5 'Good Guy' Actors And Their Weird Villain Roles
Those of us who love movies and TV shows often become attached to specific actors, especially if one associates them with friendly, heroic characters. But as much as certain stars may give you a warm fuzzy feeling like a hug from a blow-dried Wookie on a winter's day, actors are basically just professional liars. It turns out that even some of the most beloved cinematic thespians also turned in some shockingly monstrous performances, such as how …
Tom Hanks Played Several History-Spanning Sleazebags in Cloud Atlas
With the possible exception of anyone who revisited the sexual politics of Big as an adult, pretty much everybody loves Tom Hanks. He's Forrest Gump, Woody from Toy Story, and … whoever Wilson's buddy from Cast Away was. He won his first Oscar for Philadelphia and made us all laugh on Saturday Night Live with David S. Pumpkins -- incidentally, the "S" stands for "Seems like everybody forgot all about David S. Pumpkins." Tom Hanks is so widely adored, America was even cool with his dead-eyed animated avatar abducting scores of children on Christmas Eve.
While Hanks has mostly played good guys on the big screen, he has played a few baddies too. He was a '30s gangster in Road to Perdition -- but even then, he was still ultimately given the virtuous task of protecting his young son. But then came Cloud Atlas, the 2012 movie about … well, who the hell knows. The ensemble cast routinely swapped parts (and – collar tug – races) in the assorted segments throughout the story's timeline, either due to the running theme of reincarnation or just budget cuts. So in the film, Hanks plays several heroes, but he also plays several of history's dirtbags, such as an old-timey con-man who poisons people while masquerading as a doctor.
In another segment, Hanks plays an over-the-top Irish gangster who murders a literary critic at a party by literally tossing him off of a balcony. We even see the poor chap hit the ground like a grocery bag full of SpaghettiOs.
Impressively, Hanks does all this while dressed like he's about to hit the Roxbury with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan.
Chris Evans Was a Mustachioed Assassin in The Iceman
Chris Evans is, of course, most famous for playing superheroes like Captain America in the MCU, and horny, snowboarding Human Torch in the very 2005 Fantastic Four movie. He also played generic "handsome guy" roles like Jake Wyler in Not Another Teen Movie and a character literally just named "Harvard Hottie" in The Nanny Diaries.
As we've mentioned before, Evans has branched out into more antagonistic roles over the course of his career, like Lucas Lee in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. But even then, he was still playing a buffoonish variation on the leading man archetype. And in Knives Out (SPOILERS for a movie we can't imagine hasn't already been spoiled for you by this point), Evans' Ransom Drysdale turns out to be the killer, yet he only gets to play one scene of true villainy, having spent the rest of the movie in douchey trust fund kid mode.
Evans really got to flex his bad guy muscle (which you probably couldn't see under all the other muscles) in the little-seen 2012 crime flick The Iceman starring Michael Shannon as real-life hitman Richard Kuklinski. Adding to the misconception that this movie is about sentient snow monsters, Chris Evans plays a character called Mr. Freezy, another contract killer who rides around an ice cream truck, not unlike Freddy Krueger.
Evans is pretty great in the role; for one thing, his mid-'70s style, which lands somewhere between Frank Zappa and an Andy Kaufman alter ego, is damn impressive.
And Evans' job wasn't an easy one; he basically had to show up and be creepier than Michael Shannon -- which he somehow nailed.
Harrison Ford Was a Crazed Murderer in What Lies Beneath
Who among us doesn't love Harrison Ford? He was Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Sgt. Joe Gavilan … you know, from Hollywood Homicide … that movie with Josh Hartnett? Remember, Ford was a police detective who sold real estate on the side? No? Nothing? Harrison Ford has also played some morally ambiguous characters over the years, like Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, but only once did he play a straight-up villain.
At the risk of spoiling What Lies Beneath, a 20-year-old thriller that only exists because the crew of Cast Away needed to take a break while Tom Hanks dieted, Harrison Ford totally turns out to be a murderer. His wife, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, pieces together that Ford's character had an affair with a student, then killed her, and her ghost began haunting their luxurious home. Which is kind of nuts, but again, it passed the time while Tom Hanks starved himself.
In what may or may not have been an intentional meta-twist, Harrison Ford's one villain role also serves as a dark reflection of some of his more famous gigs. In Presumed Innocent, he plays a man wrongly accused of murdering his mistress. Here he's totally guilty of a similar crime. In The Fugitive, he was constantly yelling about how he didn't kill his wife. In the third act of What Lies Beneath, we see him repeatedly trying to kill his wife. Luckily she survives, so he doesn't get the chance to blame it on an amputee.
And as for the part about his character having an affair with a student, as we've mentioned before, it is revealed in early drafts of Raiders of the Lost Ark (and possibly even implied in the film itself) that Indiana Jones is totally hooking up with his young students -- so really, if we count Indy, Ford has played two movie villains.
Robin Williams Was Creepy as Hell in One Hour Photo
For anybody who grew up watching movies in the '90s, Robin Williams was simply everything. It would be impressive for an actor to have just one role that became formative for an entire generation, but Williams was not only The Genie in Aladdin, but also Alan from Jumanji, and friggin' Mrs. Doubtfire -- not to mention his dramatic work in movies like Awakenings and The Fisher King. There are far too many titles to mention, but suffice it to say that it's hard to even fathom that another performer could ever be more beloved than Robin Williams -- which is probably why the year 2002 was such a shock …
That year we got the much-maligned Death to Smoochy in which Williams plays a vengeful children's TV host, followed by Christopher Nolan's Insomnia in which he plays an actual serial killer, in a dark twist that Patch Adams never took.
Just a few months later saw the release of One Hour Photo, in which Williams plays a photo technician at a Walmart-like store who looks kind of like if Eminem was a haunted, middle-aged ventriloquist dummy. He starts obsessing over one particular repeat customer and his family, and things go downhill from there ...
Williams garnered much acclaim for his disturbing performance, which was so creeptastic, one can't help but wonder if this movie helped expedite the digital photo revolution at all.
Jason Sudeikis Became a Toxic Creep in Colossal
Jason Sudeikis has played a number of affable characters over the years, including David the loveable pot dealer in We're the Millers, a way more fun version of Joe Biden on Saturday Night Live, and while his character in Horrible Bosses isn't exactly a beacon of excellence, at least he's part of a conspiracy to bump off Kevin Spacey. But these days, Sudeikis is obviously most well-known for Ted Lasso, the acclaimed feel-good comedy with a nails-on-a-chalkboard-like theme song.
Fans of Sudeikis' role as the walking embodiment of kindness may not realize that he played a villain recently in the highly-underrated Colossal. What makes the film so effective is how it uses Sudeikis' nice-guy charms to lull us into a false sense of security as Gloria, played by Anne Hathaway. She reconnects with her childhood friend Oscar, played by Sudeikis – only to eventually realize that he's less of a rom-com love interest, and more of a manipulative piece of shit who delights in abusing women, especially when he's drinking. Without giving too much away, things get pretty bad. Oh, and giant Godzilla-like monsters are involved.
We're not saying that this means that the third season of Ted Lasso will reveal that Ted's charms are really just a front for a sea of emotional toxicity that will erupt in some kind of Kaiju fight, but we're also not not saying that.
Top Image: Apple/Neon