The best way to shock the audience is by giving them something they never expected. Sometimes directors cast actors against their type to amplify the impact of a plot twist. Actors known for playing heroic roles are projected as the good guys in the first half of the story. As things proceed, the writer suddenly drops a bomb on our head by revealing the stereotyped hero as the bad guy. The characters are not necessarily ‘villains’ but can be morally challenged. These are excellent tricks for adding surprise elements in dramatic films. Here are the 10 times when ‘nice guy’ actors played evil roles in movies. SPOILER ALERT!
Tom Hanks in ‘The Circle’
Out of all the traditionally nice actors, casting Tom Hanks as a deceptive greedy man was a sin against his fans. Director James Ponsoldt used Hanks’ trustworthy persona to his advantage. Both the audience and Emma Watson’s character were blinded by Hanks’ endearing charm in ‘The Circle’. It was unnerving to later discover that Tom Hanks’ Bailey had malicious motives behind his tech products.
Chris Evans in ‘Knives Out’
Chris Evans has become the personification of humility and integrity after playing Captain America for about a decade. We might refuse to believe him even if he confesses any wrongdoing to our faces. After bidding farewell to the MCU in Avengers: Endgame’, Evans broke away from his typecast heroic role and jumped into the shoes of a dishonest and astute man. ‘Knives Out’ was a critically-acclaimed murder mystery where Evans’ character was orchestrating all the murders for his benefit.
Paul Rudd in ‘Mute’
Paul Rudd’s goofiness and smile have charmed the audience throughout the years. In ‘Mute’, he stepped out of his comfort zone and played a dishonest man who would go to any lengths for his daughter. But things get unsettling when we learn about his violent approach and dubious partner.
Elijah Wood in ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
After Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet’s Joel and Clementine breakup, they use tech to erase their memories from the relationship. Fans are later happy to see Clementine ending up with Elijah Wood’s Patrick who understands her. It wasn’t so hard to sell considering the audience’ perception of Elijah from “Lord of the Rings”. The memory of his honest and kind-hearted hobbit was still fresh in our minds because the film had released a year after the LOTR series. But we were in for a shocker because Patrick worked at the same tech firm and used Clementine’s memories to manipulate her.
Jason Sudeikis in ‘Colossal’
Jason Sudeikis is introduced in ‘Colossal’ as the warm friend who helps Anne Hathaway rebuild her life after a breakup by offering her a job. There’s no reason to doubt his intentions. After all, it is Sudeikis, the fun-loving actor from our favourite comedies. We are hit with a massive revelation when Anne’s character finds out that she is somehow connected to a giant Kaiju in Seoul. Later, it turns out that Sudeikis wasn’t the likeable man but an evil, who controlled a giant robot to wreak havoc on Seoul.
Dick Van Dyke in ‘Night at the Museum’
The script left no room for doubt in the family friendly ‘Night at the Museum’. And Dick Van Dyke’s retiring security officer was the last one to raise any suspicion. He infused the same liveliness in his character from ‘Marry Poppins’ and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. Discovering his ulterior motives to steal from the museum and falsely accuse Ben Stiller’s Daley threw us for a loop.
Jason Bateman in ‘Juno’
We have always been smitten by Jason Bateman’s charm and light-hearted demeanour. The same impression was given at the beginning of Juno, where he came across as warm and fun-loving while his wife Jennifer Garner seemed icy. As the story proceeds, Bateman turns out to be a manchild who plans to leave his wife right before the delivery of their adopted baby. He also hits on Elliot Page’s Juno, who soon comes to like Garner more than Bateman.
Matt Damon in ‘Interstellar’
Our minds wouldn’t allow us to dislike or distrust Matt Damon even if we wanted to. He has always been the kid from ‘Good Will Hunting’ that we related to or the badass hero from ‘The Bourne Identity’ we rooted for. This worked as an advantage for ‘Interstellar’ where both the audience and Matthew McConaughey trusted him. He was one of the astronauts sent to outer space to find potentially inhabitable planets. Matt’s Dr. Mann deceived everyone with positive feedback only to later reveal that he was lying to rescue himself. There is nothing wrong with wanting to go home. But charging straight at Matthew’s Cooper in order to kill him boiled our blood.
Steve Carrell in ‘The Way Way Back’
You know how a good first impression allows getting away with anything, right? Similarly, Steve Carrell’s Michael Scott from the classic comedy ‘The Office’ is so strongly embedded in our minds that we can’t see him in any other light. That’s why he was perfectly suitable as the condescending boyfriend of Duncan’s mother in ‘The Way Way Back’. No one except Duncan, a teenage boy, saw his true nature.
Michael Cera in ‘This Is The End’
We have mostly seen Cera as a sweet and funny guy on the screens. It’s impossible to not be on his side after you’ve seen “Arrested Development” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”. In the hilarious apocalyptic film “This Is The End”, Michael Cera showed up as himself. However, the film projected him as a playboy who couldn’t get enough of women and dope.