The ten most eye-catching stars in drag

When actors swap trousers and shirts for blouses and skirts

0

Comments

Add +

In ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, Jared Leto joins a proud tradition of cross-dressing actors. He pulls it off, too, with a David Bowie-like, androgynous appeal. We’ve taken a dip into the movie make-up box to find out which actors make drag work for them – and which ones just look like a pig in lipstick.

  • Ryan Gosling in ‘All Good Things’ (2010)

    The character
    Emotionally unstable rich kid and possible murderer, on the run from the cops following his wife’s disappearance.

    The look
    Hard to describe, but late middle-aged bourgeois transsexual game-show host just about covers it.

    Hot or not
    Pretty seriously not. Ryan may be the heartthrob of the internet, but a combination of ageing make-up and massive tinted specs render him about as sexy as a gorilla in a tutu.

    Read review

  • Michael J Fox in ‘Back to the Future Part II’ (1989)

    The character
    Marlene McFly, the daughter of Fox's own character, Marty, from the first movie, and a typical, glued-to-her-spacephone twenty-first-century teenager.

    The look
    Blonde, peppy, clad in a sort of terylene bag ensemble, which will doubtless come screaming into fashion when we catch up with the movie’s actual timeline in 2015.

    Hot or not
    Well, ‘hot’ would definitely be pushing it, and Marlene's first hair-tossing appearance is kind of unnerving. But Fox’s youthful features are a blessing, so not as horrific as it might have been.

    Read review

  • Terry Jones in ‘The Life of Brian’ (1979)

    The character
    Mandy Cohen, the black-clad Bethlehem battleaxe who turns out not to be the mother of the Messiah, but merely mum to a very naughty boy.

    The look
    Swaddled in sackcloth and shrieking like a harpy, Mandy is the living epitome of that shrill, sexually repressive nightmare matriarch who seemed particularly popular in the 1970s.

    Hot or not
    Not. Very, very, very, very, very not.

    Read review

  • Dustin Hoffman in ‘Tootsie’ (1982)

    The character
    Dustin Hoffman as Michael Dorsey, aka Dorothy Michaels, the hottest newcomer on the soap-opera scene. Because it’s really so much easier for middle-aged women to get roles.

    The look
    Pure Deirdre Barlow from 'Coronation Street' chic, long before it was cool: big specs, worrying bouffant, fairly subtle Laura Ashley-ish floral print.

    Hot or not
    It’s a fine, Oscar-nominated performance, but our Dusty never really manages to look like anything other than a short Jewish actor in a dress. Still, if that’s your thing, sure, hot as hell.

    Read review

  • Divine in ‘Hairspray’ (1988)

    The character
    Edna Turnblad, Baltimore housewife and mom to Ricki Lake‘s dance-crazy teenager.

    The look
    Slattern 1960s housefrau, all hair curlers and a dress like a tent.

    Hot or not
    Not. Dowdy Edna is a comedown from John Waters muse Divine's usual bad-bitch pin-up look.

    Read review

  • Alec Guinness in ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’ (1949)

    The character
    Proud aristocratic suffragette Lady Agatha D’Ascoyne, cruelly murdered by an arrow in a hot-air balloon while leafleting in Berkeley Square.

    The look
    Agatha is a statuesque matriarch with her bustles firmly buttressed.

    Hot or not
    The great Sir Alec Guinness was many things, but ‘hot’ was never one of them. Sticking him in a dress didn’t help.

    Read review

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor in ‘Kinky Boots’ (2005)

    The character
    Fairy godmother drag queen strutting to the rescue of a failing shoe factory.

    The look
    Diva to the max, scarlet sequins and thigh-high boots.

    Hot or not
    Hot. You’ve got to admit, ‘12 Years a Slave’ star Chiwetel doesn't half scrub up in a frock.

    Read review

  • The ladies of ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ (1994)

    The character
    Three lip-synching queens crossing the desert to put on a show, played by Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce.

    The look
    Too bling for the Aussie outback. Outrageous glitter frocks, vertigo-inducing stilettos and more bra padding than a high-school prom.

    Hot or not
    Scorchio!

    Read review

  • Jack Lemmon in ‘Some Like it Hot’ (1959)

    The character
    Double-bass player Jerry is on the run from the mob, cunningly disguised in drag while on the road with an all-girl band.

    The look
    Olympic swimming champion got dressed in the dark.

    Hot or not
    Hot enough for a certain bashful billionaire to take a shine to him/her.

    Read review

  • Johnny Depp in ‘Before Night Falls’ (2000)

    The character
    Jailhouse drag queen, and a total hero(ine). Johnny struts out of prison with a contraband book firmly inserted… well, you know where.

    The look
    Barbie doll meets drunken sailor, tattoos and all.

    Hot or not
    Kind of, yeah. And a darn sight less creepy than ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

    Read review

Ryan Gosling in ‘All Good Things’ (2010)

The character
Emotionally unstable rich kid and possible murderer, on the run from the cops following his wife’s disappearance.

The look
Hard to describe, but late middle-aged bourgeois transsexual game-show host just about covers it.

Hot or not
Pretty seriously not. Ryan may be the heartthrob of the internet, but a combination of ageing make-up and massive tinted specs render him about as sexy as a gorilla in a tutu.

Read review

The latest film top tens

The top ten time travel cockups on film

The potential downsides to mucking about with the space-time continuum.

Read more

The ten most outrageous action scenes

Strap yourself in. No, seriously.

Read more

The ten most unlikely Oscar nominees

Seeing their names in the history books will forever make us do a double take.

Read more

Ten eye-catching actors in drag

From Johnny Depp to Ryan Gosling, when actors swap trousers and shirts for blouses and skirts.

Read more

See all film top tens

Users say

2 comments
Uzma Mir
Uzma Mir

Well I definitely learn't a few things from this article - namely most men do not make attractive women! However how could this list go down without a mention of TOO WOO FOO! Now I can't honestly say whether Swayze was 'Hot' as a woman, but I said it before and I'll say it again (against my psychologists wishes) but that was one handsome woman - even Chris Penn wanted to get some!! And sorry Wesley Snipes was pretty H-O-T! In the women's Basketball outfit! amazing! Plus I spent years arguing with my sister that Chi-Chi was played by a woman in real life. I mean even sexy Michael Vartan thought so!

Janeta
Janeta

What? No Cillian Murphy in "Breakfast on Pluto"?? Shocker! SHOCK-ERRR!!!!

Best films now showing

1

Interstellar

  • Rated as: 5/5

It's the one we've all been waiting for. And it's a solid gold winner

2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

  • Rated as: 4/5

Katniss is back!

3

The Imitation Game

  • Rated as: 4/5

Cumbers is at it again, playing another tortured, flawed genius

See more Time Out film reviews