ByKerry Cepero, writer at
Do or do not, there is no try..
Kerry Cepero

When you are tapped to play a role that's dark, there comes the task of finding the proper muse to prepare for it. You can't play evil unless you draw from something really evil. Actors have often had to dig deep to unleash a darker side of themselves to play an evil character, and at times it requires basing their work on screen on the real life-actions of a criminal. So, I went on a journey to find actors who based their characters on real-life criminals.

Let's see who I found:

1. James Gandolfini - Vincent Palermo

Before he sadly passed before his time, James Gandolfini gave us one of the most memorable gangsters on cable TV. Tony Soprano was everything you wanted in a modern day mafia crime boss, I mean the man had a pair of stones on him. What you probably didn't know is that James based Tony on New Jersey Capo Vincent "Vinny Ocean" Palermo, boss of the DeCavalcante crime family.

2. Zachary Quinto - Ed Gein

Zachary has played baddies in the past before (SYLAR LIVES), but to play the maniac Bloody Face in American Horror Story Season 2, he had to dig into the depths of evil since his character was modeled after the infamous Ed Gein. This guy exhumed corpses for the purpose of using the remains to make lamps and stands and other creepy household items.

3. Lady Gaga - Robert Durst

Our fair Lady Gaga recently told Jamie Lee Curtis that her blood sucking Countess on American Horror Story was based off another Hollywood ghoul. The hotel owning vampire was based on Robert Durst, the man suspected of killing his first wife, Kathleen, and his former best friend, Susan Berman. Mr. Durst was also suspected of killing and dismembering his elderly neighbor, Morris Black.

4. Michael C Hall - Manuel Pardo

The serial killer hero Dexter, who hunted the worst of the worst in South Florida, was actually based on a real person. I always thought the concept of Dexter was just a simple idea — an antihero who fulfilled the wish of every wannabe vigilante — but in actuality he was based on ex-Miami cop Manuel Pardo. This guy, who was executed in Florida, killed six men and three women in 1986 after he deemed them to all be drug dealers.

Want to add to the list? Comment below!


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