Kerry Washington & the Real Olivia Pope Meet IRL, Plus More Actors with the People Who Inspired Their Onscreen Roles
KERRY WASHINGTON & JUDY SMITH
The actress celebrated the end of Scandal with a wrap party, attended by none other than "The OG" Judy Smith, a real-life crisis manager and consultant on the show, who inspired the character of Olivia Pope on the hit ABC drama.
MARGOT ROBBIE & TONYA HARDING
The Aussie actress decided to meet Harding in person after feeling confident with how she'd portray the disgraced figure skater in I, Tonya, which landed Robbie an Oscar nomination. "She was more worried about me," Robbie explained to PEOPLE about what surprised her most about Harding. "I thought I was going to meet her to placate her but really she was more worried about me, how I was doing with the ice skating, how I was doing with the fame at a young age."
SARAH PAULSON & MARCIA CLARK
In her critically acclaimed portrayal of prosecutor Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Paulson not only found support from fans and the award shows (she won a Golden Globe and Emmy for the role), but from Clark herself, who has accompanied Paulson winner to various events.
"I know it’s not me. I know it’s her. She’s phenomenal, phenomenal,” Clark said on The View in 2016. “She’s always been. I’ve been a big fan of hers for a million years, so when I heard she was playing with me I was like, okay. It doesn’t get any better than that. And she’s amazing. What a beautiful, nuanced, subtle performance. She’s just phenomenal. Really, if nothing else, watch for her performance.”
EDDIE REDMAYNE & STEPHEN HAWKING
In 2014, Stephen Hawking's life was adapted into the film The Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne as the world-renowned physicist, who passed away in March 2018.
"I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well," Hawking said in a video interview. "At times, I thought it was me."
SELMA BLAIR & KRIS JENNER
They may have been friendly before Blair took on the role of momager Kris Jenner in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, but the actress still couldn't help but gush about the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star.
"It makes me sound so creepy, because I gush about Kris all the time and it sounds like I’m stalking [her]," Blair told PEOPLE of portraying Jenner. For the record, the actress thinks Kim Kardashian West's mama is "a very strong person and I’m happy to be associated with her in any way."
JAKE GYLLENHAAL & JEFF BAUMAN
In 2017, Gyllenhaal starred in the inspirational tear-jerker film, Stronger, which had the actor portray Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the actor opened up about the opportunity to play Bauman on the big screen.
"He made me realize that inside of us all is a superhero," Gyllenhaal told the outlet of what he's learned from Bauman. "Inside of us, in the darkest times, in times where we feel like people we love that we're close to are struggling through something that we can't get through or make it through another day or another hour or minute or second, that we can. There is that thing inside of us. Playing a character like that in a film was an opportunity for me to learn that about myself."
BRIE LARSON & JEANNETTE WALLS
In 2017, Larson took on the role of entertainment reporter Jeannette Walls (pictured next to Larson) in the film adaptation of The Glass Castle — Walls' memoir that depicted her poverty-stricken childhood and dysfunctional family. "When people say, 'Is this a dream come true?' I would have to be insane to dream that an Academy Award-winning actress would one day play me," Walls said of Larson on Today. "The dream come true was to be understand on such a profound and deep level."
REESE WITHERSPOON & CHERYL STRAYED
After reading Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild, Witherspoon decided to get the movie made — and to star as the lead in this true-life tale about her 1,100 mile solo hike and the life-altering moments that led up it. "On a personal level, I related to the loss and grief. I’ve been divorced. I’ve been a single mom," the Oscar winner told Deadline of why she worked on Wild. "I’ve had to say goodbye to people that I loved in my life. The way Cheryl synthesized those emotions made it feel like my story and everyone’s story. We are all on a solitary journey."
EMMA STONE & BILLIE JEAN KING
Speaking at Logo's Trailblazer Honors in 2016, where Billie Jean King was being recognized for her service to the LGBT community, Stone, who portrayed King in Battle of the Sexes, introduced her at the event and recalled an ill-fated game of tennis she played with King.
“What I lacked in tennis skills I hope I made up for in my ability to connect with her essence and understand the greater lesson of what she was saying,” Stone said of King's advice for Stone— “forget the bad ones, focus on the next ball.” — when the actress was getting frustrated with "hitting clunkers".
Stone added: “‘Let go of the negative, stay open and positive — the next ball might just be a good one.’ I feel like that’s something Billie has lived by her entire life.”
JENNIFER LAWRENCE & JOY MANGANO
"She is so beyond her years. Her talent, her depth," Joy Mangano told POPSUGAR of Lawrence, who portrayed the business mogul in Joy. "When you meet her, she has amazing humor. She has amazing insight. She's a brilliant, brilliant person, and I think that's really what enhances anything she does and why she's one of the number one actresses in the world."