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When 'good guy/gal' actors suddenly play evil....


Bethluvsfilms
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When an actor who usually plays characters with good morals, a sense of decency, all heart all of a sudden does a 180 and plays the most rotten, evil SOB/witch on screen ever with equal believability....that to me is a great actor.

The most obvious choice has to be Henry Fonda, who made a mark playing such guys you would love to meet and get to know like MISTER ROBERTS, Tom Joad in THE GRAPES OF WRATH, or juror number #7 in TWELVE ANGRY MEN, then he goes on to play such a cold-blooded, monsterous piece of crud, the villainous Frank in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, a guy you would want to avoid like the plague if he's on your tail.

I also like to add Denzel Washington, who usually played a lot of goody-two-shoes types in quite a few films before he took on his Oscar-winning role in TRAINING DAY as the corrupt Alonzo Harris, gosh he was just so frightening in that.

What other actors were able to pull off going against type?

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I agree with you that Fonda did an amazing turn as an evil dude in that film.


I would say that, someone I never thought of as a great actor, namely Fred MacMurray who was always playing sort of bland guys, even in "Double Indemnity", was really a dastardly bas...you know the rest which rhymes with "dastard" in "The Apartment". Supposedly he got so much attention for being a real rat, that he never wanted to play such a part again, sadly, since it really showed he had acting chops. I thought he was kind of corny in DI, and that Babs was really the rotten apple, but in TA, Freddie boy was a real nasty number and totally believable too, in the horrid way he treated Miss Kublick [sp?].

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18 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

I agree with you that Fonda did an amazing turn as an evil dude in that film.


I would say that, someone I never thought of as a great actor, namely Fred MacMurray who was always playing sort of bland guys, even in "Double Indemnity", was really a dastardly bas...you know the rest which rhymes with "dastard" in "The Apartment". Supposedly he got so much attention for being a real rat, that he never wanted to play such a part again, sadly, since it really showed he had acting chops. I thought he was kind of corny in DI, and that Babs was really the rotten apple, but in TA, Freddie boy was a real nasty number and totally believable too, in the horrid way he treated Miss Kublick [sp?].

Billy Wilder was really able to get some range out of MacMurray one might not have expected he had, didn't he? Also worth mentioning is The Caine Mutiny, in which MacMurray also plays a heel.

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Just now, CinemaInternational said:

Jimmy Stewart in After the Thin Man.

Another good example of an actor that went on to play mostly nice guys but played a bad guy early on would be Morgan Freeman in Street Smart (1987).

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5 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Another good example of an actor that went on to play mostly nice guys but played a bad guy early on would be Morgan Freeman in Street Smart (1987).

I loved Morgan Freeman's performance in STREET SMART.  He was fierce and the best thing going in that movie.  Great example!  He ain't God but acts like he is.

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With regards to the lead casting in Double Indemnity;   MacMurray wasn't Wilder's first choice (far from it),  but after other actors under contract with Paramount like Ladd had turned it down (and the studio didn't wish to pressure those actors to take the role),  Wilder selected MacMurray,  who was also under contract (but was scheduled for renewal).  So the 'suits' decided to give MacMurray a role he really didn't want as a way of putting him in his place (a fairly typical stunt related to contract renewal).

Stanwyck wasn't under contract so Wilder had to convince her:  I said, "I love the script and I love you, but I am a little afraid after all these years of playing heroines to go into an out-and-out killer." And Mr. Wilder – and rightly so – looked at me and he said, "Well, are you a mouse or an actress?" And I said, "Well, I hope I'm an actress." He said, "Then do the part". And I did and I'm very grateful to him".

Note that under the studio system in most cases an actor didn't make the choice to play a part or not, because refusing would lead to suspension and that meant no pay. 

I.e.  it isn't that an actor decided to play a part but that the suits decided and the actor decided to NOT fight it.

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, ChristineHoard said:

I really enjoyed Gregory Peck acting very un-Gregory Peck in THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL.  I know a lot of people here didn't care for it but I liked it.

I think Peck portrayed a much more convincingly really rotten guy in DUEL IN THE SUN.  He isn't so over the top in there.

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1 hour ago, CaveGirl said:

I agree with you that Fonda did an amazing turn as an evil dude in that film.


I would say that, someone I never thought of as a great actor, namely Fred MacMurray who was always playing sort of bland guys, even in "Double Indemnity", was really a dastardly bas...you know the rest which rhymes with "dastard" in "The Apartment". Supposedly he got so much attention for being a real rat, that he never wanted to play such a part again, sadly, since it really showed he had acting chops. I thought he was kind of corny in DI, and that Babs was really the rotten apple, but in TA, Freddie boy was a real nasty number and totally believable too, in the horrid way he treated Miss Kublick [sp?].

But Fred MacMurray played the rat in The Caine Mutiny, before The Apartment.

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2 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

I think Peck portrayed a much more convincingly really rotten guy in DUEL IN THE SUN.  He isn't so over the top in there.

I see a very fine line here;  to me Peck is over the top in his performance in Duel In The Sun. 

In Boys From Brazil,  Peck is playing a historical figure who was known for being over-the-top.

 

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14 minutes ago, karlofffan said:

But Fred MacMurray played the rat in The Caine Mutiny, before The Apartment.

Not the kind of rat I am talking about. He was a smarmy, double dealing, sexually harassing, male chauvinist pig rat in "The Apartment". Just ask, Edie Adams who played his secretary who got dumped by him! He was just a garden variety not so nice guy in "The Caine Mutiny".

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5 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

Not the kind of rat I am talking about. He was a smarmy, double dealing, sexually harassing, male chauvinist pig rat in "The Apartment". Just ask, Edie Adams who played his secretary who got dumped by him! He was just a garden variety not so nice guy in "The Caine Mutiny".

I see the exact opposite;   In The Apartment the character was your garden variety corporate executive (for that era).

In The Caine Mutiny,  the character was a cowardly junior officer whose actions were not typical for other junior officers.    Note that the final showdown by Ferrer exposes the MacMurray character to those that didn't fully understand what was going on (especially junior).     If he was so 'garden variety' that wouldn't have been necessary.

But the most surprising thing about the entire film is that Tom Tully won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor!!!

 

 

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I don't know why, but I have genuine rage issues at anyone who fooled themselves into believing that "Beauty & the Beast" is "the greatest Disney animated movie ever made", unquote.  (I can think of at least five reasons people still say that in the 10's, that have absolutely nothing to do with the movie, and IMO, it sure as heck ain't the movie.)

But I don't get mad...I've now found a useful outlet for karmic payback and/or closure--

I sit them down and make them watch Angela Lansbury in "The Manchurian Candidate":  ?

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(From the director who gave us Will "Grandpa Walton" Geer's evil scientific conspiracy in "Seconds".)

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2 hours ago, ChristineHoard said:

I really enjoyed Gregory Peck acting very un-Gregory Peck in THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL.  I know a lot of people here didn't care for it but I liked it.

I did as well. He really got into it.

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2 hours ago, Zea said:

"Field Of Dreams" -baseball-loving Kevin Costner as psychopathic serial killer "Mr. Brooks":

images.jpg.8ad53c5209bba87ef9e2695a7cafb1b7.jpg

Field of Dreams would have been more interesting if it had a psychopathic serial killer in it.

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43 minutes ago, Fedya said:

Field of Dreams would have been more interesting if it had a psychopathic serial killer in it.

"Ty Cobb wanted to join us, but we couldn't stand the SOB when he was alive, so we told him to stick it, hah!"

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2 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

I think Peck portrayed a much more convincingly really rotten guy in DUEL IN THE SUN.  He isn't so over the top in there.

Speaking of DITS, can we mention its sister movie, "Lust in the Dust" and I kinda like Tab Hunter in anything as more of a villain than a nice guy!

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