12 Actors Who Have Tried to Copy John Wayne

12 Actors Who Have Tried to Copy John Wayne

John Wayne became one of the faces of Hollywood during his illustrious acting career. The famed performer became popular for his appearances in classic Westerns. Wayne’s characters took on leadership roles that stuck with audiences around the globe. There was something about the way Wayne commanded the screen when his character appeared. Over the years, tons of actors have trained and worked tirelessly to try and mimic how Wayne used to do it. 

One actor who undoubtedly looked up to Wayne is Scott Eastwood. During his life, Eastwood has had access to seemingly every actor in the world during his life. He’s carved out a fantastic career for himself. Some of his biggest films are “The Longest Ride” and “Overdrive.” Fans saw glimpses of Wayne when Eastwood starred in the former. The romantic film followed Eastwood where he showcased his western side. While some fans argue that Wayne didn’t star in any true romance movies, his characters always showed a soft side at various points. 

Another actor who’s been lauded for giving on-screen performances like Wayne is Chris Pratt. The MCU star is commonly talked about in the same breath because of the way he commands the screen. The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is one of the only MCU comics to follow a team of heroes. No matter what Pratt’s character does in the film, nobody questions that he’s the leader. For more movie content, click here to read about the most profitable action movies ever made. 

To compile this list of actors who try to copy John Wayne, 24/7 Tempo consulted entertainment-related sources. These include ScreenRant, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDb. 

Jake Gyllenhaal

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Audiences love gathering to watch Jake Gyllenhaal when he takes the screen.

One of the most memorable films to come out in the 2000s was “Brokeback Mountain.” The movie showcased Jake Gyllenhaal and told the story of two cowboys who hooked up for a one night stand. Both felt disgusted by it and fought each other the next day. The two men have to figure out how to hide their love for each other to keep their families happy. While this plot isn’t typically what you’d see in a John Wayne movie, Gyllenhaal showcased different elements from the actor. 

For instance, Gyllenhaal made sure that he was always seen as the toughest guy around town. He never wanted anyone to think he was weak or doubt him. Gyllenhaal also did whatever was needed to tell the full story. There are a lot of actors who would cringe and avoid doing what Gyllenhaal did in “Brokeback Mountain.” Like Wayne, there’s nothing Gyllenhaal won’t do in the name of acting. Gyllenhaal has been in numerous other films like “End of Watch” and “Southpaw” where he took elements from Wayne.

Heath Ledger​​

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Many fans argue that Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker is the best villain in history.

The other main actor from “Brokeback Mountain” is Heath Ledger. However, “Brokeback Mountain” wasn’t the only movie where Ledger attempted to channel John Wayne. One of the biggest blockbusters in history is “The Dark Knight.” Over the years, many people have taken on the role of the Joker. Jack Nicholson’s version made the Joker appear to be fun and lighthearted. Ledger took the character a much different and darker way. 

Audiences trembled whenever they saw the Joker show up on screen. Ledger’s version didn’t care at all for anyone and just wanted to cause chaos and destruction. Many critics agree that Ledger’s Joker is the greatest villain in any superhero movie or show in history. There are countless stories about Ledger secluding himself from society to prepare for the role. Like Wayne, Ledger took every opportunity seriously and made the most of it.  

Chris Pratt

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Chris Pratt was the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

John Wayne was known for staring in western movies. In each one of his films, he showcased leadership that wasn’t easily found anywhere else. While Chris Pratt hasn’t brought his talents to any western films over his career, he has given fans tons to cheer about for his performances in the MCU films he’s in. The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is where Pratt gets the most screen time in any MCU movie. 

Throughout the performances, Pratt’s character, Star-Lord, is lauded as the group’s leader. The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is one of the few MCU sections where each film has a group of heroes. Pratt always makes the decisions and tells his friends what to do. While they sometimes might seem odd, the decisions always work out. Nobody questions Pratt’s leadership within the group, which is similar to how other characters looked to Wayne in various moives. 

Liam Hemsworth 

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Liam Hemsworth has played plenty of strong characters during his career.

Few modern westerns compare to “The Duel.” Liam Hemsworth’s character, David Kingston, has to solve the disappearance of a Mexican girl in the late 1800s. There are seemingly different elements from John Wayne in nearly every scene Hemsworth is in. For starters, he works in law enforcement. He never backs down from a single challenge. And, most importantly, the movie is a western. Wayne would have been perfect for the role himself. 

However, westerns aren’t the only genre where Hemsworth channels his inner Wayne. During the Hunger Games franchise, Hemsworth becomes known as a character who’s willing to fight back against the people at the top. He does whatever it takes to keep his family and friends safe. While he is the reason why Primrose died, he did everything he could to get revenge. Hemsworth’s work will continue to be applauded by audiences as long as he’s on screen. 

Clint Eastwood


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Is there any actor who resembles John Wayne more than Clint Eastwood? Over the years, Eastwood has made dozens of classic films where his characters take on the same macho roles that Wayne did during his career. Eastwood has a long list of western movies like “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and “Hang ‘Em High.” One stark difference between Eastwood and Wayne is that Eastwood takes on some characters who aren’t the hero. 

Eastwood also showcases his acting abilities in films other than westerns. He has been seen on screen for his work in movies like “Letters From Iwo Jima” and “American Sniper.” Eastwood enjoys telling factual stories in his movies. Even as Eastwood has entered his 90s, he’s still seen in different parts of the Hollywood industry. There’s no telling if Eastwood will ever fully retire from filmmaking. 

Scott Eastwood

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Scott Eastwood has starred in romantic westerns.

Multiple of Clint Eastwood’s children have followed him in pursuing careers in Hollywood. Arguably the most successful to follow his path is Scott Eastwood. He’s known for having a charming appearance whenever he appears on screen. Audience members loved watching Eastwood act in projects like “The Longest Ride” and “Snowden.” Like tons of movies John Wayne has appeared in, “The Longest Ride” is a western classic that people fell in love with. 

While he wasn’t the main star of “Snowden,” the film told the true story of Edward Snowden and what he did. Eastwood played Trevor James, who worked with Snowden at one point. He’s also starred in multiple films in the Fast and Furious franchise. Eastwood is continuing to take on roles with the hopes of continuing to live up to actors like Wayne. 

Sam Elliott

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Folks instantly recognize Sam Elliott’s deep voice.

Each actor has a unique trait that makes them recognizable by nearly everyone. For Sam Elliott, that trait is his deep voice. It mimics how many folks feel people from the wild west used to speak. This trait has assisted Elliott in landing western roles like “Tombstone” and the hit show “The Ranch.” Someone like John Wayne would have been thrilled to work with talent like Elliott during his career. 

For instance, Elliott plays the father figure in the show “The Ranch.” It takes place in a small, Colorado town. Elliott knocks the part out of the park. His deep voice and intimidating presence are exactly what Wayne was known for during his career. Elliott’s kids look to him with the hopes of pleasing him and gaining his approval in the show. Elliott’s voice can be heard in various commercials as well for products like Coors Light, which would have fit in perfectly in Wayne’s films.

Timothy Olyphant

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Timothy Olyphant has starred in shows like “Justified.”

Another actor who knows how to play someone in a strong, leadership role is Timothy Olyphant. Throughout his career, Olyphant has starred in countless productions. One of his most notable works also happens to be a neo-western, “Justified.” That’s where fans draw the parallel between him and John Wayne. The show follows Olyphant where he portrays a Deputy Marshall. While the show takes place in the modern day, it unequivocally draws inspiration from westerns over the years. 

Olyphant has also starred in movies like “I Am Number Four.” In that film, Olyphant plays a guardian to someone from outer space who develops powers. It’s Olyphant’s characters job to ensure that the alien is safe and doesn’t out himself. The leadership and power Olyphant must display during the movie is second to none. He gets an alien with powers to listen to him and do as he says. There’s nothing stronger than a character achieving that. 

Wentworth Miller

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There was no question if Wentworth Miller was the leader in “Prison Break.”

Few shows have captivated the world like “Prison Break.” Season one was especially memorable. Wentworth Miller played a structural engineer named Michael Scofield. He purposefully gets sent to prison to break his brother out, who’s been wrongfully convicted of murder. While in prison, Scofield needed to learn how to navigate the different landscape that prison had compared to the outdoors. 

He successfully completed his mission of breaking himself, his brother, and others out of prison. During the escape, Scofield was the unquestioned leader of the group. Nobody questioned anything he did. Like John Wayne has done in countless movies and shows, Scofield asserted dominance and leadership over a large group of people. It’s challenging to get a group of convicts to follow you, especially when they know you don’t have a hurtful bone in your body. 

Jeff Bridges

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Jeff Bridges starred in the remake of “True Grit.”

One of the most memorable films John Wayne starred in was “True Grit.” The original was released in 1969. Wayne played Rooster Cogburn, a former veteran who continued his career working as a United States Marshall. The 1969 version of the film has gone down in history as arguably the greatest western film ever made. 

Naturally, the movie was shot and made again in 2010. Jeff Bridges took on the role of Cogburn for the newest and greatest version of “True Grit.” It makes sense to think about Bridges really having to channel his inner Wayne. He had to duplicate the success Wayne had in the original. What’s truly remarkable is that Bridges knocked the character out of the park. He was nominated for countless awards, including an Academy Award, for his performance in the movie. 

Kurt Russell

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Kurt Russell has a similar aura to John Wayne.

Whenever John Wayne appeared on screen, he captivated everyone. Folks in the audience and watching at home had their eyes drawn to him, even if he was to the side and not speaking. Actors have to have a certain aura surrounding them to successfully do this. Kurt Russell is one of the few who knows exactly what that means. One of Russell’s biggest hits during his career is when he played Elvis Presley in the film “Elvis.”

The movie told the story of Presley’s life and what fame was truly like for him. Playing such a big role takes a lot of guts and courage. The actor doing so can’t come in and deliver lines with 90% confidence. The viewers will see right through the person and consider them a fraud. Russell had the confidence to make everyone keep their eyes on him during the movie. Wayne also paved his own path, doing what he wanted. Russell followed this and paused his acting career to pursue baseball. While it didn’t work out, fans can’t knock Russell for not trying. 

Josh Brolin

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John Wayne would likely be proud of the villains Josh Brolin has played.

There’s nothing like a villain to go along with a John Wayne movie. In fact, Josh Brolin played the murderer, Tom Chaney, in the 2010 remake of “True Grit.” Wayne always needed a co-star who had the same passion and energy he did for films. Brolin delivered a masterpiece in the remake, but he’s arguably more well-known for a different villain he played. 

The MCU is one of the largest movie franchises in the world. Two of the most-hyped movies ever released were “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” Folks were literally planning their lives around when they could get tickets to see the films. Brolin played the villain, Thanos, and did so nearly perfectly. It takes a lot to stand on the other side of talent like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans in a superhero film and hold your own. Wayne would have been proud to watch Brolin stand with confidence. For more movie content, click here to read about the most romantic comedies ever made. 


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