Our favourite fictional characters are very close to our hearts. But sometimes, these fictional characters turn out to not be so fictional after all.
Some of the popular fictional characters of all time – in movies, comic books or cartoons were actually inspired by real people.
Sometimes, the creators of these fictional characters copied the appearance of real persons, or sometimes they also took the character traits of real people.
Here are some incredible examples.
Harley Quinn— Arleen Sorkin
DC comics book character Harley Quinn was based on actress Arleen Sorkin. Paul Dini, the scriptwriter of "Batman: The Animated Series," created the Harley Quinn character to fix a plot hole.
In the episode "Joker's Favor", a girl clown was introduced where Paul Dini was inspired by the costume that his friend Arleen was wearing in one of the episodes of the soap opera "Days of our Lives."
He decided that Harley Quinn should be exactly this — slim, funny, and a bit crazy. Harley Quinn is also voiced by Arleen Sorkin in the cartoons and video games.
Charles F Muntz (Up) – Charles Mintz
Charles F Muntz – the main villain of the animated movie "Up" – is the outcome of an old rivalry between Walt Disney and producer Charles Mintz. In the film we see, Charles spends his entire life hunting a rare bird and wants to get back to the scientists who wouldn't acknowledge his discoveries.
In 1929, Mintz won the rights for the character "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" from Walt Disney. Charles Mintz made the rabbit the symbol of Universal Pictures and all the revenues from the character belonged to his new company.
Many years later, the creators of "Up" made a historical parallel: the villain is hunting a bird while his prototype hunts a rabbit.
Jabba the Hutt (Star Wars)— Sydney Greenstreet
The creators of the "Star Wars" took their inspiration from the roles of Sydney Greenstreet while writing Jabba the Hutt.
Sydney Greenstreet is a British actor who had always suffered from being overweight. But he always played very charming and inventive frauds. So, nothing is surprising that the boss of the intergalactic criminal world, Jabba the Hutt, looks so much like the actor.
Lord Farquaad (Shrek) – Michael Eisner
Another story of conflicts. Lord Farquaad, the main villain in the first "Shrek" film was inspired by former Disney Chairman Michael Eisner. Michael Eisner and a Disney producer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, really didn't like each other much. It all ended with Katzenberg leaving the company and setting up his own company – DreamWorks.
In his new animated film, Jeffery pictured his old foe as a psychopath dwarf. In reality, Eisner is a tall man, but Katzenberg nonetheless made him look small on screen.
Raymond Babbitt (Rain Man) — Lawrence Kim Peek
Dustin Hoffman played the role of Raymond Babbitt in the drama film "Rain Man." Raymond is an autistic man with outstanding mathematical abilities. He can memorise a huge amount of information, but he can't button up his shirt properly.
Dustin's character was inspired by real-life mathematical genius Lawrence Kim Peek who was famous for his phenomenal memory. Lawrence was born with a brain hernia but he had an exceptional memory.
Rocky Balboa (Rocky) – Chuck Wepner
Sylvester Stallone wrote the script for "Rocky" and played the lead role. In the film, a very unsuccessful boxer, Rocky Balboa, manages to defeat the legend of the sport.
The fictional character Rocky was inspired by the life of Chuck Wepner, a professional American boxer, who became famous for his fight against legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.
Wepner stood for 15 rounds and even managed to knock Ali down. But he lost the fight anyway. According to some insights, Stallone was inspired by Wepner's story and persistence.
Miss Piggy (The Muppet Show) – Peggy Lee
Miss Piggy is one of the beloved characters from "The Muppet Show." The glamorous pig, with an unpredictable personality, became such a hit that she ended up on the list of the "50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time."
Iconic jazz singer Peggy Lee was the inspiration behind Miss Piggy. In the beginning, the character was called Piggy Lee. But because of the negative connotation with the animal, Lee was removed.
Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) – Arthur Brehmer
Directed by Martin Scorsese, "Taxi Driver" features Robert De Niro as war veteran Travis Bickle. Travis finds a job as a taxi driver and roams around the streets of New York at night, trying to fight his insomnia. Soon enough, he goes crazy and decides to clear the city of sin.
De Niro took inspirations from the diary of Arthur Brehmer while preparing for the character. The veteran actor had lost 15kg and listened repeatedly to a taped reading of the diaries of Arthur Bremer.
Arthur was a shy person who developed mental illness and planned to assassinate Richard Nixon – the 37th president of the United States. Arthur wanted to make the world a better place by killing Richard Nixon and George Wallace. While he was trying to kill Wallace, he was arrested.