10+ Actors Who Worked So Hard to Be Villains That We Can’t Remember the Way They Were Before

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Actors and actresses will take on any type of role, whether it is silly, serious, or negative. Since every part has its unique challenges, there may be benefits and drawbacks to playing the villain. This is because most of the time, people confuse the real person with the persona. This is exactly what has happened to some celebrities: they’ve been so convincing as their villain personalities that some people have forgotten how they were before they portrayed them.

11. Jason Isaacs

  • Played villains in Harry Potter and The OA.

Jason Isaacs is an actor that portrayed bad guys that everyone hated. He was Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter, and the merciless scientist in the TV series,

The actor himself makes a far more positive impression than his famous characters. He takes part in charity organizations, has fun in front of the camera, and supports having good relationships with his on-screen son, Tom Felton.

10. Tim Curry

  • Played villains in: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), It (1990), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).

On the big screen, Tim Curry mostly played bad guys. Because of how great his job as Pennywise was, some easily-impressed viewers still can’t sleep well.

Aside from his movie career, Tim Curry was quite successful on the theater stage, and also as a voice actor. An interesting fact is that thanks to a very specific tone in his voice, the actor mostly voiced villains. His voice also has appeared in video games. In 2012, he had a massive stroke, and is now disabled.

9. Glenn Close

  • Played villains in: Fatal Attraction (1987), 101 Dalmatians (1996), 102 Dalmatians (2000).

For the first time in her career, Close played the role of a villain in 1987 in Fatal Attraction. She portrayed Alex Forest who was ready to do anything to win a man’s heart. Her screen partner was Michael Douglas.

The most famous villain role of the actress is probably Cruella De Vil. The owner of a fashion house, Cruella dreams about making a fur coat out of real Dalmatians. The legendary villain, with black and white hair, scared children back in the 1961 cartoon, but it was Close that made her truly terrifying. Her laughter alone gives even the strongest viewers the shivers.

8. Tom Hiddleston

  • Played villains in: Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

The god of deceit from The Avengers became the antagonist that stole some of the spotlight from his positive counterparts. And it’s not that surprising: very few villains are as charming as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki.

Hiddleston started appearing on-screen in 2001 and in the beginning, he appeared only on TV series and made-for-TV-movies. At the beginning of his career, he looked like a regular curly-haired guy. He only got the role of the god 10 years after his first appearance on TV.

7. Robert Patrick

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  • Played villains in: Die Hard 2 (1990), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), The Faculty (1998).

The first thing that comes to mind when the name of this actor is mentioned is the liquid Terminator T-1000 played by Robert Patrick in James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Once, the actor said this in an interview, “First I was killed by Bruce Willis, then Schwarzenegger, then Stallone. And in Charlie’s Angels 2, I was killed by the former Mrs. Bruce Willis. Someday...someday!...maybe I won’t get killed...”

6. Josh Brolin

  • Played villains in: Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Josh Brolin is not the only actor that played Thanos in Marvel films. Before Brolin, it was Damion Poitier who had the role. But it was Brolin that made the antagonist appealing to so many viewers.

The Avengers was not the first successful film that Josh appeared in. Before that, he took part in the iconic No Country for Old Men. But his acting career started back in 1985. One of the first movies he appeared in was the TV series, The Young Riders, where Brolin played the main role.

5. Alan Rickman

© Geoff Shields / Hulton Archive / Getty Images, WARNER BROS. PICTURES / Album / East News, JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP / East News
  • Played villains in: Die Hard (1988), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Harry Potter (2001–2011).

Alan Rickman’s movie career started with the role of an evil man in Die Hard (before that, he was a theater actor). One of his most popular acting jobs is the role of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise. In this role, he managed to portray a controversial, multi-faced, and mysterious character.

Unfortunately, the amazing actor, the winner of a Golden Globe and a BAFTA died in 2016 because of cancer, just before he turned 70 years old.

4. Lena Headey

  • Played villains in: Game of Thrones (2011–2019), Dredd (2012)

In Game of Thrones, Lena Headey had one of the key roles — she was the beautiful, but cunning and merciless Cersei, the wife of the king and later Queen mother for her young and evil son. This work was a true breakthrough in the career of the actress — she got a Golden Globe nomination and several Emmy nominations.

3. Kathy Bates

  • Played villains in: Misery (1990).

Kathy Bates has done quite a few successful films in her life. For example, Titanic, Midnight in Paris, and the TV series we’ve already mentioned, American Horror Story. But if we had to choose her biggest role, it would be the main character in Misery that Bates won an Oscar for.

At the time, Kathy Bates was a fresh face for many people. She impressed many who had never heard of her before. Most people were surprised to find out that she had appeared in more than 20 movies and TV series before starring in Misery.

2. Hugo Weaving

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  • Played villains in: The Matrix (1999), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolutions (2003).

The role of the mysterious Agent Smith in The Matrix franchise that Weaving played made him famous worldwide. The actor continued to play this role in the sequels.

His other famous work is his role as the elf Elrond, in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. And he also had a great role in V for Vendetta.

1. Jessica Lange

Mary Evans Picture Library / East News, © The Lord of the Rings / New Line Cinema and co-producers
  • Played villains in: Hush (1998), American Horror Story: Murder House (2011).

In the 1970s, Jessica Lange was very popular because she played the main role in the famous King Kong film. For some time, the actress was only associated with this role, even though she’d also had some other big roles.

Lange became popular again after 2011 when she starred in American Horror Story. In the second season of the show, Lange got the part of the head of the psychiatric facility, Briarcliff. Even though she portrayed a villain, she was really appealing to audiences.

Please note: This article was updated in September 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.


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