These actors have shaken us to the core with their gravitas on screen, but they've also shaken us with laughter. While they normally play kings, soldiers, gangsters and Shakespearean characters, once in a while they'll play best friends to teddy bears and over-the-top agents with intense arm hair. And they play both ends of the spectrum just as convincingly. Just think about how Steve Buscemi played Nucky on Boardwalk Empire and magician sidekick Anton Marvelton in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone at the same time and nobody batted an eye. In other words, these might be the perfect actors.
Sir Patrick Stewart may be best known for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, or for his stage roles in Shakespearean classics like MacBeth, The Tempest, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Recently, however, Sir Stewart has emerged as somewhat of a viral video darling, wowing us with his quadruple-take acting lessons and endearing us by sharing his first experience with pizza. In 2005, he made one of the funniest and most memorable cameos on Ricky Gervais's Extras, in which he's obsessed with seeing women naked.
When you think Tom Cruise, you probably first think action star, and then maybe dramatic actor (and then maybe crazy Scientologist), but before 2008's Tropic Thunder, you probably would have never thought overweight, balding, sleazy studio executive. But he played exactly that in the Ben Stiller-directed comedy, and he played it to perfection. His character Les Grossman spouts such lines as "First, take a big step back...and literally f**k your own face!" and "A nutless monkey could do your job," making Ari Gold look like Mister Rogers.
Mark Wahlberg has steadily starred in Oscar-winning dramas like The Fighter and The Departed during his career, but peppered throughout are movies like Ted and Date Night. Wahlberg's gruff Boston attitude gives him weight in more serious roles, but also lends an edge to his comedic roles. His performance in David O. Russell's quirky, surreal, philosophy-heavy comedy I Heart Huckabees is perhaps one of the most underrated comedic performances of all time. Seriously, go watch it if you haven't.
Colin Firth first rose to fame playing Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and recently he was nominated for an Oscar for A Single Man and won one for The King's Speech. That said, let's all stop kidding ourselves and admit it: our favorite Colin Firth role was in Love Actually. Don't be ashamed. Every single other person secretly feels the same way.
There are few actors in Hollywood who can do stoner movies (Airheads), Tarantino classics (Reservoir Dogs), rom-coms (The Wedding Singer), dark comedies (Fargo), iconic stoner movies (The Big Lebowski), and still terrify us as TV's meanest gangster. Steve Buscemi is a rare gem of an actor. If he played an old Asian grandma, we would probably believe it, and be impressed.
Oscar-winner Matt Damon has made a career out of carefully-chosen film roles, most of which are of the dramatic or action variety. But the actor's inherent charm truly comes out when he dabbles in comedy, even in less-than-successful movies. His turn as bumbling and dense Mark Whitacre in The Informant! is subtle but spot-on. When he pairs up (literally) with Greg Kinnear in Stuck on You, his performance may not have won over critics, but it's a refreshing contrast to the usually serious Damon. And let's unearth a little-known ditty, shall we? Here's Damon as the lead singer of a pop-punk band in the 2004 comedy EuroTrip (you're welcome):
More:Aziz Ansari and Seth Rogen in First Trailer For 'Buried Alive'Schwarzenegger vs. StalloneOn the 'Rush' Set With Chris Hemsworth
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
Painfully estranged from his daughter old-school boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) hasn't let anyone get too close to him in a very long time. Even his best friend and former trainee Scrap (Morgan Freeman) who manages Frankie's rundown boxing gym has a tough time getting through. Everything changes however when Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) walks into the gym. A spitfire looking for someone to believe in her Maggie also has a painful past. But with unshakable willpower along with some tremendous raw talent Maggie has found that her love for boxing could be her ticket to a happy life--and she wants Frankie to turn her into a champion. Naturally he doesn't want to have anything to do with her and doesn't want to take that risk especially with a girl.Yet Frankie is soon won over by the young boxer's dogged resolve to be the best. The road to glory isn't easily paved for these two stubborn mules but Maggie and Frankie rediscover a sense of family they both thought they'd lost long ago. Theirs is a bond that will carry them through one of the hardest journeys either one of them will ever take. Oh yeah you're going to need a wad of tissues for this one.
Swank once again sheds her girlishness to tackle the roughhouse world of female boxing and she delivers another Oscar-caliber performance as Maggie. Not only does the actress embody the physicality of such a role--achieved after months of hard training--she also captures the spirit of a woman who defies the odds by breaking away from her dirt-poor trailer-trash upbringing to become a champion. Some may liken the plain no-nonsense Maggie to Swank's Oscar-winning role as the girl-turned-boy Brandon in Boys Don't Cry but Swank has matured in her acting abilities giving Maggie a very definite feminine edge. Still Swank might consider a nice romantic comedy for her next project. As for the men of Baby Eastwood and Freeman have never been more on top of their game. Frankie is tailored-made for Eastwood who plays a man tortured by his past and reluctant to let anyone in. It's a persona he has adopted many times but as the boxing trainer the craggy face gravel-voiced actor-director truly gives one of the better performances of his career. The same goes for Freeman as the soft-spoken but oh-so-wise Scrap. And watching the two Unforgiven veterans bicker and banter in Baby is like watching an old married couple.
Like a fine wine Clint Eastwood's movies just keep getting better and better the older the director gets. Following last year's intense Mystic River which some saw as a bit heavy handed Eastwood seems to have gone back to a quieter simpler more personal tone with Million Dollar Baby. The film starts out along the lines of such great boxing films as Raging Bull and the recent Girlfight as it highlights the competitive world of female boxing. It's in your face and gritty showing the punches the blood and the pain in glorious Technicolor. But just as it starts to turn into Rocky-style sap when Maggie rises to the top against all the odds the film subtly shifts into a love story about two people hurt by their pasts only to find each other and decide to hold on in a deeply familial way. Then just when you think how sweet that all is Baby throws you for an even bigger albeit darker loop. Eastwood expertly and gently guides you through the film's wondrous maze of revelations. Baby could very well creep in as a surprise Oscar contender.