September 20, 2013 by
To celebrate Halloween only being a few short weeks away, we’re celebrating the actors who scare us all year round. Whether it’s through a disarming charm or downright evil intentions, these actors were born to play villains.
Many of these actors have appeared in various roles, as both good and bad guys, but their bad guy performances have been nothing short of stand out. Whether they’re seasoned villains or deviating from their type cast, no-one can send shivers down our spines quite like these five actors.
DiCaprio has played a huge range of characters throughout his career, transforming him from heart throb status to genuine Hollywood legend. No character he has played however has been quite as outright evil as Calvin Candie in Django Unchained.
It is DiCaprio’s charm that makes this character so despicable. He successfully utilises his charisma we so enjoy in his other roles, forces us as an audience to find him amiable, and then turns from slightly evil to outright detestable!
While Bond villains are famous for their extravagant, almost cartoonish personas, Bardem’s role as Silva in 2012’s Skyfall completely reinvented what a Bond villain is. Cold, calculating and unpredictable, he is the perfect match for 007 himself.
Bardem plays the character with perfect balance; it pays respect to the previous actors to take on the antagonist’s role in the Bond franchise through a devilish attitude and over-the-top actions, but it is when he is talking to Bond one-on-one that the actor truly shines.
Joaquin Phoenix has a unique acting method, as he is able to take even likeable characters and provide them with natural, human depth, showing that no one character is truly good or truly bad. It was his turn as Commodus in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, however, that truly showed how evil this actor could be.
He seems to have travelled from the period itself as he so perfectly embodies the arrogance and mentality that must have surely come from a position of such power. Whether he is loud and aggressive or quietly threatening, the actor has a wonderful ability to simply make your skin crawl.
From a heart throb in A Knight’s Tale and 10 Things I Hate About You, to a sensitive, conflicted cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, it is a telling thing that Ledger’s most celebrated role has been as The Joker in The Dark Knight.
The Joker is perhaps one of the best known villains from the Batman franchise, and many were unhappy with Ledger as the choice for the role. However, the power and pure evil he brought to the character has only served to widen the adoration found for this villain who is, arguably, now more popular than Batman himself.
A quiet, criminally under-recognised actor, Dourif came to fame as the insecure and vulnerable Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and has gone on to have a varied and rich acting career. It was his role as Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings franchise that brought his abilities to a mainstream audience, as he transformed himself into a sickly, purely evil character.
It is his slimy, manipulative performance that sees him crowned as one of cinema’s greatest villainous actors. While others have shown themselves to be powerful, scene-stealing villains, Dourif is understated and all the more creepy for it, perfectly playing against the other characters on screen.