Hollywood is a town that loves to repeat success. One only needs to look at the history of sequels to see that. That’s not to mention the love for reboots washing over the cineplexes. Hollywood has long gone to what’s worked before in other to see it happen again. That includes the slews of TV shows based on movies, many forgettable but some even more successful. This, of course, leads to comedowns in casting although some are notable. Melanie Griffith was a huge star for the movie version of Working Girl while Sandra Bullock was an unknown in the brief TV show version. Today, Bullock is an Oscar-winning mega-star and Griffith pretty much retired so it shows how funny things can work.
This means that several roles are recast and thus many actresses playing the same character. It’s interesting to see them, sometimes younger versions, other times stepping into an established role. Reboots also mean actresses putting a different spin on things. It’s impressive to see how many times women play the same role from historical figures to comic book characters and past TV parts. They’ve been noted before but there are still plenty of examples to make you wonder who was hotter in the role. Here are a few more pairs of actresses (and two trios) who played the same character and who looked hotter in the part but both doing a fine job catching attention.
15 Rachel Dawes: Katie Holmes vs Maggie Gyllenhaal
After years of missteps, Batman Begins got the Dark Knight back on track in the movies. Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the character was met with massive hails thanks to Christian Bale’s performance. Katie Holmes played Rachel Dawes, Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend, now a district attorney trying to clean up Gotham. She was tough if a bit out of her league in fights and hit with fear gas but held her own in the action-packed finale. The ending indicated she’d be sticking around but Holmes bowed out of the sequel. Rumor is then-husband Tom Cruise pushed her not to and Holmes just backing down.
For The Dark Knight, Maggie Gyllenhaal took on the part. The actress had her own nice vibe and sexual presence and made Rachel even more likeable. She was caught between Bruce and Harvey Dent and it led to a dark fate fans hated. Yet, while Gyllenhaal is very sexy in her own right, Holmes had a nice quality to make her Rachel hotter. Fans can debate the character’s end but it’s clear Holmes was the sexier turn as Rachel.
14 Clary Fray: Lilly Collins vs Katherine McNamara
The Mortal Instruments is a popular young adult literary series. It focuses on Clary Fray, a teenager who discovers she’s part of a lineage of angel-like hunters fighting demons in modern New York. Lionsgate decided to make it their next big franchise, filming City of Bones with Lilly Collins cast as Clary. The studio had high hopes, even announcing production of the sequel to begin a month after the first movie’s release. However, Bones ended up underperforming so far below expectations that the studio canceled the plans for the follow-ups. A shame as Collins was good in the part, showing nice drive and some neat outfits with a charm.
In 2015, the Freeform network revived the property as Shadowhunters, a weekly TV show. Katherine McNamara took on the role of Clary and given more to do with action and mixing up spells. Her lush red hair made her stand out and her nubile body on display from fighting to some bedroom scenes. The show has done far better than the movie with the material and McNamara better fitting Clary well. Thus, a rare case of the TV show far better not just in terms of quality but in how its leading lady stands out. If you’re hunting for a sexy redhead, McNamara is the one to go for.
13 Uhura: Nichelle Nichols vs Zoe Saldana
Star Trek was a groundbreaking series in many ways. But one of the biggest was that a 1966 TV show was giving a black woman a prominent role. True, most of the time, Uhura was simply there in red skirts to report what was on communications. But Nichelle Nichols made it stand out with a great aura and humor. She and William Shatner made history with an on-screen interracial kiss and an episode of Uhura in the “Mirror Universe” showed a hotter side. Nichols made the role her own through the series and six movies and a role model even with her sexy side.
When J.J. Abrams rebooted the franchise in 2009, he chose Zoe Saldana as Uhura. This version was more independent, a language expert who got into plenty of action stuff. She was also in a relationship with Spock, a rather surprising move for fans. Saldana is known for a great sexy manner and she looked amazing in the part and that red uniform. Yet Nichols just had a special aura to herself, the 1960s vibe helping and more warm-hearted as well as continuing to look great as she aged. So while Saldana was good to look at, Nichols is the one who made Uhura a classic sci-fi sex symbol.
12 Sarah Connor: Linda Hamilton vs Lena Headey vs Emilia Clarke
Three actresses have put their unique stamp on this role. In the original Terminator, Linda Hamilton was Sarah, a waitress hunted as she’s going to give birth to the savior of humanity. She was attractive, including a love scene, to help make the movie a hit. For the sequel, Hamilton transformed Sarah into a hardened warrior and lean as hell, her form rocking fans by looking hot doing pull-ups and packing weapons. Her presence was missed in the third film as Hamilton made Sarah believable as a fighter.
For the TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Lena Headey stepped into the part, fresh off of 300. She played the role a bit differently, tougher but caring of her son. She didn’t do much sexy stuff as she was obsessed with saving the world but threw herself into combat sequences with a wild fury and Headey looked amazing in jeans and a tank top to stand out well.
In Terminator Genysis, Emilia Clarke took on the part. The movie’s wild plot retconned the storyline with Sarah trained since childhood as a fighter and harder in combat. However, as sexy as Clarke can be, she lacked the same heat (not helped by the horrible script) and not as great as the previous two. Headey just comes off amazingly hot in any role so as great as Hamilton was, in terms of sexiness, Headey did her one better to make Sarah a woman as well as warrior.
11 Irene Adler: Rachel McAdams vs Lara Pulver vs Natalie Dormer
This is a case of not two but three women doing something amazing with one role. In Sherlock Holmes lore she is known as “the woman.” A con artist, thief and schemer, Irene Adler stole the story “A Scandal in Bohemia,” actually managing to get one over on Holmes and running free which he had to respect. She’s popped up in several forms of media, two of which are notable. In 2009’s Sherlock Holmes, Rachel McAdams played the part with a good charm, wicked humor, showing off in some nice outfits and more. She had a good connection to Holmes, almost a game with him and even sharing a kiss. She reprised the role in a sequel but briefly when she made the mistake of trying to take out Moriarty and paying the price.
In the BBC’s Sherlock, Irene pops up in “A Scandal in Belgravia” as a dominatrix blackmailing a royal family. This version is far more open to the point where she lounges naked in front of Sherlock and throws the usually unflappable detective for a loop. Lara Pulver oozed sexual radiance in the part, looking fantastic and showcasing a very nice form to herself.
Finally, on Elementary, another modern take, Irene was supposedly killed by the evil Moriarty, pushing Holmes into drug use. However, she popped up alive and well, played by Natalie Dormer and showing a nice charm. But in a stunning twist, this Irene was Moriarty, using Holmes all along. She was busted but later returned and Dormer lovely showing a very hot side off. Yet Pulver’s bold and frank take puts both women in the dust and thus, in this battle of the trio, it’s she who steals the prize of sexiness.
10 Kathryn Merteuli: Sarah Michelle Gellar vs Amy Adams
1999’s Cruel Intentions had Sarah Michelle Gellar breaking away from her Buffy character big time. She played Kathryn Merteuli, the queen bee of her prep school, a conniving and quite possibly sociopathic woman who loved the power she had. The entire movie revolved around her and her stepbrother playing a twisted game over the affections of an innocent woman (Reese Witherspoon) with Kathryn promising if Sebastian wins he “can have what you’ve been dreaming about,” Kathryn. It’s a dark ride with stuff like Gellar kissing Selma Blair and hot outfits to show her wicked edges before her comedown.
Fox decided to make a TV show, Manchester Prep, showing the early days of this twisted woman. Cast in the part of Kathryn was a young Amy Adams who played a Kathryn learning her ways, even trying to play by the rules but realized the best way to get ahead was to manipulate everyone around her. The series was axed before it even premiered with the pilot turned into a direct-to-video sequel. It’s notable showing a sexier side to Adams before her career took off. But it pales next to Gellar’s great turn to make Kathryn a woman to hate but loved to look at.
9 Jeanie Bueller: Jennifer Aniston vs Jennifer Grey
Over thirty years later, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is still one of the most loved comedies ever. The offbeat tale of a teenager most would dream of being is enjoyed for its fun and fourth-wall breaking. When we first see Jeanie Bueller, Ferris’ sister, she’s played by Jennifer Grey, the one person who manages to see through Ferris’ act and can’t believe her parents fall for it. She spends the movie trying to bust him, getting arrested but in the end, stands up for him to get him out of trouble. Grey was charming in the role, showing nice beauty and even some sexy bits making out with felon Charlie Sheen.
NBC decided to make the movie into a TV show with a totally new cast. However, it was a mess, not grasping what made the movie work, the lead nowhere near as good as Matthew Broderick and it was canceled after thirteen episodes. Playing the role of Jeanie was a then-unknown actress named Jennifer Aniston. Aniston of course would become one of the sexiest women alive but at this time, she looked a bit rough and not as hot as Grey had been. Grey would later do a guest-star turn on Friends to let the two Jeanies share a scene but while Aniston was hotter then, the original was the better for this role.
8 Betty Ross: Jennifer Connelly vs Liv Tyler
2003’s Hulk was a major misfire for Marvel. Ang Lee eschewed major action for more psychology, Eric Bana was bad in the lead and the plot made little sense. Worse was the casting of Jennifer Connelly, one of the most gorgeous women alive, and giving her nearly nothing to do. Connelly is a smoldering presence on screen, an Oscar-winner who’s shown a fondness for baring all but talented. Yet all she had to do was stand and looked shocked and yet another reason the movie is one Marvel themselves prefer to ignore ever being made.
2008’s The Incredible Hulk is also a bit forgotten (mostly due to how Edward Norton was so bad on set that he was replaced by Mark Ruffalo) despite a part of the MCU. This one did have more action with Liv Tyler cast as Betty. She was also quite hot although again, mostly on the sidelines although a bit more interaction with the Hulk helped. It’s tough given how both gorgeous ladies weren’t given the chance to really cut loose but as attractive as Tyler is, Connelly always has an edge when it comes to glamour under any circumstances.
7 Penny Pingleton: Amanda Bynes vs Ariana Grande
One of the more bizarre “full circle” stories, Hairspray began as a cult John Walters movie. It was then transformed into a Tony-winning Broadway musical hit and in 2007, filmed as a movie once more. The cast included Amanda Bynes as Penny Pingleton, the straight-laced friend of main character Tracy. Known for pigtails and chewing gum, Penny blossoms over the show as she falls for the suave Seaweed and grows more. Bynes was great in the role with charm and good singing voice and showed nicely in her outfits. Sadly, it now stands to show the great career Bynes could have had if she hadn’t epically self-destructed.
In 2016, NBC made Hairspray the latest in their annual live musicals. Ariana Grande was chosen as Penny, the woman known for mixing comedy with a fantastic singing voice. Thus, she stood out from the start growing nicely as the show went on. In the finale, she cut loose in a hot green dress and knee-high boots to steal the show and look amazing. Bynes was good but clearly Grande far hotter in many ways to show how much Penny cashed in on sexiness.
6 Supergirl: Laura Vandervoort vs Melissa Benoist
The cousin of Superman has had some changes over the years (including killed off and replaced by a shape-changer turned angel) but retained a nice charm. Helen Slater played the part in a 1984 movie that was sadly rather terrible. In the seventh season of Smallville, the producers brought Kara on, played by Laura Vandervoort. She had a great spunk with the idea of her baffled as to why Clark insisted on keeping their powers hidden as she loved showing off. Vandervoort had a fun outfit of a t-shirt baring her belly and shorts, allowing Vandervoort to show off her great toned legs and form with a nice smile to make her very sexy.
In 2015, CBS launched Supergirl, a regular series and the surprising choice of Melissa Benoist in the lead. The former Glee star wasn’t known as a huge knock out (despite her topless scene in Homeland) so having her in the lead was throwing. But Benoist has showcased a lovely charm in the role and fans loving her take on the adorkable Kara in her daytime life as well as handling the action scenes. Yet as attractive as Benoist is, Vandervoort clearly had the edge in the hot looks. Ironically, Vandervoort guest-starred on the first season as the blue-skinned Indigo, letting the two Supergirls go at it. It also showed that while Benoist may have the heart of the character, Vandervoort is far sexier.
5 Cher Horowitz: Alicia Silverstone vs Rachel Blanchard
The 1995 comedy Clueless remains a beloved hit today. Its take on a seemingly vapid girl who was smarter than she seemed was great and its whip-smart dialogue has inspired slews of imitators. Alicia Silverstone was never as great as Cher, terrific with her blonde hair and astounding fashions and looking glamorous through it all. It was her breakout part and she did a great job, putting a sexy spin on this teenager handling life in her own fashion.
With the movie a hit, ABC decided to make a TV version. Its first season was rough but it blossomed after moving to UPN. Most of the cast reprised their roles but Silverstone was obviously too busy. Thus, Rachel Blanchard was cast as Cher instead and did a good job making the role not a parody but heartfelt. She got to show off more, including in bikinis and her own lovely charm to make the show a success. Yet Blanchard couldn’t quite match Silverstone, a truly hot woman in her prime and thus, as good as the show could be, the film version of Cher was the better.
4 Anne Boleyn: Natalie Portman vs Natalie Dormer
The ill-fated second wife of Henry VIII, much has been written about Anne Boleyn in different ways. It thus makes sense that two projects feature actresses who seem to showcase the differing historical views of the woman. In The Other Boleyn Girl, Natalie Portman played Anne (with Scarlett Johansson as her sister, Mary) and was shown as a cunning schemer out to get the throne. It takes the idea of Anne cheating on Henry and asking for her fate, Portman showing a nice drive if a bit held back at times. More than one critic noted how it might have been better if Portman and Johansson had switched roles as Portman is hot but a vixen is a bit much.
The Tudors was a Showtime series focused on Henry so naturally, Anne appeared. This version had her hot of course and was the breakout role for Natalie Dormer. She showed a great charm, some body-baring love scenes but also a heart for the character. Her Anne was shown truly loving Henry and it was his jealousy and court politics leading to her death. Dormer just steamed up the screen majorly and made you feel for her. Dormer is just sexy as hell anyway so no surprise she stood out far better as Anne than Portman did.
3 Lisbeth Slander: Rooney Mara vs Noomi Rapace
From the moment The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was published, readers were fascinated by Lisbeth Slander. The punk hacker won them over with her drive and her daring, fighting a conspiracy while also taking it to the man who had abused her for years. In 2009, Sweden released a movie version starring Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth. She was amazingly hot with the wild hair, tattoos and more, going all out in love scenes with men and women alike and burning up the screen. Rapace reprised the role for two sequels to break out majorly.
In 2011, David Fincher directed an American version with Rooney Mara chosen as he wanted an unknown in the part. Mara went out with piercings and dying her hair black, a bit rougher but still in some hot circumstances. Yet she couldn’t quite match the fierce aura Rapace had. True, Rapace had two more chances in the role while Mara only played her once but clearly showed a better grasp of the character and steamier in the part. Mara may get some attention but it’s Rapace who’s truly on fire with Lisbeth.
2 Queen Elizabeth I: Cate Blanchett vs Rachel Skarsten
Most versions of the British monarch picture her as older such as Judi Dench or Helen Mirren. But two actresses have been able to make Elizabeth I not only appealing but downright sexy as hell. In 1998’s Elizabeth, she was shown as a younger woman, more into romance before the issues of the crown forced her to get serious. It was the star-making role for Cate Blanchett, earning her first Oscar nomination and she was wondrous in it. Blanchett reprised the role for 2007’s The Golden Age, making her the only woman nominated for an Oscar twice for the same role and showed the steamy side of the monarch.
For the first two seasons of the CW’s Reign, Elizabeth was mentioned but never seen as the rival for Mary. She finally appeared in the third season, played by popular Canadian actress Rachel Skarsten. The actress had a good accent but showed some very sexy sides to Elizabeth, a cunning smile, naked baths and several hot hook-ups (when a would-be suitor refers to her as “the Virgin Queen,” she has to fight not to laugh). The producers of the series were sad the CW canceled it a year early as they had a lot more planned for Skarsten. Indeed, she showed a far sexier take on the queen and while Blanchett may have the awards, Skarsten smoldered majorly to bow down to.
1 Clarice Starling: Jodie Foster vs Julianne Moore
Jodie Foster may not be as much of a knockout as others but when she tries, she can show an amazing sex side to herself. In 1991, Foster landed the key role of Clarice Starling, the FBI rookie who, to catch one serial killer, engages in a battle of wills with the twisted Hannibal Lecter. The Silence of the Lambs was not only a box office hit but one of only three films to win Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor and Actress. While making Clarice a full-relatable character, Foster actually made her sexy without trying, the chemistry with Anthony Hopkins electric.
When the sequel, Hannibal, was produced, Foster was reached out to. However, she had issues with the script, the tone and not wanting to repeat a role. So she passed on it and the producers turned to Julianne Moore instead. In terms of the performance, Moore, despite all her talent, couldn’t replicate Foster’s power or even her accent. However, Moore is a stunningly beautiful woman who’s shown her sexual prowess in a variety of roles and still one of the hottest actresses around. While Moore may not have been Foster’s equal to the role in talent, she sure made Clarice a hotter figure.