Tag Archives: character actors

My top 10 character actors

To make it as a Hollywood leading man you not only need to be an amazing actor but you also need the looks and the body to pull in the crowds. Fortunately good movies are not all about the leading man and some of the most memorable performances come from actors who have made their name playing secondary characters rather than they guy who saves the day/gets the girl/wins the game. They appear again and again often carving out a niche but most of the time no one remembers their names. Without them the world of cinema would be a much more boring place. These are my favourites.

2014AndySerkis_Getty453915637210314Andy Serkis
Niche role: More often than not you never actually see Serkis’ face since he’s a pioneer in playing motion-capture characters.
Most memorable role: Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Show-stealing ability: 7/10
“For me, I’ve never drawn a distinction between live-action acting and performance-capture acting. It is purely a technology.”

Danny-Trejo---Machete-005Danny Trejo
Niche role:
If you need a tough Latino convict/gangster/drug dealer there simply isn’t anyone better
Most memorable role: Machete in Machete (2010) and Machete Kills (2013)
Show-stealing ability: 5/10
“Hollywood wants guys who can act tough – Hollywood don’t want tough guys.”

Eddie-Marsan-interview-007Eddie Marsan
Niche role: The straight man to an utterly out of control wild character, who takes his loyalty for granted.
Most memorable role: Bladsey in Filth (2013)
Show-stealing ability: 4/10
“I sometimes think if I had gone to Oxford or Cambridge and looked like a handsome young guy who could be in an Evelyn Waugh novel or something, I’d be a massive movie star. But there’s a longevity to what I do. It’s more reliable. Someone isn’t deciding that I’m the next big thing. Because if they’re deciding I’m the next big thing, they can decide that someone else is the next big thing.”

ernie_hudson_bannerErnie Hudson
Niche role: Police chief who acts as a voice of reason
Most memorable role: Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989)
Show-stealing ability: 3/10
“After all these years, almost 30 years later, whenever I’m on the street, someone will call out, ‘Who you gonna call?'”

hoffman_2815206bPhilp Seymour Hoffman Niche role: Larger-than-life eccentric who has a cutting insight into what is going on
Most memorable role: Lester Bangs in Almost Famous (2010)
Show-stealing ability: 9/10
“Actors are responsible to the people we play. I don’t label or judge. I just play them as honestly and expressively and creatively as I can, in the hope that people who ordinarily turn their heads in disgust instead think, ‘What I thought I’d feel about that guy, I don’t totally feel right now’ “

img_8896Jason Flemyng
Niche role: Monster with a heart. His best roles always seem to involve full disfiguring make-up.
Most memorable role: Azazel in X-Men: First Class (2011)
Show-stealing ability: 5/10
“My skill, which I’ve mastered, is being slightly out of focus behind really expensive actors.”

movies-chris-cooperChris Cooper
Niche role: Tough but flawed military man
Most memorable role: Colonel Fitts in American Beauty (2000)
Show-stealing ability: 8/10
“I suspect that a lot of studio executives still think of me as ‘what’s-his-name’.”

pete-postlethwaite-311372914Pete Poselthwaite
Niche role: Wise father-figure
Most memorable role: Father Laurence in Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Show-stealing abilitiy: 6/10
“It’s all in the cheekbones, this career of mine. They are quite whopping, aren’t they? Who was it that said, ‘He looks like he’s got a clavicle stuck in his mouth?'”

william-Fichtner-prison-break1William Fichtner
Niche role: Morally bereft sleaze-ball
Most memorable role: John Carlyle in Elysium (2013)
Show-stealing ability: 5/10
“What I truly get excited about is not the genre of a movie or the size of a part – it’s character. I like to find characters.”

Reservoir Dogs (1992)Steve Buscemi
Niche role: Creepy loser/nutter who never stops talking
Most memorable character: Mr Pink in Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Show-stealing ability: 10/10
“It’s weird; I was not a really tough guy in high school, but I end up playing all of these psychopaths and criminals. I don’t really care who they are, as long as they are complicated and going through something that I can understand and put across.”