontmen in rock-and-roll history, and in 1989, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, cementing his place in music history.
Harry Styles as Mick Jagger
It’s been rumored for years that English singer, songwriter, and actor Harry Styles will play Mick Jagger in a biopic, and though the One Direction alum previously shut down the rumors, we still think Styles is just the person to play the part of the Rolling Stones frontman.
Icon: Maria Montez
Dominican actress Maria Montez was known as “The Queen of Technicolor” for her roles in several Technicolor adventure films in the 1940s. Her memory lives on through the 26 films she appeared in during her lifetime, including Cobra Woman, Arabian Nights, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
Jackie Cruz as Maria Montez
Though she’s slightly taller than Maria Montez was, Dominican actress Jackie Cruz (whom you might recognize from Orange Is the New Black, Good Girls, and A Nice Girl Like You) bears a striking resemblance to the late Hollywood star.
Icon: Al Green
Known as “The Reverend Al Green” and “The Last of the Great Soul Singers,” Al Green is a singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to prominence in the early 1970s for soul hit singles like “Take Me to the River,” “Tired of Being Alone,” “I’m Still in Love With You,” and “Let’s Stay Together,” among dozens of others. Over the course of his career, Green has won 11 Grammy Awards, and in 1995, the soul legend was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Icon: Diahann Carroll
Actress, singer, and model Diahann Carroll rose to stardom in some of the earliest major studio films to feature mostly Black casts, such as Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess. She went on to star on Julia, the first series on American TV to star a Black woman in a nonstereotypical role, as well as on the long-running soap Dynasty. In 1962, Carroll became the first Black woman to win a Tony Award for best actress for her role in the Broadway musical No Strings.
Icon: Carlos Santana
Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana became a household name in the late 1960s with his band Santana, which helped pioneer the fusion of rock ‘n’ roll and Latin American jazz. Over the years, the musician has received 10 Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards, and in 1998, he was inducted – along with his band – into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Xolo Maridueña as Carlos Santana
At 19 years old, Cobra Kai actor Xolo Maridueña has plenty of time to grow into the role of Carlos Santana, not that he doesn’t already bear a resemblance. The former Parenthood star has already been nominated for a Young Artist Award, and he’s rumored to be starring in a musical drama called Blues Man as his next project.
Icon: Carmen Miranda
Brazilian samba singer, dancer, Broadway actress, and film star Carmen Miranda was known in Hollywood as “The Brazilian Bombshell” from the 1930s to the 1950s, when she ruled the silver screen. After appearing in movies like Down Argentine Way, That Night in Rio, and The Gang’s All Here, among several others, Miranda became the first South American honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Anitta as Carmen Miranda
Brazilian actress and singer Anitta may have a little height on the late Carmen Miranda, but she certainly has the moves and the voice to play “The Brazilian Bombshell” in a biopic.
Icon: Joni Mitchell
Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell rose to fame shortly after moving to the US in 1965. Mitchell has dabbled in several genres, mastered several instruments (including the guitar, piano, and dulcimer), and received nine Grammy Awards, and in 1997, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Kristine Froseth as Joni Mitchell
Though Joni Mitchell shot down the idea of Taylor Swift playing her in a biopic, we think Looking For Alaska and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser actress Kristine Froseth would also be a good candidate for playing the Canadian folk legend. Froseth doesn’t play the guitar or sing as far as we know, but we have a feeling she could learn to fake it convincingly enough (and really, who could actually master Mitchell’s vocal range?).
Icon: Pam Grier
Pam Grier achieved fame in the 1970s for her starring roles in several action and Blaxploitation films, including Coffy, Foxy Brown, and Jackie Brown. Considered by many to be cinema’s first woman action star, Grier has appeared in at least 50 movies and dozens of TV shows, which have earned her a Golden Globe and SAG Award for best actress, among other accolades.
Yara Shahidi as Pam Grier
She may be a few inches shorter than Pam Grier, but there’s no denying the resemblance between Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi and the Blaxploitation film star.