6 Actors Whose Favorite Roles Aren't What You'd Guess

Do you think Martin Sheen loved punching mirrors in Apocalypse Now as much as we loved watching him do it? Probably not. Just because an actor gives an amazing performance doesn't mean they had a rockin' good time doing it. In fact, many actors' favorite roles have little to do with what got them awards, or enough cash to buy special mansions solely to hold said awards in. For example ...

Advertisement

6
Johnny Depp's "Proudest Achievement" Was A Cameo In A British Sketch Show

You can call Johnny Depp many things (drug addict, wife beater, box office poison), but "obscure" isn't one of them. He's been doing iconic turns from the time he was a teenage heartthrob to the time he was a middle-aged man still trying to be a teenage heartthrob. But out of all his roles, nothing comes close to the honor he felt being cast as "some American guy" in a tiny British comedy.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

The Fast Show was a niche sketch show co-created and starring Paul Whitehouse, which ran from 1994 to 1997 for 40 episodes -- making it the longest-running British show by about 32 episodes. But its biggest claim to fame has to be that it's #1 fan was none other than Depp, something even the Wikipedia page dedicates an entire section to. So when the show reached out to Depp to do a walk-on role in its final episode, he jumped at the chance. He appears in the last sketch of the series as an "American" who gets asked a bunch of inappropriately sexual questions by Whitehouse's saucy tailor. Depp still recalls this as "absolutely one of my proudest achievements."

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Depp's love for The Fast Show seems to be undying. In 2003, he managed to sneak one of the show's catchphrases into Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl (which then evolved into the cannibal plot in Dead Man's Chest). Meanwhile, the only reason he missed the show's reunion special in 2014 was that he was too busy making his "vanity project" Mortdecai, in which he plays a slapstick British character that critics have compared to the Fast Show's "very very drunk man."

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

And to show his gratitude for all the laughs, Depp has put Whitehouse, whom he considers "the greatest actor of all time," into several of his British-flavored movies, like Mortdecai, Finding Neverland, and Alice In Wonderland. So there is a way for sketch comedians to get movie work. All you have to do is make People's Sexiest Man Alive giggle a bit.

Related: 21 Famous Characters That Actors Wish They'd Never Played

5
Viola Davis Enjoyed Playing A Very Undignified Murderer In Law & Order

Hollywood has a long history of racial insensitivity. But despite the recent Melaissance, the industry is learning (sort of), and men and women of color have a lot more robust, heroic, and dignified roles for the taking. But if you ask Viola Davis, that's nothing compared to playing reprehensible human garbage.

NBCUniversal Television DistributionWe guess this is her being reprehensible? We're not super into Law and Order.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

During an actor roundtable in 2011, Davis pointed out that black women in movies are "are always overly sanctified. Overly nurturing, overly sympathetic. And to find that place where you're messy is very difficult." Instead of her "dignified" portrayal of a strong black woman in The Help, she wanted to talk about the role as "Terry." Which strong, black woman was Terry? The kind strong enough to beat an entire family to death with a baseball bat.

NBCUniversal Television DistributionWe assume you need to be strong for that. We've haven't really committed enough bat murder to get an idea of its physical demands.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

In a 2002 episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent (the third most successful series in the franchise), Davis plays villain of the week Terry Randolph, a corrupt, drug-dealing retired cop who murders a city comptroller's family after he threatens to take away her pension. Davis' episode, "Badge," is so bad and forgettable that the writers later asked her to come back for a recurring role in Special Victims Unit, safe in the knowledge no one would remember Terry.

But Davis remembers her fondly, admitting "I appreciated killing a whole family with a baseball bat" -- something black actresses don't get to do very often. We're left to conclude that years later, when she randomly killed a room full of her underlings as Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad, that wasn't in the script. That was merely Davis living her dream.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Related: 5 Famous Actors Who Hate Their Most Iconic Roles

4
Keanu Reeves Loved John Constantine For His Strong Emotions

Keanu Reeves had been raring to play a comic book hero since he started acting, but aside from a cattle call to play Superman, the laidback actor never got a serious chance. Then came 2005's Constantine, a free-ballin' adaptation of DC's Hellblazer, about a guy who sends rogue demons back where they came from in the hopes of un-punching his own one-way ticket to Hell.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Reeves jumped at the chance to play ecclesiastic ICE enforcer John Constantine. Sadly, critics panned the movie, particularly Reeves' deadpan, with one calling him a "wooden icon" (and not in the good Jesus way).

Warner Bros. Pictures"In this scene, you're getting beaten up by magic gravity powers, so try to emote accordingly."
"Got it. Blank-faced indifference it is."

Yet Reeves considers Constantine the best character he's ever played. He just loved the guy's anger and relentless drive. In fact, Reeves is still such a fan that he wouldn't mind dusting off the old rosary for a sequel.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Related: 7 Famous Actors In Hit Movies (That Were A Personal Hell)

3
Badass Samuel L. Jackson's Favorite Role Was Being A Loser Detective

Asking Samuel L. Jackson about his favorite role is like asking a toddler about their favorite animal. He's starred in over 100 movies (and that's in 2018 alone), with no signs of slowing down. He has been a Jedi, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., and motherlovin' Shaft. But despite playing a dozen of the coolest characters to ever saunter onto our screens, he will always have time to reminisce about when he got to play a big ol' nobody.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

When asked to name his favorite characters by human BuzzFeed quiz Jimmy Fallon, Jackson picked Mitch Hennessy from 1996's forgettable B-movie The Long Kiss Goodnight. So what makes Mitch more awesome than Nick Fury or any of his Tarantino badasses? Nothing whatsoever. A loser P.I. hired by Geena Davis' amnesiac assassin, Mitch plays an in-over-his-head doormat who mostly winds up beaten and bloody while his partner does all the butt-kicking. And It couldn't have been a fun shoot for Jackson either, since he seems to spend most of his time having to contemplate his life while lying naked in a basement ...

New Line Cinema

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

... lying on asphalt after being yelled at by Davis ...

New Line Cinema

... or lying in the snow after being getting blown up:

New Line CinemaHis opinion of the movie might have been different if he'd had to do his own stunts.

So why Mitch? Unlike his lightsaber-wielding, snakes-off-plane-kicking heroes, Mitch is an average guy who still manages to "suck it up" and sticks with his partner, despite being way out of his league. Jackson also happily recalls that while his character died in the original cut, audiences loved Mitch so much that director Shane Black decided to let him live. And for a guy whose characters die so often that his supercuts rival those of Sean Bean, Mitch being allowed to live must mean he's something special.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Related: 6 Pissed-Off Actors Whose Demands Radically Changed Movies

2
Frank Langella Loved Hamming It Up As Skeletor

If you ask Dolph Lundgren, action star of such direct-to-video classics as Icarus and Kindergarten Cop 2, being in the 1987 live-action adaptation of Masters Of The Universe was the low point of his career. But if you ask Frank Langella, award-winning thespian of both stage and screen, being in that critical and financial bomb was an absolute privilege.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

From Dracula to Richard Nixon, Langella has tackled a lot of complicated monsters, but one of his favorite antagonists -- nay, characters in general -- was He-Man's nemesis Skeletor. What made the fleshless scourge of Eternia such a big get for the esteemed actor? Pure love. As he explains, "I played him because my son was four years old and walked around with a sword yelling, 'I [have] the power!' And he loved, loved, loved Skeletor. I didn't even blink [when I was offered the role]. I couldn't wait to play him."

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

But aside from getting himself nominated for the Raddest Dad Oscar, Langella cherishes his time on Masters Of The Universe because he was free to ham it up. Delivering his lines with Nic-Cage-worthy gusto was clearly as much fun for him as was for the kids in the theaters to cheer at -- when they weren't shaking their heads in confusion at the otherwise bizarre and unwieldy adaptation.

Related: 5 Iconic Roles That Made Actors' Lives A Living Hell

1
Arnold Schwarzenegger Prefers Doing Goofball Comedies To Action Films

Toward the end of the '80s, when action stars ruled the world like beefy gods, there wasn't any bigger name than Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose characters spewed more bullets than lines of dialog. But secretly, Arnie had always dreamt of doing more witty comedy, like his Bond heroes Sean Connery and Roger Moore.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

His big break came while cracking wise at a movie party, when filmmaker Ivan Reitman approached him to tell him he was surprised he never saw his comedy chops on screen. To which the secret comedy nerd replied, "Well, what's holding you back? Write something for me!" (we'll assume while holding Reitman in some sort of headlock). The result was Twins, the wildly unexpected comedy in which Schwarzenegger plays an Ubermensch brother to Danny DeVito's genetic runoff.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Naturally, producers weren't too keen on the heavily accented Austrian mountain doing a dialog-heavy movie, but Schwarzenegger was so gung-ho for it that he even waved his usual massive fee because he believed he could make it a hit. And he did. The movie was a massive success, and cemented Schwarzenegger as someone who could do more than have well-oiled pecs. "It was something people hadn't seen from me before: the shy Arnold, the softer-spoken Arnold, the humorous Arnold," he recalls fondly.

It also allowed him to finally do the sort of action comedies he had loved since being a kid. To this day, his two favorite roles are the very low-body-count Twins and, amazingly, Kindergarten Cop. And to prove that he can still flex his comedy muscles just as well as all the other ones, he's currently working on a sequel to Twins called Triplets, with Eddie Murphy cast as the third brother. So between that and the Constantine sequel, please try to control your hype.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for bits cut from this article and other stuff no one should see. E. Reid Ross has a book called BIZARRE WORLD that's due to be released in September. He's practically on his knees begging that you pre order it now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble and leave a scathing/glowing review.

For more, check out Great Performances From People Who Weren't Actors And More - This Week In EPCD (The Rock, David Bowie):


Also, we'd love to know more about you and your interesting lives, dear readers. If you spend your days doing cool stuff, drop us a line at iDoCoolStuff at Cracked dot com, and maybe we can share your story with the entire internet.

Follow us on Facebook. You probably won't hate it.

To turn on reply notifications, click here

166 Comments

Load Comments

More Articles

6 Baffling Questions Raised By Upcoming Movies

A lot of upcoming movies look really great ... but we still have some questions about a few of them.

127

6 Celebrity Beefs That Will Instantly Make You Feel Smarter

Celebrities! They're just like us ... engaging in ill-advised arguments with their peers.

93

5 Gaming Controversies That Were Mindblowingly Stupid

It seems like every week there's a new video game scandal.

204

4 Small Town News Stories Straight Out Of Urban Legends

Sometimes there's nothing more terrifying than a small town.

69