9) Gary Oldman In Hannibal
There are different accounts as to why Gary Oldman goes uncredited in Hannibal as Mason Verger, the horrifically self-disfigured child rapist (no, it’s not because of that. Or because the film is garbage).
Co-producer Martha De Laurentiis said Oldman was pouting over not being granted prominent billing – so he took his name off the film altogether. Oldman himself said he did it so he could be free to experiment and play the part “anonymously.”
Whatever the real reason, Oldman is terrifying in Hannibal, even behind the mask of prosthetics. Verger is confined to a wheelchair and barely has any face left to perform expressions, so all we have to go on is the voice. Just in that, in the vocals Oldman brings, we hear a truly repellent, unrepentant psychopath.
8) Johnny Depp In 21 Jump Street
Things have been going from bad to worse for Johnny Depp these past few years. The less said about his private life the better, but Depp hasn’t had much luck with his film career lately either. His CV from the past decade is cluttered with dud movies: The Tourist, Dark Shadows, Transcendence, The Lone Ranger, two Alice films – all bombs.
Arguably the best film Depp has made this decade is one in which he’s not even credited: comedy reboot 21 Jump Street. Returning to the role that made him some 25 years before, Depp is funnier than he’s been in a long time, sending up his own image and delivering as fine a comic performance as any he’s given. If only this kind of Depp form extended to whole movies.
7) Robert Duvall In The Conversation
You don’t turn down an offer from Francis Ford Coppola to star in his latest film just because the part is minuscule, especially not when he’s in the midst of his 70s hot-streak and you just made The Godfather together.
Robert Duvall’s part in The Conversation is so small, so secretive, that we don’t at any point even get a good look at his character’s face. That’s part of the appeal of Duvall’s The Director, though. So powerful and careful we only ever get glimpses of him, The Director always remains a shady figure, and Duvall plays him with a horrible aloofness, as though he’s trying to hide his true nature from the audience itself.
6) Tom Cruise In Tropic Thunder
These days, you won’t find Tom Cruise playing it villainous. He’s rarely ever not the good guy – it seems the days of Magnolia and Collateral, films in which directors used Tom Cruise’s pleasant face for evil, are over. The actor just doesn’t want to play that kind of role anymore. When he’s hidden behind copious makeup, however, well, that’s a different story.
There are two things that people mostly remember about Tropic Thunder: Robert Downey Jr. in blackface, and Tom Cruise secretly playing a porcine movie producer like the biggest piece of shit Hollywood ever produced. Cruise has rarely ever cut loose like he does here. He’s unrecognizable, he swears a lot and he even dances to hip-hop – it’s the best thing the actor has done in ages.