Sunday, 11 May 2014

It's Good To Be Bad

Before watching Frank at the cinema (more on that in the Watch List) the usual adverts started. But wait, hold up now, Jaguar have a new and brilliant campaign. Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong and Tom Hiddleston all feature, talking about why British actors make the best villains. The fact that they do indeed make the best villains infuriates me and makes me proud.

The advert starts off asking, 'have you ever noticed that all the villains in Hollywood films are British?'

If you watch films and have not noticed this, then I'm sorry but you must be insane.

Alan Rickman - Robin Hood; Prince of Thieves, Die Hard
 An actors who you know as 'the British villain', he had some of the best lines in Robin Hood and no one can for get Hans Gruber.

Mark Strong - Sherlock Holmes, Sunshine, Stardust, The Young Victoria
Mark strong has played 'good' characters too, as well as playing villains with American accents. He is also one those actors who is cast a Middle Eastern character despite being English. 

Tom Hiddleston - Thor, Thor: The Dark World
New to the British villains set, I'm sure we'll see Hiddleston appear as a villian or the likeable character in a period drama. I think the reason why his Loki is not only a fan favourite but the actor himself seems nothing like his character. The best lines he has said does include the insult 'mewling quim'.

Sir Ben Kingsley - Prince of Persia, Iron Man 3, Sexy Beast
I know Sexy Beast is not technically a Hollywood film but everyone says that Kingsley plays the best villain.

Jeremy Irons - Die Hard 3, The Lion King, The Borgias (TV)
For me, Irons is included in the classic villains set along with Rickman and Lee. An animated villain does count as Scar is truely evil, he would not have had the same effect on screen if it had been another voice.

Christopher Lee - Dracula, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Lord of the Rings
Now 91 years old, Lee will always be the original British villain, whether it is in horror, fantasy, action or Science Fiction, he's covered all genres.

Sean Bean - Golden Eye, Don't Say a Word, National Treasure, The Island, Patriot Games, The Hitcher
Bean has been the villain and died in almost all his films, mostly died actually. He has also been one of the best heroes on British TV. Playing the named character in the series, Sharpe. Oh of course Ned Stark in Game of Thrones. Still famous after death.

Benedict Cumberbatch - Star Trek: Into Darkness
A new addition to the British Villain set, this character didn't have to be British but Cumberbatch gave the edge of sophistication and intellectual status this character needed. 

Tilda Swinton - The Chronicles of Narnia, Constantine, Snowpiercer 
The only woman in the list but she's very good. The sharp, piercing voice and striking features, Swinton makes the perfect villain in any setting.

I should also mention Tom Wilkinson too as he has played plenty of villainous roles but mostly with an American accent or in an independent film. This goes the same with Gary Oldman, although he has recently started played 'good guy' roles now. I would like to see some British actresses take the villain role or in fact any role but if I start on that issue I won't stop. 

The reason why Brits are always cast as the villain goes back to the beginning of Hollywood. The actors were American whereas the character actors came from elsewhere. To be successful the Hollywood actors would avoid villain roles, whereas British actors were more willing and flexible. I think its also to do with the accent, a note of sophistication and intimating intelligence This is always associated with the typical 'posh' accent. Brits will continue playing villains though, that's just the way Hollywood works.

To watch the brilliant advert that started this post, click here for more.

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