Miles Teller and Jonah Hill don't necessarily look like your typical Hollywood movie stars. So it makes sense that David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, the arms dealers Teller and Hill play, respectively, in their new movie War Dogs, don't necessarily look like your imagined arms dealers (unless, that is, when you think of gun runners, you think of two 20-year-old Jewish boys from Florida). None of the four men resemble neat little stereotypes, but do they at least resemble each other? Well, photos of the real War Dogs guys compared to Teller and Hill show that despite the actors taking on the roles, the four men don't actually look that much alike.
That doesn't mean that Teller and Hill weren't right to play the parts, though. War Dogs, the newest film from Hangover director Todd Phillips, is based on a true story — a ridiculous story, but a true story nonetheless, and one that the actors fit in well. In 2005, Packouz and Diveroli, two men in their early 20s, went into business together as arms dealers, and in 2007 they got their first government contract. In 2011, after their partnership ended with an FBI investigation and jail time for Diveroli, their story was featured in Rolling Stone. The rest, as they say, is Hollywood history. Phillips got the rights to the Rolling Stone story, and Packouz even worked with filmmakers to make War Dogs (he also has a cameo in the movie).
Despite Packouz's input, War Dogs does take some artistic liberties in the retelling of Diveroli and Packouz's overseas adventures. And, yes, these artistic liberties did extend to the physical attributes of the characters, specifically when it comes to Diveroli. Played by Hill in the film, he looks almost nothing like his big screen counterpart.
For one thing, at 32, Hill is about a decade older than Diveroli was when the events of the film took place. Another major difference: the weight. Hill reportedly put on weight for the role, a decision that appears to have been purely artistic — a photo of Packouz and Diveroli published alongside the original Rolling Stone article shows Diveroli as a relatively thin young man, though the photo is not dated. Here's another recent photo of Diveroli, who recently released a memoir detailing his own version of events titled, Once A Gun Runner.
Diveroli's looks aren't the only thing different about him in the movie. Hill also gave his character a very distinctive laugh — something he came up with without ever meeting Diveroli. Though, to be fair, Hill explained his choice in an interview with NPR as an effort to make his character as memorable as Diveroli himself. "When I met David Packouz, he said, if you met Efraim once, you never forgot him. And I thought about people in my life I had met once or twice and I remembered forever. And a lot of times, I realized, they had a really distinct laugh," Hill said.
As for Teller, his version of Packouz was a bit closer to the truth, likely due to Packouz's own involvement in the film. That said, it's likely Teller also took some creative liberties with the character that ended up on screen.
Bottom line: if, by chance, you manage to confuse Diveroli and Packouz with Hill and Teller, don't confuse them with their War Dogs characters.
Images: Warner Bros. (2); davidpackouz/Instagram (2)