What do you find in a character which makes it great for you? Is it acting skills, demeanor, swagger or just those things which you can relate yourself with? It’s quite possibly the latter. Movie roles can never be easily dismissed. Since childhood, you stick with them, try to be them or hell, even beat them. Some movie roles are just so fantastic that you feel that the guy who is portraying them is actually the character. His struggles, emotions, achievements are miles away from being faux. You just can’t imagine anyone else enacting that character.
Following are the ‘15 Movie Roles You Can’t Imagine Anyone Else In’. Of course, since movie roles are way personal in approach, there can be a list which only you can relate with and nobody else. This one features those roles which have become a cult within the masses. Undoubtedly, these actors have pushed themselves to the limit which seems unattainable by anyone else.
15. Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Critics began hailing Casey Affleck pompously after the release of ‘Manchester by the Sea’. It wasn’t a false flattery, to tell you the truth. Chandler was not your average just-a-janitor guy. His brother’s death, failed marriage and penury had made him depressed but he was somehow going through life. Happiness was an odd charm that his mediocre life was rejected from. Casey’s expressions, his speech pattern was so identifiable by the ones who have gone through such a state as he was in, that they felt as if even their existence mattered. His Oscar gave the stamp of ‘brilliant’ to his role as Chandler.
14. Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976)
‘Taxi Driver’ is undoubtedly one of the greatest films of all time. The elements making it great are many; the major ones being Martin Scorsese’s subtle and meticulous direction and Robert De Niro’s approach to Travis. Now, Travis is a complicated character. The entire movie is a study of the character and his fluctuating psyche. He is a loner. He is alone and is yearning for love. So much so, that he can boldly save a girl from a licentious sexual racket by murdering someone. Such a role does not offer an easy path. De Niro didn’t even take one. From actually driving a taxi on the streets of New York to living the life of Travis and his emotions in the reel world, De Niro has surely made us clear that if it’s ol’ Marty and ‘Taxi Driver’, Travis is none other than him.
13. Morgan Freeman as Red in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
A narrator can be bad, good, great or Morgan Freeman. His voice brings a soothing sensation and pulls your entire focus right onto the story he wants to tell. ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is no exception. A tale of imprisonment and freedom, the crux of the movie resides with the role of Red. In enacting Red, Morgan is convincing, he gets right down to that state of a prisoner’s mind who has lost hope of ever leaving the prison. On the flip side, he is the best preacher of hope to an ardent wisher of freedom. Morgan has embodied the philosophy of redemption in his role as Red, the role which is a gem amidst stones.
12. Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men (2007)
Coen brothers and their craft of meaningful storytelling through the aid of powerful characters never ceases to amaze. Javier Bardem gives the sensational performance of a psychopathic seriel kailler in No Country for Old men. A neo-western and neo-noir movie, it’s not about a gunslinger and his exaggerated skill as a hunter. Bardem shows us what the true nature of the element- psychological, in psychological thrillers stand for. This movie is about unconventional ways of murder and the ruptured ways of a murder in the wild west. Replace Bardem with any other guy and the Coen Brothers will disagree with you.
11. Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club (1999)
I know a rule is being broken, as I write about him but Tyler Durden is the guy any free-thinker would wish to be. His physique is envious and so is his demeanor in tackling the conundrum called life. His philosophy outshines any other normie’s coward morale and damn, that swagger! Brad is the perfect personification of Tyler. Director David Fincher is clever to make Brad fight with the intricate lighting that he puts up to make the latter reveal more of his character. Brad is firm, in peace with himself and motivated; just what Tyler is supposed to be in a realistic sense. Unmistakably, the suave of Brad in Fight Club deserved the fandom it got.
10. Christian Bale as Trevor Reznik in The Machinist (2004)
“I just want to sleep” We have said this a million times and hustling through this hectic world, we also feel it nearly every hour. When Bale playing the insomniac Trevor says it, you feel a disturbing creep while comprehending with him. Christian Bale is known for his physical transformations to adapt into a character. In ‘The Machinist’, he is scarily thin, in a near skeleton state, as if he has been denied food for months! Such transformation and razor sharp focus on the portrayal of insomnia and mental disturbance brought Bale into the good books of critics and is also one of the most challenging characters he’s ever played.
9. Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump (1994)
‘Momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”’ You can just listen to Tom Hanks speaking this dialogue, with your eyes closed, and you’ll realize that these words belong to an adult who isn’t synchronous with the mental level of other adults but there’s a beautiful innocence within him which is lovable. This is dedication. This is understanding the depth of the character. Any true cinemaholic can swear to anyone that Tom Hanks is irreplaceable, in Forrest Gump. The whole mood of the movie is conveyed brilliantly by Hanks and you can feel that leaving ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ for ‘Forrest Gump’ wasn’t a bad idea for him afterall.
8. Jean Reno as Léon in Léon: The Professional (1994)
Léon is an assassin possessed by unmatched skills. He kills his targets but not with a clumsy fashion; his killings have an aesthetic measure. Socially, he is anti-social. He does not hate people, but he cannot bear their presence. For a young girl, he is an innocent guy. So innocent, that he takes care of her when her family drifts away from peace and mental sanity. Jean Reno excelled in every bit to show us what Léon is. He was clever, funny, focused and loving. His every frame is dedicated to the pure art of acting. Jean Reno gave us children false and very convincing hope, that our weird anti-social neighbor could well be an assassin. For sure, Reno is Léon and Léon is Reno, in the reel life.
7. Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007)
It’s like he is The Godfather of method acting. Daniel Day Lewis isn’t your typical “great” actor. He is the “great” amongst the “greats”. In ‘There Will Be Blood’, Daniel plays the role of a guy who struggles to find oil in the barren lands, later gets a golden opportunity and ultimately becomes the richest oil tycoon. But that’s not just what Daniel is able to portray so well. This movie involves the genius of Paul Thomas Anderson, in showing us a guy who is not satisfied with his conditions and hurries on with great leaps of courage to bring the world under his feet but faces the wrath of fate as satisfaction comes with a heavy price of betrayal. This is where Daniel excels. His acting is so exquisite, that on the last scene of the movie, you mentally give him an Oscar.
6. Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean series (2003-2017)
Johnny is a class apart. He could have been that ultimate womanizer had he played all those typical characters, in those romantic movies whose offers came pouring down on him. But he stood out to be different. He wanted to experience the limits of the diverse personalities a human could have. Captain Jack Sparrow was made this eccentric, weird and fun tamer guy by Johnny himself. When the producers of the movie franchise first saw his enactment of Captain Jack, they found it weird and were about to fire him. But through luck or some folly, Johnny was kept for the lead role and is now one of the most distinguishable characters of all time!
5. Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)
Brian De Palma’s cult-classic hit, Scarface could not have been what it is, had it not been Al Pacino playing Toni Montana. It would’ve been a typical De Palma flick, with great filmography but the edge that it has, is because of Pacino. Have you heard that dialogue, “Say hello to my li’l friend”, I ask. “Hell yeah!” you say. That short statured guy, with bloodshot eyes, determination akin to blazing fire and a desperate yearning for living the American Dream, made an image of one of the classiest rowdy of all time. The half black and half white poster of Pacino as Tony Montana is as iconic as iconic gets.
4. Samuel Jackson as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction (1994)
Perhaps, you’ve always wanted to have ‘A Big Kahuna Burger’ if you have also been Quentinized by Pulp Fiction. ‘Jules’ is Samuel Jackson’s one of the best performances of his entire filmography! His audacity, ability as a rhetorician in pulling off those religious-preachy dialogues and camaraderie with Travolta has made him and his character a pop icon. In one of his interviews, Samuel Jackson said that the role of Jules was written especially for him by Tarantino and even now, he meets young fans, who asks him to say the iconic “Royale with cheese” dialogue. It’s highly unlikely that any other guy could’ve brought that badass Jules alive, which Samuel Jackson did.
3. Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Dude is cool. The Dude is laidback, peace craving beer lover. The Dude is chill. Coen brothers have a knack for giving the viewers an unorthodox message, behind their stories and through ‘The Dude’ all you feel is that you need to cut some slack to enjoy life. Jeff Bridges is a natural ‘Dude’. Throughout the movie, it appears like you are watching an everyday scenario of Bridges’ life. He has embodied the demeanor of ‘The Dude’ with such rapt skills that now events like ‘Lebowski Fests’ exists, which celebrates the philosophy of being a dude.
2. Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972)
Unfortunately, like me, many of you have not enjoyed The Godfather in theatre. If you get the opportunity now, I bet it will take more than a few seconds to let the class of Brando in the opening scene, waft over you. Yes, the cinematic technicalities were brilliant, but it was Brando’s immaculate personification of a larger-than-life, head of a mafia empire, which gave the character – Vito Corleone, the image of ‘The Godfather’, even to our subliminal senses. Brando encapsulated the personality of the highest figure in the U.S. underworld realm, who had reached that position through cunning, friendship, loyalty and the care for his family; the performance being so powerful that even now, numerous walls are filled with his posters across the world.
1. Heath Ledger as ‘Joker’ in The Dark Knight (2008)
He became madness’ human synonym. Heath stayed alienated for 6 weeks in a hotel room, to prepare for the character, which would bring him the fame, envied by all. He tasted and digested, the dish known as Understanding the human roots of CHAOS. From his opening shot, the Joker takes control of the entire fiasco flashing in the movie. Heath left no stone upturned in understanding and enacting that the Joker is done living with the decadent morale as accepted by Batman, which makes the world call him ‘mad’ or ‘insane’; but he has a goal and will work his ass off in achieving it. A complicated character, performed with prodigious spirit, it seems unreal that any other actor would’ve or can match his legend.