Every podcast with most veterans will include a soundbite that goes something along the lines of “I love playing the villain.”
The antagonist is the best thing about a movie, regardless of the protagonist chosen as the film’s blockbuster drawcard. From Gary Oldman in Dracula, to Darth Vader in Star Wars.
And in comedy, it’s no different. Here’s my Top Five Classic Comedy Villains you have to see.
Alan Rickman in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”
While Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman “chewed the furniture”, Alan Rickman gorged upon his lines with relish…and mustard.
It had tremendously help from Kevin Kostner’s wooden Robin Hood to make Rickman’s antics and larky comments that much richer.
Gary Oldman in “The Fifth Element”
In stand-up a joke can be told the same way throughout, yet the performance will constantly change the nuances of the punchlines. And one could’ve delivered a better “Jean-Baptist Emannuel Zorg” quite like theatre great Gary Oldman.
This multi-layered Brit lavishes his character with a Southern drawl and neurotic energy that can never be copied, imitated or perfected.
Thomas F Wilson in “Back to the Future”
Range is a gift and a talent for any actor, and Thomas F Wilson’s many turns as “Biff Tannen” in Back to the Future.
Consider this: he played a rambunctious teenager twice, a self-made business bully and a subservient lacky, a conniving old man AND a villainous, dirty cowboy. Across three movies. I’m still trying to think of a more widely known role any other actor has yet achieved.
Oh and coolest fact I’ve found about a movie yet, Back to the Future is banned in China as they consider time travel “disrespects history.” This means that, potentially, half of the world has never seen Back to the Future.
Rick Moranis in “Spaceballs”
For all the choices above, this list needs a campy, straight-shooting actor who knows when to have fun, and Rick Moranis shone in Mel Brook’s Lucas-blessed parody “Space Balls”.
He provided everything a comedic director would ask for, “Just go out there and be funny.” and Moranis definitely did.
G.W. Bailey in “Police Academy”
While R Lee Eremy as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket” epitomised true military authority most teenagers despised, G.W. Bailey’s turn as the underrated leader Lieutenant Harris in “Police Academy” galvanised the comedic version.
Campy and Napoleonic, the character was the butt of the group’s jokes and the source of recalcitrance for many a youth then and today.
And there you have it. Hope this cheered up your day from the long weekend.