Being badass isn't always bad...especially when filmmakers get 'inspired.' Here's a list of some of the most intriguing, infamous people in history, whose lives ended up inspiring movie characters.
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, Psycho (1960)
Edward Theodore 'Ed' Gein was an American serial killer, notoriously famous as a grave robber. It is believed that Gein was obsessively devoted to his mother and began robbing local graves after her death, keeping body parts as trophies. Investigations confirmed that he had practiced necrophilia and experimented with human taxidermy. Gein was declared mentally insane and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The famous character of Norman bates, played by Anthony Perkins in the 1960 movie, Psycho, was inspired by Ed Gein and his crimes.
|Left: Anthony Perkins as Normal Bates; Right: Ed Gein|
Source: The Nuray Blog
Ajay Devgan as Sultan Mirza & Emraan Hashmi as Shoaib Khan, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2010)
The movie narrates the growth of the Mumbai underworld. It is loosely based on the lives of real-life gangsters Haji Mastan (Sultan Mirza, portrayed by Ajay Devgan) and Dawood Ibrahim (Shoaib Khan, played by Emraan Hashmi).
Tania Raymonde as Jodi Arias & Jesse Lee Soffer as Travis Alexander, Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret (2013)
In June, 2008, Travis Victor Alexander was murdered in his house in Mesa, Arizona. Travis had succumbed to death after receiving multiple stabs wounds, a slit throat, and a gunshot to the head. Jodi Arias, his ex-girlfriend, was charged with first-degree murder and convicted in May, 2013. The television drama Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret was released in June, 2013. The film revolves around the infamous love affair between Alexander and Arias, and the murder that happened subsequently.
Mahie Gill & Deepak Dobriyal as Anusha Chawla & Robin Fernandes, Not a Love Story (2011)
|Top: Arias and Alexander in reel life; Bottom: Arias and Alexander in real life|
The movie portrays the infamous Neeraj Grover murder case (2008), for which Kannada actress Maria Susairaj (played by Mahie Gill as Anusha Chawla), and her beau, Naval Lieutenant M.L Jerome Mathew, (played by Deepak Dobriyal as Robin Fernandes) were convicted. According to reports, television executive Neeraj Grover was found by Mathew in Susauraj's bedroom upon a surprise visit payed by him. The latter had then stabbed Grover with a kitchen knife. The body was chopped into pieces, burnt and disposed.
|Extreme left and right: Mahie Gill and Deepak Dobriyal in the movie|
Middle: Maria Susairaj and Lieutenant M.L Jerome Mathew
The movie is partly based on the gruesome murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947. Her body was discovered in Leimert Part, Los Angeles, California, mutilated and sliced in half at the waist. Post murder, Short had earned the nickname 'Black Dahlia.'
|Left: Real life Elizabeth Short; Right: Mia Kirshner as Elizabeth Short|
Vidya Balan as Reshma / Silk, The Dirty Picture (2011)
Although denied by the makers, actress Vidya Balan's role of Silk in the film was heavily influenced by the very controversial, South Indian sex siren, Silk Smitha's life.
|Left: Vidya Balan as Silk; Right: Silk Smitha|
Jennifer Carpenter as Emily Rose, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Anneliese Michel was a German born woman who was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. But, family believed she was possessed by demons. Michel had undergone exorcism rites in 1975 and died a year later due to undernourishment, dehydration and lack of medical care. The case has been cited as an example of negligent homicide and religious hysteria.The character of Emily Rose in the 2005 movie, The Exorcism of Emily Rose was inspired by Michel's life.
|Right: Carpenter as Emily Rose; Right: Anneliese Michel, the real life Emily Rose|
Irrfan Khan as Paan Singh Tomar - Paan Singh Tomar (2012)
This 2012 biopic has been inspired by the life of Paan Singh Tomar, who had served the Indian Army and represented India in the 1958 Asian Games. He was a seven times national steeplechase champion, but chose an early retirement only to return to his native land and become a notorious Chambal Valley bandit.
|Left: Irrfan Khan as Paan Singh Tomar; Right: The real life Paan Singh Tomar|
The Bell family, An American Haunting (2005)
This is America's most infamous poltergeist case, in which, a mysterious vengeful entity (?), popularly known as the Bell Witch had tormented the Bell family settled in Adams, Tennessee, and caused the death of John Bell, the head of the family. The Bell Witch took a particular pleasure in tormenting Betsy, the eldest daughter of John Bell. The 2005 movie An American Haunting portrays the incidents and occurrences that happened during the haunting.
Swastika Mukherjee as Anguri Devi, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015)
|Left: John Bell in An American Haunting; Right: John Bell in real life|
Margeretha Geertruida "Margreet" Zelle MacLeod, popularly known by her stage name as Mata Hari, was a famous Frisian exotic dancer and courtesan, who was convicted of being a double spy. She was executed by firing squad in France. Actress Swastika Mukherjee's role as Anguri Devi in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! has been hugely inspired by this badass lady.
If you happen to stumble upon more of such characters, do share.