Will Smith's Richard Williams in “King Richard” & 14 Other Historical Figures Who Come to Life on Screen

Photo Courtesy: Warner Bros./IMDb

If a talented actor is lucky, they'll give a performance that completely redefines how audiences perceive them. Not to mention, these landmark roles usually help them nab a few awards in the process. We've seen a lot of impressive performances this year, including Kristen Stewart's critically lauded portrayal of Princess Diana in Spencer. While many folks still associate Stewart with her Twilight days, she's given multiple outstanding performances in films like Clouds of Sils Maria (2014).

Then, there are actors like Will Smith who've starred in several biopics over the years. Smith's portrayals of Muhammad Ali, Chris Gardner, and Bennet Omalu garnered numerous awards and Oscar nominations. Smith's portrayal of Richard Williams in King Richard (2021) will also add another prestigious milestone to this renaissance man's career. We're taking a closer look at Will Smith and Kristen Steward's acclaimed performances, and we're exploring 13 other instances when actors brought well-known historical figures to life on the big screen. Some are from this year — and are potential Oscar contenders — while others are some of our enduring favorites.