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Leonardo DiCaprio is an actor of many talents, but the man seems particularly drawn to portraying the historical and the great in biopics. His latest project, announced earlier this week, is to take on the role of President Woodrow Wilson, in Wilson, a film that he will also produce. Wilson, based on the biography by A. Scott Berg of the same name, is an intimate look at our nation’s 28th president, elected in 1912 and leader throughout WWI.

Though the project is in its infant stages and we won’t know for awhile what parts of the presidency the film will choose to focus on, it is likely that DiCaprio will turn out a strong performance as the president. He’s in good company. Let’s take a look at five other esteemed actors who have stepped into the oval office to play a Commander in Chief at some point in their careers.

Daniel Day-Lewis – Abraham Lincoln

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Daniel Day-Lewis’ powerful portrayal of Honest Abe in 2012’s Lincoln earned him both a Golden Globe and an Oscar. The film focused on the later years of Lincoln’s presidency, ending at his assassination. Notorious method actor Lewis prepared for the role by dressing as Lincoln and adopting the president’s mannerisms and characteristics during the entire filming. Clearly, it paid off.

Josh Brolin – George W. Bush

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Josh Brolin’s harsh, critical portrayal of George W. Bush in 2008’s W. is especially bold when you remember that the film was released while Bush was still in office. Playing Bush from his years as a frat boy at Yale up until 2004, right after the US invasion of Iraq, Brolin captured many of the nuances that made Bush such a memorable public figure. Apparently, Brolin even got praise from President Bush himself, who, despite the rough subject matter, said he “liked it very much.”

Paul Giamatti – John Adams

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Who better to play an eccentric president than the eccentric Paul Giamatti? In the acclaimed 2008 HBO miniseries John Adams, Giamatti played the second president in a storyline chronicling his political life and his role in the founding of the United States. For his role, Giamatti won a Golden Globe and an Emmy; the show itself won more Emmy awards that year (thirteen) than any miniseries in the history of television. Though the series wasn’t as lush as, say, a BBC production, Giamatti was praised for his honest and frank performance in the gritty environment.

Anthony Hopkins – Richard Nixon

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Leave it to Hannibal Lector himself to play the most intense version of Richard Nixon on film to this date. Anthony Hopkin’s performance in 1995’s Nixon earned him an Oscar nod for his chilling portrayal of the disgraced president as he dealt with the Watergate scandal, abused drugs and alcohol and was eventually impeached. Hopkins was able to adopt Nixon’s now-infamous mannerisms and strange patterns of speech with great skill, portraying him as a hunched, stiff and blubbering man. You know you’ve tapped into something great when the Nixon Presidential Library issues a statement calling your film
“reprehensible.”

Greg Kinnear – John F. Kennedy

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Though Greg Kinnear is mostly known for comedic roles, he has grown into a fantastic dramatic actor as well, especially displayed in his depiction of President John F. Kennedy in the 2011 Reelz miniseries The Kennedys. Kinnear plays JFK from his days in the army prior to becoming a politician, all the way up until his assassination. Though the miniseries was not well-received by critics, Kinnear received an Emmy nod for his JFK impression, which was a more grim, solemn version of the president than many of us are used to seeing.

Honorable Mention: the entire cast of Lee Daniels’ The Butler