Ten Actors and Actresses Who Deserve Better Roles
|LISTS - MOVIE LISTS|
Why is the phone not ringing off the hook for these often mis-used actors...?
Having started his career in crappy bit parts such as Scream 2 and Gone in Sixty Seconds, he hit the big time with the dream role of Seth Bullock in the excellent TV series Deadwood. Although, it was kind of the Ian McShane show, it would be nothing without Mr. Olyphant. He acted superbly; a seeming calm fury amongst the chaos. However, after the epic series ended in 2006 – what’s happened? Nothing. Well I mean he has done the poor Catch and Release, the horrendous Hitman and recently, the disappointing The Crazies but this bunch of bargain basement films is nothing to write home about.
I think the problem is people don’t know what to do with him. His attempt at a Statham-esque killing machine was mismatched and tonally, it left a rather bitter taste. On the other hand, his touchy-feely romantic lead seemed to jar. However, I feel Olyphant was not to blame; the parts were not right for him, and Hitman’s script was terrible, meaning he was stuck spurting out dirge with no room to exude his typical rough charisma. He was one of the shining lights in The Crazies, making us care for his cause, and was highly believable in the role. The main problem here is the old TV-to-film transition; great on the small box, underused on the big screen.
SOLUTION: Olyphant needs a Hans Gruber role. Yes I know he did Die Hard 4.0 (I was there man! Just let Willis say his god damn catchphrase!) but the problem is Len Wiseman can do a pretty shop window but cannot get to grips with meaty roles for his actors. As a result, Olyphant was a limp-dicked jumped-up accountant. What this man needs is a John McTiernan or Jon Favreau. Bear with me on that one; Favreau reignites careers as seen with RDJ; indeed Downey Jr is a much better actor but that’s not the point. Favreau's frantic energy could breathe some life into Olyphant’s dowdy career and just let him run free. No more cheap shock films; give the man some meat (hey you read it to that what you will).
Ok I will admit that Mr. Fillion is a personal fave of mine. As a man comfortable with my heterosexuality, I’ll gladly admit that if the offer was available, I would accept a romantic date with Nathan Fillion in a second. Just saying; he’s a good-looking guy. If you’re out there Nathan, call me. Anyway, back to the point, as Mal, he captured nerds/geeks alike in pure awe of his charm and effortlessness. You wanted to date Mal (call me; oh give over...); you wanted him to be your best friend; you just wanted him in your life. Joss Whedon and Fillion are pure gold – Whedon writes it, Fillion effortlessly utters it.
Fillion exudes an enormously charming persona; your eyes are glued to him at all times. Furthermore, Fillion is one of the few actors who could have pulled off Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog delivering lines such as “the Hammer is my penis”. Dear God, no one else could get away with stuff like that without sounding either patronising or just stupid.
Like Olyphant, he suffers from TV syndrome. On TV, he’s fantastic, charismatic and highly watchable; however, the Hollywood producers seem to struggle in finding a role for him. In Waitress, he did great, but that film got appalling distribution. Hollywood seems to want to pigeon-hole him as a handsome hunk, but he’s not that simple.
SOLUTION: GIVE JOSS WHEDON A DAMN BUDGET!!! Hollywood, for God’s sake, I mean you give Doug Liman and the Wayans brothers budgets, are you just anti-good dialogue? Imagine – a new sci-fi film (Whedon can sort out details) with a $40 million plus budget and Nathan Fillion as the lead; hopefully not too much like Firefly/Serenity though - don’t want him to be typecast - but you see what I’m getting at. Also, you may have seen the rather brilliant fan-made trailer with him as the lead in the Green Lantern; just saying that would have been pretty epic. Nevertheless, give him a Marvel/DC lead role for him to stretch his legs in - with Justice League and Avengers movies shaping up rather nicely, there must be one spare part floating around...
No come back! Please? Give me a couple of seconds to explain – go on (puppy dog eyes so cute your steely heart just melts). Ok you’re in! Woop! Seriously, think about this - she doesn’t need more of those crappy rom-com roles; her recent work in the travesty that was The Bounty Hunter. Ever since the end of Friends, she’s either been a control freak looking for love or... no that’s it actually (ok, Derailed is an exception to this rule, but it's crap). Anniston and her agent need to stop looking for the pay cheque and start looking for the role.
She has indeed been the most successful of the Friends cast in the 6 years following the show’s finale, but look down the CV and what is there? Balls, balls and more balls. It’s just hot air. However, if we look towards TV, she did a great cameo in 30 Rock and teamed up with Courtney Cox in Dirt which worked amazingly well. So you maybe shouting “She belongs on the TV! Nowhere else!” Hold your horses’ big guy. I have a solution...
SOLUTION: Anniston can act; as a die hard Friends fan, I will stick up for her a bit here. So as a suggestion, call in the Coen brothers. Oh yes, I said the Coen brothers. Just think: they love to do kooky, adventurous and most importantly different films. Square peg in a round hole? Perhaps, but she deserves a chance. Imagine a suburbia drama or just a punchy eccentric magical story with her as the lead spouting GOOD dialogue and revelling in a three dimensional character. If anyone could do it, it’s the Coen Brothers. I mean look at Jennifer Jason Leigh in Hudsucker Proxy – full of life and excitement and Frances McDormand in Fargo – rightly Oscar awarded and a brilliant calm in the madness - the audience laps up every second they’re on the screen so the pair do have a proven track record with women. It could work. Have some faith. It’ll never happen but I think it’d fix her right up.
P.S I’ll admit my solution for this one is a tad farfetched, however, I do think Ms Anniston could do it. However, she deserves a big slap first – Marley and Me – dear god woman...
John C. Reilly
This man is funny. Genuinely funny; and he’s genuinely talented as well - just look at Chicago. His portrayal of Amos Hart shows a deft skill at presenting a man downtrodden by life and love. A man dedicated to what he beliefs in but doesn’t have the willpower, the brains, the money or the looks to achieve anything. Sorry John, you’re not quite a Fillion. It’s an excellent performance and it’s sadly overshadowed by the glitz and glamour of Richard Gere; slightly ironic in all honesty. Nevertheless it proves he can hold his own; I dare you to watch it again (it’s not that bad... ok maybe it is, but still, I’m making a point here!) and not be slightly teary at his beautiful rendition of Mister Cellophane. He has not only cracked musical roles but has managed to bring us performances of epic proportions with The Hours and Magnolia getting exceptional mentions.
Furthermore, personally, I felt he was funnier than Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights; Ferrell does the same routine whereas as Reilly actually has range. I’ll admit as freely as anyone that Walk Hard was pretty terrible but Reilly does his best to keep it together. So he can sing, do comedy and do drama all very competently YET he gets sod all. Never headlining a major blockbuster or in any Oscar poking indie drama? Indeed, he gets dumped in the shit pile that was Vampire’s Assistant; it’s a credit to him that he left the whole affair with his head held high (high five also to Willem Dafoe). This man is so criminally underrated it’s ridiculous. He is Mister Cellophane in real life; he’s been in so many films and I bet you didn’t even notice him. Look at him; I mean I know he isn’t a looker but this man is a seriously good actor.
SOLUTION: Well, this one is hard. It’s like the opposite of Jennifer Anniston who has looks but limited talent: but still give her a chance (high five for undermining your own argument...). However, I think this man needs a King of Comedy role. He has enough wit and cynicism to pull it off yet his pure humanity and ability to blur the line between sympathy and pity would make him the perfect choice. Furthermore, it would finally give him a chance to be centre stage and show off all of his acting abilities.
Ok, admit it, you watched Casino Royale and went “wow!” The revamp of Bond was great, but I’m sure the male readers out there noticed a certain Eva Green. She sizzles with her effervescent sexuality and it surrounds and absorbs you completely enthralling you. The problem is Joe Public; many friends of mine thought this was her film debut; indeed, Joe Public was mistaken. Her debut had arrived at the hands of Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers. She commits herself completely (pretty graphic sex scenes; the stuff puberty hitting 13 year olds dream about) providing her role with emotional depth and vivacity. She avoids stereotypes and clichés surprisingly well which is a credit to Green, who also gave a superb, disturbed performance in the indie sci-fi Franklyn.
However, in her attempt to make it big, she became involved in The Golden Compass (sounds like some sort of 70s drug lord...). Although, she shines brightest; her career seems to have been dragged down by it. A greater problem is Hollywood has no idea what to do with her (a recurring theme here...). The mad French woman who is so sophisticated yet so sexy your pants are already off as you read this. So what to do?
SOLUTION: She got dropped from her role in Antichrist due to a complicated contract. Hmmm. Anyway, Lars Von Trier – the Greatest Director on Earth according to... himself – needs to get on the phone and call her up. Ms Green is perfect for any role Mr von Trier has in mind (don’t get too many dirty thoughts kids). Furthermore, another possible shining knight comes in the form of King Quiff David Lynch. Nuff said.
Billy Bob Thornton
This is another guilty pleasure of mine. However, this man can act. A proven track record in Primary Colours, Monster’s Ball and Friday Night Lights; Billy Bob is the king of the under-rated. His Western charm and hint of mischief warms you to him. Furthermore, Bad Santa is only watchable due to him. Oh hell, I love him in Armageddon too; the only character who has depth and those who suffered Trannies 2 (thank the Razzie awards for that) will know it is not down to Michael Bay's delicate touch.
There are two problems here – 1) Hollywood doesn’t have enough faith in him - he can play the supporting role in the films aforementioned but give him his own film?! Are you MAD?! He’s not sophisticated enough; he’s not delicate enough. Bollocks. Indeed, they seem to compensate him with tacky and weak roles such as Mr. Woodcock and School for Scoundrels. Hollywood seems more interested in his accent than his talent. Bad times.
SOLUTION: Ok, so a Texan man with an accent as thick as your mother (ok, apologies, I love your mum really, please don’t hit me...) – what to do? Well, he needs a character study set in his natural environment. Something more delicate; a role that would allow him to drop the facade of roughness for a bit. A film focussing on him; it would be a box office risk but I think it could work. A possible reunite with Peter Berg, director of Thornton’s career highlight Friday Night Lights, a man who needs to go back to basics after the hit-and-miss Hancock. If you need any further convincing, Slingblade closes the case.
Christina Ricci came to the big time at the young old age of 11 bringing to the fore one of the best and creepiest child performances of all time in The Addams family. At this very early age, she was able to not be annoying but simply eerily cool. Ricci had created for herself her own niche. Creepy, freaky and utterly captivating; that’s Christina Ricci. Indeed, even in Casper, you can kinda tell she was on to something good with this acting malarkey, and 2003's Monster totally closed that argument.
In Buffalo ’66 and Sleepy Hollow, she’s understated and unique conveying a real honest beauty in these roles. However in recent years, her “kookiness” has been misused or completely avoided. Her role in the let down that was Speed Racer was disappointing; they felt her” kookiness “could be simplified but in the end, it resulted in just leaves a patronising and bitter tone. at the other extreme, Black Snake Moan was too kooky and the addition of the jarring Justin Timberlake didn’t help. Oh what to do...
SOLUTION: Ricci is a tough one. She’s no Angelina Jolie and to be honest, she probably couldn’t pull off a major blockbuster on her own. However, I think it’s time for Tim Burton to find her a new pet project. Little side note, I’ve always felt that Burton has struggled in presenting strong lead females as shown in the recent Alice in Wonderland. However, if Burton was trying to do something different and more low key, she should give Ricci a call.
Don’t sigh at me! Ok, think back to the 80s with me. John Hughes and Matthew Broderick produced a film that encapsulated everything about teendom and gave teenagers a voice and hope they had sorely desired. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the perfect 80s film. Broderick was fearless in the role. He was funny, energetic and was actively engaged with the audience. The scene where the city goes to a standstill for Ferris’ rendition of Twist and Shout fills you with utter joy. Your attention is focused on one man. He has to be all that (I think that’s what the kids say these day); he is, and so much more.
Broderick exudes brilliance. He’s just exciting and absorbing. But. And in his case, it is a big one; he got old. Now I’m not angered at the inevitable course of nature but Broderick seemed to grow up completely and lost all of what Beuller was. In Election and Glory, he was excellent. There were glints of the never-say-die in him still. But following his recent run of Deck the Halls and Inspector Gadget, the question that rises is: what happened, Matthew? I can’t tell if it’s him or Hollywood.
SOLUTION: If only the late great John Hughes were still around. He would put Broderick straight. Broderick has talent and he’s been a smash on Broadway; he just needs a director to shake him up, give him a role with energy and excitement again. Would a sequel be too far? Maybe. But I think you can see where I’m going with this. He needs a wise director with a key eye for Broderick’s age and his past. I think Alexander Payne, having previously directed him in Election, could inject some life and comedy into his failing career.
One word: legend. Mr. Rickman is one of the best things about Britain. His voice is heavenly; his deep dulcet tones take you away into a dream world of perfection. One of the main reasons I watch the Harry Potter franchise is due to Rickman’s Severus Snape. His excellent deadpan delivery and effortless put-down of the students is brilliant. In fact, the rather soulless and boring child actors just make you long for Snape every second he’s not on screen. Why can’t the films just be Severus Snape and not the magic boring people? I like the sound of that.
Not only is this man Severus Snape, he is Hans Gruber. The Hans Gruber; the greatest baddy of the 80s. Charming, cold and calculated, and yet you don’t hate him at all; a brilliant foil to Bruce Willis‘ all American hero. Anyone else would have simplified the role, but Rickman gives it his all. However, though not a two-role man, the problem is, the paltry amount of great roles available to him. For example, he was heartbreaking in Snow Cake opposite Sigourney Weaver - but have people seen it? It grossed just over $26,000 dollars in America; not good.
SOLUTION: In all honesty, Hans Gruber was a dream role and in return, he gave us a dream performance. Michael Winterbottom is the most varied and adventurous director working in British cinema. I don’t think a 24 Hour Party people would suit Rickman; however, after noticing how his latest, The Killer Inside Me, is shaping up, I think a dark biography in the style of A Single Man would be outstanding for Rickman.
The man that Hollywood forgot. Okay, maybe not that far; however, this man deserves more. I do recognize he starred in the recent Green Zone with Matt Damon, but his screen-time was no longer than 10 minutes. He plays a ruthless and corrupt politician and does so brilliantly. That said, this is not outside his comfort zone. Poor Mr. Kinnear has been typecast to this role; just see Robots. Kinnear is the indie king. He lifted Little Miss Sunshine, shone in Mystery Men and was the bright light in Ghost Town.
Indeed, often confused with William H. Macy – another man that deserves more work – Kinnear deserves some better recognition. He deserves a lead role. The problem is what William H. Macy showed in Edmond; these actors are too middle America, and don’t have the looks necessary for studios to have any faith in them. Kinnear is a talented, well rounded and powerful actor, yet he gets few roles that allow him to show off his va va voom.
SOLUTION: The king of indie needs his time in the spotlight. After his performance in recent box office botherer Green Zone, he should stick himself out there and nose dive into a lovely indie role. Linklater’s recent Me and Orson Welles got the best out of Zac Efron; no small feat at all. With a bigger budget - one he really deserves - Linklater’s calm and composed direction matched with a snappy script would be perfect for Kinnear. Make it happen, Hollywood.
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