From Byzantine Emperors to Kings, from sports stars to Genghis
Not everyone wants to be the hero all the time, right? Even some of the most heroic film actors of all time have gotten an evil streak in them throughout the years.
Here are some of the most “good guy” actors around who decided to play the bad guy…
1. Tom Cruise, Collateral – The hero of nearly every film he does, from Top Gun to the Mission: Impossible franchise, to endless action and science-fiction films, Tom Cruise decided to don a silver wig and play a cold-blooded assassin in Michael Mann’s Collateral. The turn is edgy, slick, and impressive, a nice change of pace for Cruise.
2. Harrison Ford, What Lies Beneath – Han Solo and Indiana Jones defined Ford’s career, but aside from those films he has always played the hero. In 2000, however, Ford decided to take a much darker turn in Robert Zemeckis’ Hitchcockian thriller. His turn as a murderous husband to Michelle Pfeiffer is one of the brighter spots of the uneven film.
3. Tom Hanks, Road to Perdition – This turn for Hanks is a bit trickier. While Hanks did embody a ruthless contract killer for the mob, he was still a family man trying to protect his son. Nevertheless, the role was something totally different for Hanks, who is the lovable hero and every man for just about everyone in America.
4. Robin Williams, Insomnia AND One Hour Photo – Williams made a career playing the good guy, the funny man, and the heroic persona in some serious drama. Then, early in the 2000s, Williams decided to go much darker in the one-two punch of Insomnia – where he played a teen killer – and One Hour Photo – where he played a psychotic loner.
5. Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained – DiCaprio may be one of the most diverse actors on the list, but his diversity has almost always lied on the nice side of things. The Titanic and Departed star dominated the role of Calvin Candide, the sadistic slave owner in Quentin Tarantino’s slavery western.
6. Albert Brooks, Drive – Brooks was never the leading man that other men were on this list, but the comedian has typically been the good guy in films like Taxi Driver and Broadcast News. But in 2011, Brooks embodied pure evil as a conniving and murderous gangster squaring off against Ryan Gosling in Drive.
7. Macauley Culkin, The Good Son – While his career has since fizzled for various reasons, Culkin was a national sensation after playing Kevin McCalister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2. He decided to follow up the lovable little hero of those films by playing a psychotic child killer in The Good Son, a remake of The Bad Seed.
8. Christopher Reeve, Deathtrap – This is Superman we’re talking about, still the best Superman of all time. Reeve’s was also an incredibly likable guy throughout his career, so it was quite a surprise when he decided to play a psychotic playwright in Clifford Anderson’s thriller, Deathtrap.
9. Bill Murray, Mad Dog and Glory – Murray has always been the comedic hero and the lovable wisecracker in films like Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. In Mad Dog and Glory, however, he took over the role of a goofy but vicious gangster, and the irony is that he starred opposite Robert De Niro, who played the good guy.