After considering the entries here for way too long, I’m a little disheartened to see that it could still just as easily be titled “9 Handsome Actors,” which isn’t much of a list.
But such is the way of the world. Handsome actors (and beautiful actresses, for that matter) are often given whatever the opposite of “the benefit of the doubt” is. (“The hindrance of the certainty?” No. That’s just stupid.) They are written off until they take pains to prove themselves, which generally comes by removing themselves from their comfort zones and tackling more difficult, creative material.
For instance, I have little doubt that Ashton Kutcher could actually appear on this list if he would ever try his hand at a film that wasn’t a romantic comedy, but alas. If you look at entries 8-5, they all shook their images by playing against type, except for perhaps Jackman, who is still a singing and dancing fool, but has killed it with his performance in The Prestige and even scene stealing turns in crappier fare like Swordfish.
At any rate, here are eight actors we used to sort of hate, and now we short of don’t.
The Old Guard
Pitt’s ascent from “heartthrob” to established, respected actor is indicative of the path many actors on this list have taken. After turns in such chick-friendly fare as Legends of the Fall, Thelma and Louise, and Interview with a Vampire, he turned the pretty boy image on its head with appearances in Twelve Monkeys, Se7en, Fight Club, and Snatch, quickly ingratiating him to the male audiences so determined to hate the handsome bastard. We held out as long as we could.
Honestly, Wahlberg’s path doesn’t mirror Pitt’s too closley. After making a name for himself as Donnie Wahlberg’s brother and as a pant-less rapper, Wahlberg turned in a pretty hammy but fun performance in Fear that didn’t do much to dispel people of the notion that he was a buff meathead. Honestly, he still wrestles with that preconceived notion today, after playing befuddled, overwhelmed (albeit endearing) characters in films such as I Heart Huckabees and Boogie Nights. But turns in other David O. Russell films like Three Kings and The Fighter have dispelled many of the oafish first impressions.