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Getting Into Character

As I’ve grown older I’ve come to more deeply appreciate the role of the director in the film industry, to the point where I’ll look for the directors credentials on a new film before I give much thought to the actors involved. That said, there’s a real difference when an actor actually enjoys what they’re doing and the characters that they’re playing.

For The Love Of It

Some actors just straight up love what they do, and as geek culture grows stronger and more and more celebrities get insanely passionate about those characters that they always wanted to play from comics. We all know I’m talking about Ryan Reynolds, but he’s not the only one.

Many of us are familiar with the hard fought and so far unsuccessful campaign to get a sequel to 2012’s Dredd, and while the fan support was massive, there was no greater proponents for the movement than the star and the EP, Carl Urban and Adi Shankar. The outpouring of love for the adaption of the 2000AD comic series was immense despite being a bit of a bust at the box office, sadly a victim of poor marketing and show-times. Watching the film itself, the difference between Urban and Stallone’s interpretation of the same character are dramatic, the better film is painfully obvious and it’s due in no small part to the passion of the crew behind it.

And also I just got back from watching Deadpool. It was the opening day – at least in Britain it was, dunno about the rest of you – so I shan’t spoil anything for you, but love shines through every pore of that film.

Coming off comics for a moment, classic World War II sitcom Dad’s Army recently saw a feature length remake, despite the fact that the original cast – who were already thoroughly agèd at the time – have almost entirely passed on. Those chosen to replace them were almost perfect, Toby Jones is a notorious character actor who gave a sterling lead performance as Captain Mainwaring perfected every mannerism down to the breathing. If you have even vague memories of the original, watch the film.

Playing The Villain

There is no denying it, villains have more fun. Evil people have no constraints, get to do all the fun things like plot, conspire and laugh maniacally while the heroes do the hard work of rushing around and crawling through air vents. From an actor’s perspective, the villains are often caricatures with exaggerated personality features that are easier to play up to.

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Many actors have an easy ride as villainous types, Brad Dourif is naturally creepy, Mark Strong is naturally sinister, and John Malkovich is an actual lunatic who combines sinister and creepy in even measure. Talking of caricatures, The Joker is a hard fought for role that Mark Hamill has only recently relinquished, while the job is supposedly cursed, it often leaves some incredible memorable performances.

Oh and let’s not forget that Tom Hiddleston can’t seem to let go of being Loki once the cameras stop rolling. Seriously click that link…

The Reverse

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Bruce Willis no longer enjoys acting. Surrogates, recent Die Hards, a battery of interviews, sadly even R.E.D and Looper – which were both superb films – all show evidence of his increasing lack of interest. A sad thing to see happen, but he’s not the only one. A quick google search will reveal a battery of actors who have grown to hate certain roles, some of which are their most famous. Robert Pattinson and Twilight, George Clooney rightly hated his time as the caped crusader, and Mark Wahlberg hated the Happening as much as the rest of us did, and to watch the films it really shows.

As an odd contrast Anthony Hopkins was magnificent as Hannibal Lecter in all three films, no matter the quality of Red Dragon, Hopkins still owned the role. Still, he regretted reprising the role, so much so that he could no longer enjoy Silence of the Lambs to the same extent. It has been suggested that the character began to affect him too deeply, but it could be as simple as he was unimpressed with the end product.

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