Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 11:29 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I've always thought that if an actor is REALLY a talented "man/woman-for-all-seasons" actor, he
or she will take on the role of an authentic villain. I'm not talking about a half-baked villain who
has some redeeming qualities but a truly wicked, evil villain or psychopath. Unfortunately, some
of our finest actors seem to avoid those roles always typecasting themselves into leading lady
or man roles who are the "good guys."

Here is what I call a half-baked villain. Bravo to Tom Hanks for taking on the role of a mob killer
in ROAD TO PERDITION. He was good in that role as was Paul Newman. (spoilers ahead)
However, Hanks loved his family and lost two of them, so he and his remaining son have to run for
their lives. Therefore, he becomes a more sympathetic character. I'd like to see Hanks
take on the role of a truly reprehensible villain with no redeeming qualities.

Playing a true villain can garner one an Oscar. Bravo to Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Lector in the
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS movies. He is unadulterated evil, and it takes talent to play those
roles. Yeah for Christoph Waltz from INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. He was a stunning villain.
He was cunning, manipulative, talented ( a tour de force with languages) and totally reprehensible.
Note Louis Fletcher as Nurse Ratched. She won an Oscar for her quiet portrayal of a calculating,
evil woman with no heart in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST.
While she didn't win an Oscar, Meryl Streep embraced the stunningly sick mother in THE
MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. (Kudos to Angela Lansbury who was nominated for an Oscar
in the original M.C. ) And then there's Javier Bardem's Oscar winning portrayal of evil in NO
COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. He defines sociopathic behavior. Denzel Washington won
an Oscar for his evil persona in TRAINING DAY.

I've seen other leading actors take on the villain such as Jude Law in ROAD TO PERDITION
and Tom Cruise in COLLATERAL. Casey Affleck is pure evil in THE KILLER INSIDE ME. While
I don't care for his acting abilities, I must say that Keanu Reeves was a pretty good villain in
THE WATCHER and THE GIFT.

Too many actors have avoided playing the villain. The one who MOST comes most to mind is
Robert Redford. While I admire most of his movies and his acting, he pigeonholed himself into
too many "I'm the rugged individual against the evil system" roles. I'd love to see him break out
of his self-imposed mold and become a real villain. I'd like to see Clint Eastwood, Angelie
Jolie, Sondra Bollock, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenthal, Reese
Witherspoon, and Brad Pitt do the same. How about comedic actors? Maybe I'd like Ferrell
and Sandler if they tried being a serious villain. Owen Wilson did it in THE MINUS MAN.
And maybe they'd flop.

I'd like to see Leo DeCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Johnny Depp take on the role
of unadulterated evil . Damon was a jerk in SCHOOL TIES but not that bad. He was sort of
sympathetic in THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. Wahlberg was great in FEAR but has migrated
into only leading man roles. Let's see these guys have the courage of Harrison Ford in
WHAT LIES BENEATH.

Who are your favorite villains? Who would you like to see really increase his/her
acting repertoire by branching out and becoming a Nurse Ratched or Hannibal Lector?


 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 2:04 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

This really is a great topic. I'm sure I'll come back to it again and again as ideas come. And yes, I agree Reeves was a terrific villain in The Watcher.

An actor I really admire for his ability to play hero and villain with equal conviction is character actor William Forsythe. He was a disgusting, loathsome, reprehensible villain in Out For Justice, a despicable abuser in Zombie's Halloween and a stone killer in Dick Tracy, among many others, but I smiled and cheered him on as law enforcement personnel in The Rock, Blue Streak, and especially The Devil's Rejects. He really is a versatile actor.

Ciaran Hinds is also quite talented...he played a couple of great, mustache-twirling villains in Race to Witch Mountain and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, but was a very noble and upstanding Russian President in The Sum of All Fears.

Ed Harris, known to me as the tremendously likeable hero of such films as The Abyss, Appaloosa, Radio and Apollo 13, turned in terrific villain performances in The Rock, Enemy at the Gates, A History of Violence and especially State of Grace.

Gary Oldman managed to embody both nobility and evil in his leading role in Bram Stoker's Dracula. He usually plays the bad guy but was a terrific hero in Nolan's Batman films.

Delroy Lindo makes juggling hero roles (Ransom) and villainous roles (Clockers) look incredibly easy.

I never thought I could see Morgan Freeman as a villain until I saw his turn in Wanted and, to a lesser extent, Dreamcatcher.

After seeing the lighthearted John Lithgow in works such as 3rd Rock From the Sun, Harry and the Hendersons, and The Pelican Brief, I was blown away by his embodiment of pure evil in Ricochet and I hear he's equally impressive on Dexter.

Tommy Lee Jones, the gruff hero from The Fugitive, U.S. Marshals, Men in Black, and Double Jeopardy was a great, insane villain in Under Siege.

Woody Harrelson came from a good, sweet, silly guy background (Woody on Cheers, roles in Indecent Proposal, Kingpin, and White Men Can't Jump) but blew me away with his murderously psychotic Mickey Knox in Natural Born Killers.

I thought Michelle Pfeiffer handled her villain role as Catwoman quite admirably in Batman Returns. Speaking of which, Michael Keaton handled psychotic very well in Desperate Measures, considering he was mainly known for comedy.

Kurt Russell turned in a fantastic villain in Death Proof, something I'd never seen him do before.

I didn't think he did a good job, but I commend Kevin Costner for at least trying to be bad in 3000 Miles to Graceland.

Finally, my personal choice for most believable villain or hero, Michael Biehn. Terrific villains in The Abyss, Tombstone, Jade, and The Art of War, truly evil characters. But in some ways he's a quintessential hero in films such as The Terminator, Aliens, Navy SEALs, The Rock, and Planet Terror.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 2:15 PM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

Joaquin Phoenix : played a complex, true villain in Gladiator as Commodus

example of comedic actor going true villain = Robin Williams

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 3:30 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Kevin Bacon turned out to have a really interesting villainous quality (The River Wild, The Hollow Man, Trapped).

Timothy Olyphant has been masterfully juggling heroes (Hitman, The Crazies, Dreamcatcher, Deadwood, Justified, Catch and Release) and villains (Scream 2, A Man Apart, Live Free or Die Hard, and to a lesser extent Go and Meet Bill) for his entire career.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 3:57 PM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 4:09 PM   
 By:   David Kessler   (Member)



I'd like to see Leo DeCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Johnny Depp take on the role
of unadulterated evil . Damon was a jerk in SCHOOL TIES but not that bad. He was sort of
sympathetic in THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. Wahlberg was great in FEAR but has migrated
into only leading man roles. Let's see these guys have the courage of Harrison Ford in
WHAT LIES BENEATH.

Who are your favorite villains? Who would you like to see really increase his/her
acting repertoire by branching out and becoming a Nurse Ratched or Hannibal Lector?


Depp was a great villain in Secret Garden and even Sweeney Todd...
DeCaprio was an asshole villain in Man in the Iron Mask
Damon took a great part in The Departed where he played on the wrong side too.

I love what Ford did whit What lies Beneath as it really caught me of guard seeing Indiana Solo be a bad guy...

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 4:21 PM   
 By:   DOGBELLE   (Member)

You want badass try to top this


 
 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 4:31 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

You guys have provided some good examples.

Deputy, I like the way your actors balance both the hero AND the villain. Good actors should do that. I'd like to add to Lithgow's credits by saying that last year he won a well-deserved Emmy for playing The Trinity Killer in DEXTER. He was superb.

David showed that Depp, DeCaprio and Damon have played some bad guys. DeCaprio needs to play a really vicious villain.

Forgot about Henry Fonda's ice cold performance in Once Upon A Time In America. I would have never thought he'd play a villain, and he did a good job.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 4:46 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Since ROCKY, Stallone has played only the good guy. Time for him to play wicked. I'd also like to see Thomas Jane be a villain. Julia Roberts is a big star but never the villain. Sweet Anne Hathaway might make a good evil person. These stars should look into such roles.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 4:48 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)


Forgot about Henry Fonda's ice cold performance in Once Upon A Time In America. I would have never thought he'd play a villain, and he did a good job.


He was also a good villain in FIRECREEK.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 5:08 PM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

On the flip-side, after seeing DeNiro playing the 'ultra-villain' so many times, it was interesting to watch him play some sympathetic characters later in his career.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 5:22 PM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

If I see James Cromwell play one more sleazy politician-who's-supposed-to-be-a-saint I think I'll scream.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2010 - 8:06 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

Actually, I think it is easier to play a meatier role (villain, mentally or physically disabled, etc.), than it is to play, say a middle-aged father, or ordinary guy or girl. Nick Nolte got all the attention playing the troubled Tom on Rich Man Poor Man, but I thought Peter Strauss gave the better performance, in a much tougher role of Rudy. Having said that, and to keep this on topic, I say Lee Marvin's Liberty Valance is in a class by itself, as is Piper Laurie's Margaret White.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2010 - 5:21 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)



Great Minds From Penn’s Woods wink Department:



PhillyJay, we’ve been waitin’ fer YEERS for someone else to echo the minority view vis-à-vis
(in our ever-unhumble estimation) Mr. Nolte’s over-lauded turn in that mini-series compared
to Mr. Strauss’ infinitely more complex characterization.



Robert Shaw’s ridiculous paean of praise forever aside (calling Mr. Nolte “the best young actor in America”
– which immediately insulted most of them – Mr. Strauss’ career has demonstrated far more versatility in
the supposedly ‘lesser’ medium of teevee than the former’s underwhelming screen stints.

SUPERLATIVE subject, Arc of Joan



only howcum no one’s mentioned this brilliant unforgettable example for memorable extortion:





 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2010 - 5:24 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Nick Nolte's acting style is nothing more than warmed-over Pat Hingle outtakes.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2010 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Good call, Neo. Olivier was awesome as the Nazi dentist.

I forgot that Heath Ledger (R.I.P) won the Oscar for the reprehensible Joker.

How about naming actors that seemed to always play villains and never heroes. I'm pondering such casting. Maybe Peter Lorre?

 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2010 - 10:23 AM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

Nick Nolte's acting style is nothing more than warmed-over Pat Hingle outtakes.

Nick is an excellent actor with plenty of performances to prove it beyond any shadow of a doubt. In all of the outstanding ensemble cast roles of "The Thin Red Line", Nolte's delivery of Colonel Tall was a tour de force and easily worthy of an oscar.

 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2010 - 10:30 AM   
 By:   Heath   (Member)

I'd like to see Tom Hanks play a complete and utter bastard some day. Then again, I'd like to see Michael Ironside play a romantic lead... I'm not holding my breath on either count. wink

 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2010 - 11:26 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Nick Nolte's acting style is nothing more than warmed-over Pat Hingle outtakes.

Nick is an excellent actor with plenty of performances to prove it beyond any shadow of a doubt. In all of the outstanding ensemble cast roles of "The Thin Red Line", Nolte's delivery of Colonel Tall was a tour de force and easily worthy of an oscar.


Spooky, scorro. After reading the post you are responding to here, I came extremely close to posting a simple "Thin Red Line?" but decided not to. Lo and behold, you read my mind. I agree that Nolte stood out with his fascinatingly complex character study and marvelous acting choices. He sizzles in every scene he's in.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2010 - 12:13 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Two great examples in one movie:

David Warner and Malcolm McDowell in "Time After Time".

Warner is delightfully hissable when he plays baddies and the few times he's been a goody were equally delightful- and convincing (Gul Madred and Chancellor Gorkon first come to mind as examples of each).

McDowell was surprisingly "buyable" as timid, gentle HG Wells. Probably (largely) because his roles as baddies have been so wonderfully juicy from the demonic energy he injects them with. Alex DeLarge... the role of a lifetime.

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2018 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.