One of the silliest pleasures of revisiting older films is seeing actors in small roles, back before you had any idea who they were. Sometimes it's the only reason to watch something over again -- after all, why else would you rent 1990's Tales From the Darkside: The Movie if not to giggle at Julianne Moore being terrorized by a mummy controlled by Steve Buscemi, or pick up Leprechaun other than to mock the performance of the young Jennifer Aniston?

Sometimes the now-familiar faces pop up in stuff that's still worth watching, as with Laurence Fishburne as Cowboy Curtis on TV's Pee-Wee's Playhouse, or Johnny Depp in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. That's a bonanza. And when the earlier role is vastly different from the sort of thing they've settled in to playing now, it's all the more delightful.

Take, for example, Alexander Skarsgard, who sets hearts a-flutter on HBO's campy vampire series True Blood. As Eric, the 1,000 year old, once-Viking "sheriff" who bosses around the show's regional office of the undead, Skarsgard was called Vampire McSteamy and "TV's hottest set of fangs" by Newsweek. The son of actor Stellan Skarsgard, he'll also be seen in Rod Lurie's remake of Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, and alongside Jason Statham, Ray Liotta and Mickey Rourke in 13, director Géla Babluani's reworking of his 2006 crime thriller 13 Tzameti. He also showed up the music video for Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi."

After the cut: A surprising early performance by everyone's favorite Norse bloodsucker.
categories Features, Cinematical