The 20 Greatest Character Actors Of Our Time
Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and pointed to the screen and said, “Hey! It’s That Guy(Girl)!”? Well, here is where you’ll find him(her). This list is dedicated to the character actors collectively known as “That Guy(Girl)”.
That Guy(Girl) is easy to recognize and difficult to place. You can describe him(her) but not name him(her). Here are 20 character actors who are always underrated but never under seen.
20. Michael Shannon
That Guy From: Tigerland (2000), Pearl Harbor (2001), Vanilla Sky (2001), 8 Mile (2002), The Woodsman (2004), Bug (2006), Before The Devil Knows Your Dead (2007), Revolutionary Road (2008), Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans (2009), Take Shelter (2011)
Why They’re Great: One of the youngest names on this list, Michael Shannon is probably the hottest character actor to have come out of Hollywood in recent years. Having quietly made an impression in a mixture of blockbusters and indies, he finally bagged the role his talent so obviously deserves as paranoid apocalypse-fearer Curtis in Take Shelter.
In Their Own Words: [On celebrity] “It’s strange; it’s not anything I ever imagined happening to me. Maybe some people planned for it and it’s like their ambition to be famous but I just always enjoyed working.”
19. Danny Trejo
That Guy From: Runaway Train (1985), Desperado (1995), Heat (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Con Air (1997), Six Days Seven Nights (1998), Spy Kids (2001), Once Upon A Time In Mexico (2003), The Devil’s Rejects (2005), Machete (2010)
Why They’re Great: A reformed criminal turned character actor, Trejo’s story is such that it’s very difficult not to warm to him. Spending the best part of his career playing a host of brawlers, henchmen and general hard-cases, he finally carved out a leading role for himself in 2010′s Machete. Good for him, we say!
In Their Own Words: “Juvenile hall, youth authority . . . I was in a lot of trouble. I grew up like the characters I’ve been playing.”
18. William H. Macy
That Guy From: The Client (1994), Murder In The First (1995), Above Suspicion (1995), Fargo (1996), Boogie Nights (1997), Pleasantville (1998), Magnolia (1999), Jurassic Park 3 (2001), Seabiscuit (2003), The Cooler (2003), Bobby (2006), The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Why They’re Great: William H Macy seems to have an affinity with life’s losers, telling their stories with a hangdog charm that makes you want to give him a big hug. Not that all his characters would deserve one, mind. Indeed, his character in Fargo follows some pretty reprehensible courses of action… and yet you can’t help rooting for him!
In His Own Words: [On convincing the Coens to cast him in Fargo] “I essentially told them I’d shoot their pets if they didn’t give me this role and I wasn’t leaving the room until they cast me.”
17. Paul Giamatti
That Guy From: Saving Private Ryan (1998), The Negotiator (1998), Planet Of The Apes (2001), American Splendor (2003), Sideways (2004), Cinderella Man (2005), Lady In The Water (2006), Shoot ‘Em Up (2007), Fred Claus (2007), The Last Station (2009), The Ides Of March (2011)
Why They’re Great: Dubbed “The World’s Greatest Character Actor” by Time magazine back in 2005, Giamatti has the happy knack of dodging Hollywood pidgeonholes. He’s played the loveable loser, the unloveable loser, the violent gangster… pretty much everything through to Father Christmas himself. After Sideways, the world was pretty much his oyster, and yet it’s telling that he’s kept a toe in more interesting waters (The Last Station being a case in point) to balance out the blockbusters.
In Their Own Words: “I don’t consider myself a very interesting person. I have the mentality of a supporting actor.”