Hollywood’s 10 Shortest Leading Men

They make look larger than life on the big screen, but when you stand face to face or shoulder to shoulder with the following fellows, and you quickly realize that they’re smaller than imagined. Many of their female co-stars may stand taller than them in real life, but with movie magic these guys can be made to look as tall as they need to look. We’re even going to call out one individual who has claimed to be six feet tall, but who is reliant on lifts and large soled shoes. Here they are: 10 vertically challenged leading men.

10. Russell Crowe

First things first, let’s address Russell Crowe. If ever we’ve seen someone act out in a Napoleonic manner, it’s Russell. The New Zealand native claims Australia as home, and he also claims to be 6’0″. He’s made mention a few times that he is 5’11.5″ inches in interviews–especially during promotion of Cinderella Man. Truth is, you rarely see Russell in shoes that don’t have some serious lift, whether cowboy boots, or combat boots, but it is rumored–and taken on good authority–that Russell wears lifts in his dress shoes, and any other shoe that he would wear when at an event that would juxtapose him next to a male co-star. Do we believe it? Heck yes. If ever there was a guy who really struggled with LMA (little man attitude) at various points in his career, it’s the (former) hot-headed Crowe.

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9. Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy is pretty candid about his height, and no one really asks him about it anymore. Tom is 5’9″, and he can strut like he’s 6’3″. And when you’re in a room with Tom Hardy, and see him from a distance, he carries himself as much taller than 5’9″. Consider some of his roles. Tom Hardy is able to put on pure badassery with various diets and workout regimens: Charlie Bronson; Bane; the Kray twins; Tommy Conlon; Forrest Bondurant… these characters are larger than life. Considering his side by side with Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises, you’d have never thought Batman was four inches taller than his nemesis. Remarkably, Tom’s directors have always praised the actor for being able to simply “appear” bigger than he actually is through posturing.

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8. Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf is one of those atypical leading men who fit into the category of antihero. His height will come of no surprise: 5’9″. The gimmick of his leading man status is that he shouldn’t be a leading man–not according to the Hollywood standard–but somehow, he is. This puts him at eye level with many of his female co-stars, and makes him smaller than many of his onscreen rivals and enemies. It’ll be fascinating to see how Shia adjusts into his 30s. We’re well aware of his oddities, his strange social media behavior and his general fearlessness as an actor. He’s obviously attracted to the “outside the box” roles that allow him to continue in the vein of leading man, but seeing him in films like Fury opposite Brad Pitt, and several other military warrior-looking actor types is always fascinating. He’d definitely got the chops.

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7. Ben Stiller

Funnyman Ben Stiller is another of Hollywood’s leading men who don’t stretch the measuring tape beyond the five foot mark. The jury is still out on Ben, as some sources tab him 5’8″ tall, while others suggest 5’7″. We’ll go with 5’8″. And it’s rather obvious in all of the roles he plays. The way he chooses to photograph himself when he’s directing often displays the fact that he is much smaller than the rest of the men onscreen, and this works to wonderful comedic results. Ben Stiller may be one of the most underrated leading men in all of Hollywood, especially when considering roles in films like Meet The Parents. Regardless of not being a giant off-screen, Ben is extremely athletic, and like the greats on this list, he can make himself as big as he needs to be for a role. Just think Tropic Thunder.

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6. Mark Wahlberg

Marky Mark. In the early 1990s we thought this guy must have been 10 feet tall… doing bicep curls with cinder blocks on the end of the bar? Surely, that must have been a feat only accomplished by a real life Hulk. As the years passed, Mark did a few movies that clued us in to his actual height. Notably, The Basketball Diaries, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. “Woah. Mark Wahlberg isn’t very tall.” Mark is supremely athletic, does a lot of boxing, and plays basketball as well as backyard football: he’s primo for the choice of an athlete in so many films, but when it comes to his stature, he’s only 5’8″. Considering the Wahlberg family, brother Donnie comes in at 5’10”, so it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of height in that gene pool. That doesn’t keep Mark from dropping the boom on many movie villains twice his size.

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5. Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise Mapother IV. Known to the world as Tom Cruise. Tom was once the biggest movie star in the world, and everything he touched turned to gold. To a certain extent, he still has the Midas touch, but his off screen life, including his practice of Scientology, has turned off a lot of his old fans, and isolated him from reaching new ones. He’s also getting a bit older, and there’s no denying the fact that kids want the young bucks playing leads. That said, Tom is the definitive example of someone who has always played much larger than he is. In fact, because of his size in films like Top Gun, he made other actors–who are standing at a mere six feet–look like absolute giants. Tom pushes the tape at 5’7″, but former wives Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes both stand over 5’9″ tall.

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4. Robert Downey Jr.

Joining Tom in Club 5’7″ is none other than Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. Were you thinking RDJ was taller? He certainly seems taller, doesn’t he? It’s true. And if you’re ever able to see the Iron Man costumes in person, you’ll quickly realize it would take a rather small individual to fit inside them. Unlike some people who have tried to hide their height by dating shorter women, or wearing tall shoes, boots or even lifts, Rob doesn’t really care. At a certain point, he pushed himself so far down on the list of available actors, he let go of anything other than sobriety and playing make believe. And what he may “lack” in height, he certainly makes up for in wit. He’s a beast of personality, and is so razor sharp we pity anyone who would try and lock horns with him on or off screen.

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3. Josh Hutcherson

Josh Hutcherson has seemingly stayed the same height since he made Bridge to Terabithia. OK. That’s a bit of a dig… at least we didn’t say Zathura. The Kentucky native, and co-star of The Hunger Games stands at 5’7″ tall, and like his 5’7″ brethren on this list, he’s quite athletic. He’s prone to doing his own stunts, and he displays quite an emotional vulnerability. Maybe that’s a 6’7″ thing. Something that just happens when you’re specifically that height? You see the world from a very unique perspective? Regardless, Josh is an interesting cat off screen. He’s a bit tough to peg. He seems friendly enough in interviews, but he has a reputation for being a little worn on the celebrity front. Putting it another way: he appreciates the business of acting, but doesn’t care a lot for the celebrity thing.

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2. Jack Black

And the inches keep coming off the list. Jack Black is about 25 feet of awesome stuffed into a 5’6″ frame. Having been referred to as “portly” on more than one occasion, Jack has slimmed down in recent years, after entering the realm of fatherhood. He wants to be around for the long haul, and kicked the habit of smoking cigarettes, and started eating/drinking healthier a few years back. Still, there’s no hiding the fact that he rarely stands eye to eye with his co-stars. Like so many comedians who are “lacking height,” Jack takes full advantage of his stature. He has become the master of his physical instrument, displays some pretty impressive dance moves and athleticism in several of his films, as well as television appearances. A perfect frame of reference…? His spin on the luchadores in Nacho Libre.

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1. Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart has learned how to maximize the benefits of his height to the tune of millions. Everyone is fully aware that Kevin Hart is less than “not very tall,” he’s short. But how short is the comedian? On a good day, in some basketball shoes, and lying down on a table to maximize the effect of earth’s gravity, Kevin will stretch the tape to a whopping 5’3″. That’s right. He’s 5’3″ tall. He is listed on most sites as 5’4″ in height, but we believe that is with specific footwear. Some sites have him listed as 5’2″, so we’re settling right in the middle. Regardless, Kevin is small in stature, but it hasn’t kept him from doing anything and everything he enjoys in life. He’s also well known for putting up big points in celebrity basketball games. He is the Muggsy Bogues of the comedy world: lightning quick.

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James Sheldon