Screen Junkies » movie villains http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:06:02 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 When Good Stars Go Bad: Eight Actors and Their Most Villainous Film Roles http://www.screenjunkies.com/general/when-good-stars-go-bad-eight-actors-and-their-most-villainous-film-roles/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/general/when-good-stars-go-bad-eight-actors-and-their-most-villainous-film-roles/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:42:28 +0000 DustinSeibert http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=264813 These actors are known for playing the good guy (or gal), but they all broke bad at one point in their career!

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Idris Elba is taking on his first big-screen baddie role as a sociopathic home invader in this Friday’s No Good Deed. While it’s not his first-ever role as a bad guy — that would be his star-making turn as Russell “Stringer” Bell in HBO’s G.O.A.T. show The Wire — he’s definitely going against type. Since Hollywood realized that Elba makes women of all ethnicities go googly-eyed, he’s committed to a lot of roles that don’t really do much to mess with that image. So Elba’s Colin Evans, who terrorizes Taraji P. Henson’s character along with her son in No Good Deed, is a bold step.

Elba is not the first actor to do what I like to call the “Anti-Will Smith“: Step outside of their comfort zone and tackle a challenging, against-type antagonist role. Of course, these efforts often have mixed results, even for the best actors. Below are just a few, high-profile examples of good stars gone bad.

Robin Williams (InsomniaOne Hour Photo, and Death to Smoochy, all 2002) – After spending a quarter century playing the funny guy on television and the big screen, Williams decided to go full dark twice in one year — as a killer opposite Al Pacino in the underrated Insomnia and as a creepy photo technician in One Hour Photo — and comedically dark in Death to Smoochy. So much has been said about Williams in the wake of his death a month ago that I risk redundancy, but his 2002 run showed that he possessed the range, and courage, not to box himself in professionally.

Tom Cruise (Collateral, 2004) – Cruise has been kicking all types of ass as the hero protagonist for several decades, so what better way to make a sharp left turn than a gritty Michael Mann film? I’ve yet to meet a soul who doesn’t think this movie is at least entertaining, and Cruise does the slow-burn contract killer bit marvelously. Less couch jumping and stupid religions, more bad guys, please.

Denzel Washington (Training Day, 2001) – The role that finally netted Washington a Best Actor Oscar when he did 861,482,176,253 movies that deserved it before. It’s hard to say that he dug more into this role than others, but it was very obvious he enjoyed every inch of Alonzo Harris. He out-acted Ethan Hawke in so much of the film that Hawke should’ve just been credited as “Random White Cop.” Washington has played morally fuzzy anti-heroes since, but nothing as explosive as here.

Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014) – It took this and this to solidify my resolve to never sit through all of ASM2. They also confirmed that playing a cornball super villain is not a good look for Foxx and his Best Actor Oscar. He’s proven time and again that he has range, so I’d like to see him in a real-world bad guy role that flexes the acting skills we all know he has.

Kathy Bates (Misery, 1990) – Misery is arguably the best Stephen King movie adaptation of all time, not because of a bedridden Sonny Corleone, but because Bates’ Annie Wilkes gave everybody nightmares when the movie came out. An unimpressive film and television career transformed to starring roles and A-list goodness for Bates after the role; she wouldn’t play a baddie again until FX’s American Horror Story: Coven in 2013.

Macaulay Culkin (The Good Son, 1993) – Gotta give it up to the Mac: After becoming America’s Moppet Sweetheart thanks to My Girl and the Home Alone films, dude decided to tackle a role as a sinister child killer. The movie wasn’t great, but as an adolescent, even I was a little creeped out waiting for little Kevin to pop up around the corner and kill Elijah Wood. Now, I’m sure I’d just laugh my ass off at the whole thing. Speaking of Elijah Wood…

Elijah Wood (Sin City, 2oo5) – Though he didn’t speak a word in the role, seeing Wood as the psychopathic cannibal Kevin was enough to make you forget that you’re dealing with friggin’ Frodo. Going heads-up with Mickey Rourke’s Marv is a battle that didn’t bode well for him, but even his (SPOILER!) decapitated head with that perpetual grin was freaky. Wood went bad again in 2012′s Maniac. 

Harrison Ford (What Lies Beneath, 2000) – Ford locked down the handsome, brooding swashbuckler bit in the 1970s and 80s, which is why it was probably smart that he waited until he was pushing 60 to play his first bad guy. The hook here is that Ford’s good Dr. Norman Spencer doesn’t become bad until (SPOILER!) the final act twist reveals he’s the killer and his current wife, Michelle Pfeiffer, must escape with her life. While we didn’t get a whole film of Bad Han Solo, Ford played those final minutes with an appropriate amount of menace.

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