25 Actors Who Are Equally Good at Playing Heroes and Villains

Alan Rickman was convincing as both God and Hans Gruber
25 Actors Who Are Equally Good at Playing Heroes and Villains

You know what they say: Meryl Streep could do Cast Away, but Tom Hanks could never do The Devil Wears Prada. You’re just never going to buy America’s dad as the bad guy. On the flip side, Malcolm McDowell has probably given up any notion he had about being an action hero because he’s simply incapable of not looking like he’s thinking about mutilating you in ways you’ve never even heard of. It’s rare to find an actor who can pull a Prince Hans without being a literal cartoon.

That’s why Redditor Olivebranch99 recently asked r/Movies, “What actor can masterfully play a hero and villain equally?” They listed Michael Keaton (who “plays hero with emotional baggage really well” but “absolutely slayed as Vulture in the MCU and even the questionable Ray Croc in The Founder”); Daniel Radcliffe (who came off “as an incredibly douchey rich kid” in Now You See Me 2); and Rachel McAdams (who is “the good guy” in “90 pecent of the movies (they’ve) seen her in” but “one of the bitchiest bitches” in Mean Girls) as “a few that come to mind.” 

The hivemind, on the other hand, threw out…

Gary Oldman

Anthony Hopkins

J.K. Simmons

Mads Mikkelsen

Christoph Waltz

Hugo Weaving

Alan Rickman

Edward Norton

Bryan Cranston

Ralph Fiennes

Sam Rockwell

John Lithgow

James Earl Jones

Joe Pesci

Russell Crowe

Kathy Bates

Lee Pace

Zachary Quinto

Adam Scott

Willem Dafoe

Denzel Washington

Woody Harrelson

Robin Williams

Mark Hamill

Daniel Day-Lewis

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