Movie lovers will recognize elements of typecasting throughout Hollywood.
It's evident in everything from animated movies to documentaries.
Tell me if this seems familiar: an opening scene showing a happy couple; a short while later, one of them winds up dead at the hands of an accident/burglars. The hero spends the rest of the movie trying to get revenge on those that took their girlfriend/wife/daughter.
Where have you seen this before?
In practically every action movie in Hollywood. It's almost always a play on that basic script. And have you noticed how some actors just seem to crop up in the same role over and over and over again?
Ask yourself this: How long will Michael Cera play an awkward teen who always lucks out?Or this: What do these movies have in common: Notting Hill, About a Boy, Bridget Jones' Diary? Hugh Grant in his 'God-given' role as a dopey Prince Charming type.
It's one thing to find a role you can pull off with ease, but isn't acting about exploring other roles, Mr. Adam Sandler a.k.a Hollywood's favorite nan-child character. With that said, some actors have professed their love for the character of the anti-hero/villain.
Truly talented actors that play the bad guy often revel in the breadth of creativity that it allows them to explore. And explore they do; many of the greats wow us by swinging effortlessly from hero to villain in our fave movies.
Gary Oldman, you'll probably remember him as Commissioner Gordon, in the Batman franchise. An all-round good guy, right? That role is a far cry from roles like the dreadlocked Drexl in True Romance, the slimy Congressman Sheldon Runyon in The Contender. Or his performance as mad punk rocker Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy, and the best, as absolutely nutso DEA agent Norman Stansfield in Léon: The Professional. These roles almost make you forget he was also Harry Potter's cool godfather, Sirius Black.
Talk about versatility. Actors like him are hard to find, but here are thirteen of them who can play the scariest bad guys.
13 Ralph Fiennes
Fiennes embodies the classic stereotype of a posh British fellow with a penchant for evil. He's had a few good guy roles; the loving husband Justin Quayle in The Constant Gardener, the hilariously camp Bernard Lafferty in Bernard and Doris. But when you examine his body of work as a villain, those are quickly forgotten.
Roles like a principled gangster Harry Waters in In Bruges, the sadistic Amon Goeth in Schindler's List and of course as 'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named', Lord Voldemort, all cement his claim to villain fame.
12 Alan Rickman
Rickman has made a name for himself playing evil characters from the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves ("Call off Christmas"!) to Hans Gruber, the crazy European hijacker of Nakatomi Plaza. You should be 'scared' when his 'least threatening' character in recent times has been as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.
11 Danny Trejo
The former alcoholic, drug user and champion prison boxer took his experiences and channeled them into acting. Even when he only seemed to land more thuggish roles, no thanks to his looks, he embraced his 'uniqueness.'
He's built his career playing roles like the hit-man, Navajas from Desperado or as the crazy bartender, Razor Charlie in From Dusk Till Dawn.
10 Javier Bardem
In playing the blonde and insane Raoul Silva in Skyfall, Bardem showed just how just versatile he can be. While he has played a few dramatic roles, we haven't forgotten his accurate portrayal of the psychopathic hit man, Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men. The clipped dialog, the dead look in his eyes, flipping a coin to decide who lived or died; all contributed to a role so convincing that he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for it.
Bardem is set to play Jack Sparrow's rival in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
9 Christopher Lee
Long before the Jaguar Super Bowl ads that 'saluted British Villains', there was one Englishman rocking the villain badge with pride. Sir Christopher Lee was in a class of his own, with his imposing height, craggy face and deep, sinister voice.
As a versatile actor, he could flip from the slick, slimy Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun to the evil Saruman in LOTR. Director loved him so much that he got to play Dracula, twice!
8 Dennis Hopper
After his second-ever role as the fresh faced Jordan Benedict III in 1956's Giant, Hopper went on a totally different arc as his career developed. His bad guys have run the entire spectrum of villainy; from pot dealer Feck in River's Edge to King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.
Regardless of plot or costume, Hopper just seemed to shine when playing a totally bonkers villain. And nowhere was he more unhinged than in the 1986 Blue Velvet, playing the evil Frank Booth. Or was he better as ex-cop Howard Payne in Speed?
7 Robert LaSardo
You'd probably stereotype LaSardo at first sight, no thanks to an extensive amount of tattoos covering most of his back, chest, neck, and arms, but he's no two-bit hack. He started his career at New York's High School of Performing Arts, before going to the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.
With his permanently shaven head, the way he cocks his head to one side, roles like Memmo Fierro in CSI: Miami and as every Latino ganag-banger. LaSardo has the evil villain vibe down to an art.
6 Robert Knepper
Does the name Theodore Bagwell ring any bells? How about T-Bag? In his role as one of the villainous Fox River Eight, Knepper was praised as "...one of the greatest television villains of all time..." Knepper had been acting for over two decades, but it was his role as T-Bag that pushed him into the limelight. His portrayal of T-Bag even became the standard for a TV baddie. Immediately after Prison Break ended, he was picked to star as villain Samuel Sullivan in the fourth season of Heroes.
He's since starred (as a villain) in TV's Criminal Minds, Mob City, Arrow, and in movies like Transporter 3, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. It must be something in those eyes...
5 Harvey Keitel
Following his debut in 1968 in Scorsese’s Who’s That Knocking at My Door, with the Mafia debt collector in Mean Streets, Keitel has largely stuck to playing no-nonsense tough guys. His performances range from mobster Mickey Cohen, the crazy pimp in Taxi Driver to corrupt lieutenant Ray Donlan.
A psychiatrist once called Harvey Keitel very intense, which isn't far from the truth, as the man himself says "...It’s not difficult for me to scare myself. I’m scared all the time..." While he has also played a few good guy roles, we love his ability to switch effortlessly and if you ask us, he's a better baddie.
4 Christopher Walken
His few good guy roles seem like an anomaly in his acting career; quirky, almost random roles like in the weird movie, Communion and as the eccentric exterminator in Mousehunt. But he balanced those hammy parts with a large body of work playing weirdo villains.
With roles like the Archangel Gabriel in The Prophecy or the sadistic Mr Smith in Nick of Time; he even manages to bring a slimy, unhinged character to Max Zorin in A View to a Kill. Maybe it's those eyeballs, the sallow sunken face, or his ability to monologue with the most dead pan stare, but we feel Walken is an excellent baddie.
3 Mark Pellegrino
You probably wouldn't peg his sleepy eyes and chilled personality for a baddie. But trust us, he's brilliant at it. Look a little closer and you'll recognize him from multiple roles as some of the worst movie villains.
Parts like the blond thug who stuffs the Dude's head down the toilet in The Big Lebowski, murderer Dick Hickok in Capote, all-round douchebag Paul Bennett in Dexter and as the leader of a vampire coven in Being Human. Do you believe us yet?
For Pellegrino, it's not by accident but by design. He says he actually enjoys playing villainous characters. Probably why he has played one of the baddest of them all, in his portrayal of the ultimate super villain, Lucifer on Supernatural.
2 Steve Buscemi
Long before he was mob boss Nucky Thompson, Buscemi was rocking the villain tag with gusto. He started his carer playing a gay songwriter then a small time crook, but around 1990, he flipped the script and started to perform as some of the oddest movie villains.
He was a dapper Mr. Pink in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, the soft-spoken serial killer in Con Air even voicing Randall Boggs, the multi-legged lizard-monster in Monsters Inc. Whether stereotyped as an oddball or a stark-raving mad baddie, Buscemi delivers a memorable performance.
1 Tobin Bell
Bell is the epitome of dedication to his craft. An actor since 1982, Bell only got offered bit parts and even uncredited parts. He took it all in stride and slowly (across 23 movies) built a reputation for himself. He played the Unabomber in a 1996 made-for-TV film, then in 2004, he was given the lead as Jigsaw Killer in the Saw franchise.
His deadpan, ill-looking demeanor that hid a brilliant mind, chilled viewers to the bone. Reprising the role six more times, he has since landed parts that mimic the character, while also picking up numerous Best Villian awards. Bell also professes his love for the role of the bad guy. Hey, if you know what you are god at, go for it.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list. There are thespians like Hugo Weaving, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Crispin Glover, who also pull off the creepy villain, even without saying a word.