My sister and I were, for reasons I can’t now reconstruct, talking about Michael Douglas, and she said that one of the reasons she didn’t care for him as an actor was that he isn’t willing to be dislikable – even when he’s playing a bad guy, as in Wall Street, he holds back a little.
So we started trying to think of actors who are willing to just go whole hog on a truly dark, scary character in a completely believable fashion. (Believability is important – Bond villains don’t count, for instance, because there’s an ironic distance in the whole premise of the movie.)
I came up with Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather and De Niro as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. I’ve never seen Silence of the Lambs, believe it or not, but gather Anthony Hopkins might be another one.
As I was writing this, I was going to say “no comic book films” because of the lack of realism – but yanno, Heath Ledger as the Joker might count.
What are some others? And who are the women?