Brad Pitt, Jamie Foxx… 10 movie stars who changed their names

In the world of entertainment or the seventh art, it is not uncommon for stars to change their name or use a pseudonym. The proof with these ten actors who have chosen to take on a new identity to gain fame.

Michael Keaton

© Lionsgate

Iconic American actor, having notably marked Hollywood with Batman, birdman or Spider-Man: Homecoming, Michael Keaton was forced to change his last name to be able to make a place for himself in the cinema. And for good reason, the 70-year-old actor is actually called Michael Douglas. A name that was already well known in the industry, the son of Kirk Douglas having made his debut in the 70s. In order to stand out, the interpreter of Beetlejuice therefore decided to abandon his surname for Keaton, which he chosen in reference to silent film star, Buster Keaton.

Jamie Foxx


© The Weinstein Company

Born Eric Marlon Bishop, the star of Django Unchained opted for a pseudonym when he started his acting career in a comedy club. The Texan comedian preferred to give up his identity for the name of Jamie Foxx, which he chose in reference to actor Redd Foxx. Enough to invent a real stage character, in order to climb the ladder of celebrity. This little tour was also successful for him, since fifteen years later, he won the Oscar for best actor for his performance in Ray.

Joaquin Phoenix


© Sony Pictures

If he has not changed his name in relation to his career, Joaquin Phoenix is ​​actually called Joaquin Rafael Bottom. This change in surname occurred at the end of the 1970s, when his parents, who had settled in Venezuela, decided to leave the sect of the Children of God and return to the United States. The whole family then adopted the name Phoenix, which would also become Joaquin’s stage name. Also, being frustrated that he doesn’t have a first name related to nature or the hippie spirit like his siblings (River, Rain, Summer and Liberty), Joaquin goes by the name Leaf Phoenix for a while, then finally resumes his real first name in the 90s. This explains why the actor is credited with the first name Leaf in his first films.

Nicolas Cage actor

Nicolas Cage

© Splendid Films

Grandson of composer Carmine Coppola and nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola, Nicolas Cage grew up as Nicolas Kim Coppola. Only here, the actor did not want to be associated with his illustrious family and wanted to make a name for himself. Interviewed by Wired, he also explained that he suffered jokes from his comrades in connection with his uncle’s films. They kept saying things like: “I like the smell of Nicolas in the early morning”in reference to Robert Duvall’s line in Apocalypse Now. Tired of these little spikes, the young man therefore preferred to change his name and set his sights on Cage, in reference to the Marvel hero Luke Cage, as well as the composer John Cage.

Natalie Portman


© Bac Films

Today famous throughout the world for her many film roles, Natalie Portman began her career at an extremely young age. She was only 13 when the film was released. Leon, in which she replied to Jean Reno. That’s why her parents decided to change her name in order to protect her from fame. A way to separate his life as a star from his private life, while giving him a pseudonym easier to remember internationally. In truth, the American-Israeli actress is called Neta-Lee Hershlag. His first name was therefore simply Americanized for the cinema and “Portman” is the maiden name of his grandmother.

Actor Ben Kingsley

ben kingsley

© 20th Century Fox

Of British origin by his mother and of Indian descent by his father, Ben Kingsley is actually called Krishna Pandit Bhanji. A name that the actor considered too difficult to pronounce and which he therefore preferred to replace with an Anglo-Saxon-sounding pseudonym to pass his first auditions. From there, the name stuck, and the comedian continued his Hollywood rise to fame as Ben Kingsley.

brad pitt

Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

© Sony Pictures

Inescapable star of Hollywood, brad pitt slightly fixed his stage name before getting into acting. In real life, the American actor is called William Pitt, like his father, and therefore opted for a slightly shorter name, taking inspiration from his middle name, Bradley. Short and effective, the name “Brad Pitt” had everything to remain etched in people’s memories…and this was quickly verified, from his first roles and his meteoric rise in Hollywood.

Michael Caine actor

michael caine

© 20th Century Fox

A great name in British cinema, Michael Caine has had a fine career since the 1950s, alternating between blockbusters and auteur films. At his debut, the actor changed his name and abandoned Maurice Joseph Mickelwhite to be called Michael White. Then, he decided to opt for Michael Scott, before changing his mind once again and settling on Michael Caine, drawing inspiration from the film. Hurricane on the Caine by Edward Dmytryk. This new stage name brought him luck and then accompanied him throughout Hollywood life, under the spotlight.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore

© 20th Century Fox

Born as Julie Anne Smith, Julianne Moore was forced to change her name by force of circumstance. While she wanted to register with the Screen Actors Guild union, the actress discovered that another Julie Smith already existed in the register and therefore transformed her first name into Julianne. Problem, a Julianne Smith was also already registered! The young woman therefore took her father’s middle name “Moore” and made it her new surname.

Actor Oscar Isaac

moon knight


Of Guatemalan origin by his mother and Cuban by his father, Oscar Isaac is actually called Oscar Isaac Hernández Estrada. A somewhat long name that the actor had to shorten to forge a simpler stage name. He therefore abandoned his Latin-sounding names to keep his two more international first names. A sleight of hand which the 43-year-old actor regularly enjoys in interviews.

Brad Pitt, Jamie Foxx… 10 movie stars who changed their names