Tougher Movie Leper: King Of Scotland From ‘Braveheart’ Or Toussaint From ‘Papillon’?
We don’t always agree on the happenings in the entertainment community, and we like to make our beefs public. There's no denying that lepers are freaks of nature, which is maybe why they're so compelling in cinema. Both the King of Scotland and Toussaint captivate our attention in their respective films, but which one would you want to tango with even less? Fight!
King of Scotland
The King of Scotland. The elder Robert the Bruce. Or even The Leper, as IMDB credits him. Call him what you will, he’s a far tougher leper than your simpleton, Toussaint. That is to say, it’s much more entertaining to watch him hobble around on screen. But it’s not like I’d ever share a Grand Slam at Denny’s with the guy. His face resembles bubbling pancake batter.
First off, The King of Scotland is…get this…A KING. That’s right, he rules a country, and the name of that country is Scotland. Does he give a shit that he’s dying from a horribly disfiguring disease? Nope! Well maybe. But he sure as hell doesn’t show any chinks in his armor. He watches over Scotland with an iron fist from a tiny room atop a tower. The only person he has any contact with is his son, Robert the Bruce. He’s diligently prepping Robert to become the next monarch, as he knows he can wrap his skin only so many times in bandages before it all slides off. The Leper doesn’t go about his lessons in a kind way either. Kings should not be softies. Take it from the man who hasn’t yet been sacked even though he appears to be in a weakened state. His people know you don’t eff with the leper. He might bite you and then you’ll get leprosy, or the 14th Century version of rabies.
Let’s dive right into The Leper’s philosophy on tough love. He LOVES it. He gives William Wallace over to Englan knowing full well that his son will despise him for it. In fact, he welcomes it. He tells him straight-out like an O.G., “Now you know what it is to hate. You are ready to be king.” And Robert the Bruce replies, “My hate will die with you.” Daaaaaaaaaaym. That’s ice cold. But The Leper stands by his decision. How can a man at the precipice of death be so stubborn? Because he doesn’t take any shit from anyone. It’s not a commendable trait, but it makes him one tough ookie cookie.
Going back to the betrayal of his son and William Wallace, he betrayed his own country in the process. That makes him a full-on traitor. The high crime of treason is the worst crime someone can commit. Pussies don’t mess with that felony. Only bad-asses do. Sure, he wanted to appease England and get his son in good over there, but turning your back on your own people is despicable. He knew full well that they’d rip Wallace limb from limb. Again, not commendable, but damn. If he’s doing all of this from some dank room in a tower, imagine what would happen if he could sit comfortably in his throne? The world should just thank its lucky stars that leprosy brought him down, because I’m not sure anyone or anything else could.
Leprosy isn’t exactly a hot topic in Hollywood. After all, lepers don’t make it out to a lot of movies, so they don’t exactly have a lot of clout in the industry. As they say, money talks, and disfiguring skin sores walk. But luckily for me, one of the few movie characters with leprosy also happens to be one tough son of a bitch. Of course, I’m talking about Toussaint from Papillon. But you already knew that, since this is a men’s movie site, and all men are required to watch Papillon.
Speaking of men, Toussaint was a real bad ass. Yeah, he had leprosy, but he wasn’t just your average punk-ass leper. No, no, no, my friend; Toussaint was chief of the lepers on the Island of Chacachacare , which was, in case you can’t figure it out, a leper colony! How bad ass is that? He basically had an army of disfigured ghouls ready to do his bidding. He even had some dogs up in that bitch. Aside from the whole leprosy thing, it was a real bad ass man pad.
But this was just his base of operations. When he wasn’t busy smoking cigars on his sun-drenched island paradise, or getting drunk on rum, he and his boys used to pull all sorts of gangster shit, like smuggling, or sneaking over to the mainland and stealing boats. Did the people on the mainland know who was stealing the boats? Probably. But who the hell is going to go over to a leper colony to get their boat back? If a leper steals my shit, he can go ahead and keep it. Luckily, I don’t write under my real name, because now that I put that out there, I bet there are a ton of lepers wanting to steal my shit. Not gonna happen, assholes.
But back to Toussaint. In the film, Papillon (as played by Steve McQueen) shows up looking for help after escaping from a nearby penal colony. But nobody, not even Steve McQueen, walks into Toussaint’s house without showing respect. In fact, it’s standard procedure to kill outsiders who show up in order not to jeopardize the thieving and smuggling. So when Papillon comes to town, he’s gotta pay the piper. He does so by taking a puff off of Toussaint’s cigar. This impresses Toussaint, who unbeknownst to Papillon, is not contagious. If you’ve ever wanted to see Steve McQueen look like he’s going to shit his pants, this is the scene to watch.
In the end, Toussaint and his lepers decide to take pity on the escaped prisoners, and provide them with supplies. They even pass the hat and round up some money for the men. Toussaint tells Papillon to go ahead and take it, since they are just going to blow the money on gambling and paying to bring in female lepers from another colony. That’s right! Even though Toussaint and his boys are horribly disfigured, they still know how to have a good time. Jesus, in high school I was worried about a few pimples. But Toussaint doesn’t even let a few thousand boils on his face stop him from getting laid.
In closing, despite of his disease, Toussaint manages to become the leader of his own island, which he uses as a base of operations for smuggling in order to fund is appetite for gambling and whores. Oh, and he scares the shit out of Steve McQueen. Is there any question that he’s the toughest leper in cinema history?