Ashton Kutcher, 34, is the latest actor to portray a corporate exec. His resemblance to young Steve Jobs is striking. Done right, Kutcher’s performance in the upcoming indie flick could earn him favor with film critics, not to mention Apple (AAPL) devotees. As other actors, including Jesse Eisenberg and Leonardo DiCaprio, have shown, business personalities can be Oscar-worthy roles. Herewith some actors who excelled as executives onscreen.
Steve Jobs-Ashton Kutcher
Most of us hadn’t recognized it before, but Ashton Kutcher’s resemblance to Steve Jobs is unmistakable. The Punk’d star will play Apple’s (AAPL) co-founder in an upcoming indie biopic, Jobs, which will begin production in May.
Bernie Madoff-Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro will play Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff in an HBO movie. Here, De Niro speaks briefly with Bloomberg News about the upcoming film.
Mark Zuckerberg-Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a darkly ambitious Mark Zuckerberg in the 2010 film about Facebook, The Social Network.
Henry Ford-Cliff Robertson
Cliff Robertson (who won an Oscar for his role in the 1968 film Charly) played auto industry mogul Henry Ford in the 1987 TV movie Ford: The Man and the Machine.
Howard Hughes-Leonardo DiCaprio
Eccentric filmmaker, aviator, and Hughes Aircraft founder Howard Hughes—who also purchased a majority of TWA stock—was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2004 Martin Scorsese film The Aviator. DiCaprio got his second Oscar nomination for this role.
F. Ross Johnson-James Garner
James Garner plays F. Ross Johnson, the Canadian chief executive of RJR Nabisco, in the 1993 TV movie Barbarians at the Gate. The film follows the 1988 takeover of RJR Nabisco by buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
Martha Stewart-Cybill Shepherd
Both Martha Stewart and Cybill Shepherd were models in the 1960s (Shepherd is about nine years younger). Shepherd played the homemaking queen in the 2003 TV movie Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart. Among her quotes: “I'm writing your mother a letter telling her you're a whore.”
William Randolph Hearst-James Cromwell
L.A. Confidential star James Cromwell played publisher William Randolph Hearst in the 1999 TV movie RKO 281, about the production of the film Citizen Kane.
Bill Gates-Anthony Michael Hall
The 1999 TV film Pirates of Silicon Valley, about the history of Apple and Microsoft, not only features Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates, but also ER star Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs and Joey Slotnick as Steve Wozniak.
Lee Iacocca-Walter Addison
In an action scene from director Zack Snyder's 2009 adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel The Watchmen, the former auto mogul (played by lookalike actor Walter Addison) makes a brief appearance—before taking a bullet to the head. The real Iacocca was 83 when the film was released. "I think [the real] Lee's awesome," Snyder was quoted saying at the time. "But he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."