Film is a wonderful medium: one that conquers fiction, non-fiction, and often an intriguing blend of both. Screenwriters take inspiration from a number of places, and when it comes to their characters, that place is likely to be real, living people. Whether it be a neighbor, a relative, a teacher, or even a famous criminal, characters come from a place of familiarity, and a large part of writing comes in the attempt to make these characters leap off the page and seem totally real.
Many characters throughout history have been based on real people, however, and while you might not think to consider characters from original comedies or thrillers to be based on anything from our own reality, it's surprising just how many of them actually are.
What follows is a list 10 of the most interesting and unbelievable movie characters who exist (or have existed) in real life...
10. Frank Costello - The Departed
Now here's a good one: although the character has the same name as a notorious Italian mobster, Frank Costello of The Departed is actually based on Whitey Bulger. In the film, Frank Costello (played by an intense Jack Nicholson) is one of the biggest, baddest guys around- and the writers weren't far off. Costello, a mob boss and FBI informant in the movie, was openly based on Bulger, who in real life, was a big mob name and in the '90s was an FBI informant himself. In his darkest days, Whitey Bulger was a notorious Boston criminal who went to trial for 32 counts of different crimes. While Bulger is currently locked up (after 16 years of evading the authorities he was finally caught in 2012), his movie alter ego was not so lucky - at the end of The Departed, Costello is shot and killed when he is found out. The movie did a great job of pulling in Bulger's story to create a new, even more messed up organised crime cluster that is almost impossible to believe.
Colleen is an aspiring scriptwriter with a knack for puns and trouble avoiding speeding tickets. She enjoys NBC and BBC, along with the rest of the alphabet. She spends her days working on The Morning After for Hulu.com.