When it comes to exuding evil out of every pore, either you have a knack for it or you don't. Some actors are just good at being bad, to the point that they seem miscast when playing a hero. For the life of me, I cannot fathom what Gary Oldman is supposed to be doing in the new Batman series, playing a kind-hearted desk cop who pops up every now and then to tell Batman he's doing a heck of a job. If Oldman's character doesn't turn into a bedbug-crazy villain by the end of The Dark Knight, I'm cashing in my chips. John Travolta is a good example of an actor who can swing both ways -- he played a perfectly good villain in two John Woo films, but doesn't carry any of that over to his comedies or dramas. He has the knack, and can turn it on and off.

Of the younger generation, Tim Olyphant is an up-and-coming actor to watch for his villain-chops. He tested them out as a memorably slimy porn-guy in The Girl Next Door and as the shiftless drug-dealer in Go. He'll next be testing his mettle as a traditional kingpin villain in Live Free Or Die Hard, or as the rest of the world knows it, 4.0. Today, I'm making a list of actors who fit a particular mold -- the ones that do villainy superbly when they do it, but hardly ever do it. Maybe they don't realize how much eye-gouging, evil-eyeing, venom-spewing potential they have, or maybe they just need new agents who will give them a great horror or action script that requires an awesome antagonist.

1. Drew Barrymore

The only thing I could think while watching the Pyro character do his thing in X-Men: The Last Stand was "why don't the X-Men track down Charlie McGee, who is probably some 30-year old scarred-up outlaw biker chick/freelance hitwoman, and have her show up and fire-battle this guy into the next life?" There's nothing I'd jump in line to see faster than a hard-edged sequel to Firestarter, with Drew Barrymore's character now completely warped by her childhood experiences, and basically available to flame-broil anyone you please, if the price is right. I didn't exactly dig Barrymore's trailer-park-Lolita Poison Ivy phase, but I maintain that she has some great villainy in her future. There's something in her eyes that screams the polar opposite of the hippy-dippy, bright-eyed 'human sunflower' image she so aggressive pushes on us. We're talking about Drew Barrymore here -- doesn't anymore remember 1985 through, like, 1996? She still has major issues, and she needs a role that will give her a body count.

categories Cinematical