Who are you? False identity in film

Throughout the years, few stories in pop culture have been more titillating than those of false identities. Why would someone impersonate someone else? What did they have to hide from themselves and the rest of the world?

Dogwoof’s upcoming release, Author: The JT LeRoy Story uncovers an unbelievable literary scandal. JT LeRoy, a wunderkind of the literary world turned out to not really exist - he had been dreamed up by Laura Albert, the real author of the books. So before the release of the film the 29th of July, take a look at others famous cases of identity theft and the fascinating stories behind them as featured in film.

The Imposter (2012)

The most unbelievable part in this story, where Frederic Bourdin, an adult French man, impersonates a 13 year old missing boy from Texas, is not how Bourdin managed to fool the police in two different continents, but how and why the boy’s family welcomed him in their home as if it was their missing child.


Catfish (2010)

The documentary that spun not on only a series but also coined a phrase to use when someone impersonates someone else on the internet. When Nev decides to search for Megan, a girl who met and fell in love on Facebook, he’ll soon discover that Megan is not who she says she is.

The Woman Who Wasn’t There (2012)

Tania Head was one of the most famous survivors of the 9/11 attacks in New York and her heartbreaking story of survival made her famous across the US. There was only one issue with her story: when the attacks happened, she was in Barcelona.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax (2013)

When Scottish hip-hop duo Silibil N’ Brains got denied a record deal in the US, they came back as american rappers raised and hardened in the streets of California. For three years, no one in the music industry suspected a thing.


Talhotblond (2009)

With the succinct tagline “Everybody Lies Online”, this documentary explores the story of an online love triangle,  where a series of lies and hidden identities led to a real life murder.  

Catch Me If You Can (2003)

In this real story, Frank Abagnale managed to impersonate a pilot, a doctor and a prosecutor all the while FBI tried futilely to arrest him.

The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

While in this novel turned movie in 1999, the reasons behind the identity theft are more circumstantial, the way Ripley’s story unfolds is fascinating and chilling. When Tom Ripley gets the opportunity to impersonate a wealthy Princeton alumni, he will go to extremes to preserve the wealthy lifestyle he becomes accustomed to.

Author: The JT LeRoy Story is in cinemas tomorrow (29 July) book at: jtleroymovie.com