Friday, November 29, 2013

Weekly Top Ten-Ten Actors Who Disappeared In their Roles

Weekly Top Ten-#32

Ten Actors Who Disappeared In Their Roles
Sorry about my brief absence, the Thanksgiving holiday usually takes up most of my free time. Not that I'm complaining, I have a blast always at this time of year, and this year another good one of food and visiting.

Now its time to play catch-up, so why not start with my weekly top ten? Over the years, there have been plenty of great actors and plenty of great performances. But how many performances were so grand that it felt the character was apart of the actor, and vice versa? Actors who absorbed their characters to the point that we didn't recognize them. Here are my ten favorite performances in which the actor disappeared into their role.

10. Michael Keaton, "Beetlejuice"
Now, its hard for me to look at the image above and see even a hint of Keaton through the make-up. But the mannerisms Keaton created, his voice, his stance...it was all magnetic, unlike anything he'd ever done before. It was a performance that seemed so over-the-top that it felt Keaton didn't even put a personal signature on it, not that that's a bad thing. Keaton had been funny in the past, but as Beetlejuice, he was crude, creepy and cackling. 

9. Ellen Burstyn, "Requiem For A Dream"
Burstyn has been in horror films before (and yes, I definitely consider Requiem a horror film), but she was always motherly and innocent. As this film starts, you see a lot of that sweetness and innocence in the beginning, but as her character gets addicted to weight-loss pills, her transformation from mother to addict is so strong, so tortured, and so brave that I could barely recognize her at all. The colors of her hair, the manic in her eyes, and her overall unkept nature made Burstyn a very iconic character for this movie and just added reason to why "Requiem For A Dream" is such a bitter pill to swallow.

8. Hilary Swank, "Boys Don't Cry"
When this film was initially advertised, I had never heard of Hilary Swank and I was determined that the actor in the lead of this film was a man. The genius of her performance is that she makes the whole thing believable throughout the entire movie. I think it also speaks to Swank's determination that she lived as a man for a month to prepare for the role.

7. Christian Bale, "The Machinist"
I will say this now and I'll probably say this again: Christian Bale is a beast. The thought that he lost lots of weight for "The Machinist," then gained it back for "Batman Begins," lost it again for "Rescue Dawn," gained it back for "The Dark Knight," lost it again for "The Fighter" and then gained it back for "The Dark Knight Rises" is unhealthy, but persistent. Not only does Bale's glaring weight not make you want to not watch, but the great personal touch he puts into the character adds to it too.

6. Anthony Perkins, "Psycho"
This may come off as a surprise to many, but before "Psycho" Anthony Perkins was a head-scratcher for the role of Norman Bates. Perkins usually played the "boy next door" character before landing the role of necrophiliac serial killer. Not knowing that and watching "Psycho," you'd never imagine that were the case. Perkins throws himself into the role and grounds himself in the misery and macabre of the character.

5. Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"
Now, I understand that Rourke looks like Rourke here and Rourke is known for tough guy roles. But Randy "The Ram" Robinson is no ordinary tough guy. This is a broken man with a shredded past, a guy who has it all but nothing at the same time, a man trapped in a world he can't fully comprehend, and the only therapy is to get in the ring and get pushed around. I would have never had guessed Rourke had the depth and emotion to pull the roll off, but the trailer for this film alone brought me to tears...all because of Rourke. How dare the Oscars not give him the golden statue in 2009.

4. Charlize Theron, "Monster"
I've been looking and looking at pictures of Theron from "Monster" and I really don't see a single shred of her in the pictures. When I watch the movie, she doesn't even sound like her regular self. I try really hard to study the make-up, the acting, the feel of it and the texture of it. It boggles my mind, this is what I call a complete transformation.

3. Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"
Another fine example of a pretty-boy actor turned complete psycho. I remember when it was first announced that Ledger had landed the role, and many people greeted it with open disgust, how was the guy from "10 Things I Hate About You" going to pull this off? The answer is quite simply "he did." Of course its hard to tell its him due to make-up alone. But that voice, those mannerisms, what he's asked to do in the script...I still can't believe its him and I equally can't believe we'll never know how his career would have matured and evolved later on.

2. Gary Oldman, "True Romance"
Now after many roles of heroes and villains to his name, after many years as Sirius Black and Com. James Gordon, and after using various make-up and hair styles on-film, its easy to say that Oldman disappears in nearly all his roles. However, Oldman has never been quite like he is here. The idea of Oldman playing a pimp who thinks he's black may sound like a joke, but its far from one in the film. Oldman's performance alone makes a particular showdown into one of the most tense scenes in all of movies...yes all of movies. Its hypnotic work and just another highlight in a great actors career.

1. Daniel Day-Lewis, His Career
There are very few actors who can put a unique signature on all of their roles. There are very few actors who can be consistently challenging, and engaging in every new role. There are very few actors who can play villains back-to-back and somehow make both roles feel different. To put it bluntly, there are very few actors quite like Daniel Day-Lewis. Day-Lewis, is an actor who can hands-down, do it all. There have been many influential actors, like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The thing is, as good as both of them are, I usually can always tell its Pacino or De Niro. Day-Lewis has gift of constantly becoming a character, making the character apart of his life. That's no easy job, and I suppose it takes an over-abundance of determination. But perhaps that is why Day-Lewis appears in a film every 5-7 years.


Which actors do you think disappeared into a role?

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