Playing a villain is one of the most dangerous acting choices an actor can do. You do it bad and you remain forever that obnoxious villain that looked like he belonged in a comedy, but if you do it right – everyone will remember that one role for the rest of their lives. This makes casting as someone villainous very hard! And I’m not talking about actors because actresses have the same problem. Once they get that dark vibe right no one wants to see them in other roles! Still, our favourite villains and villainesses haven’t always been bad. Here’s what they looked like when they were young.
Most of us weren’t even born when Anthony Hopkins started his acting career, so it’s no surprise we only know him as the perfect villain. But before Westworld and long before The Silence of the Lambs, where he played the perfectly mannered psychopath Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins performed on stage and starred in movies like Lion in the Water playing Prince Richard.
We didn’t know much about Lena Headey before her stellar appearance as Cersei in Game of Thrones. Playing the conflicted, vicious, and extremely controversial character of Queen Cersei, who tried to protect her Iron Throne using whatever means she had, was definitely a breakthrough role for her. Lena Headey also starred in the reboot of Dredd in 2012. But before all that? She looked quite different.
We all know and love Hugo Weaving for his stellar performance as Agent Smith in The Matrix trilogy – he was one of those villains we really loved to hate! This remained Hugo Weaving’s most recognizable role until The Lord of the Rings came out and swept us off our feet with remarkable characters and beautiful visuals. There Hugo Weaving played elven king Elrond. He looked way different before The Matrix success!
Every time Eva Green hits the screen it’s a real feast for the eyes. She is talented, beautiful, and she can pull off any role that comes her way. Still, her most memorable appearances are those of the darker kind – The Sin City 2, Dark Shadows, Penny Dreadful, and Camelot where she played Morgan Pendragon. Eva Green also appeared in Bertolucci’s The Dreamers and in a light-hearted movie Arsene Lupin. Needless to say, she looks different in every role.
Jason Isaacs managed to play a bunch of bad guys throughout his acting career. Of course, Harry Potter’s Lucius Malfoy is among the most famous villains he’s played. He has millions of fans and anti-fans all around the world because of that single role! Jason Isaacs also starred in Peter Pan as Captain Hook and in the mysterious The OA series as a villainous scientist. In real life he’s the complete opposite of all those bad guys!
Anjelica Huston always played such classy characters! Needless to say, most of them were dark and beautiful. Her portrayal of Morticia Addams in The Addams Family movies turned the character into an icon that is still loved nowadays. You can always see someone transforming into Morticia on Halloween. Anjelica Huston also starred in The Witches – a role that might have haunted your dreams as a kid.
Not many people knew who Tom Hiddleston was before his iconic role as a mischievous god in The Avengers movies. The role of Loki might have pegged him as a bad guy in the movie industry, but he’s definitely so much more than that. He started as a theatrical actor and you can still see him perform in plays, but he also turns up on TV in various series (Henry V, The Night Manager) and movies (Kong: Skull Island, Crimson Peak, Only Lovers Left Alive). He’s a versatile actor who’s good no matter what role he chooses.
Glenn Close has been mostly popular for her villain roles in 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians that hit the big screen in 1996 and 2000 respectively. Her portrayal of fur-loving Cruella De Vil was so spot on that she got connected with the role for years to come. Apart from that, she starred in Fatal Attraction alongside Michael Douglas.