A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and came across some tweets talking about actors with the best character lineup. Then I started thinking. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to evaluating a character’s role. Especially in movies.
I know an actor played a part when I can’t think of anyone else who could have done better. I take my movies seriously and I’m even more serious when it comes to casting actors. I have a list (in no particular order) of actors who I think have the best lineup compared to others in Hollywood. The larger the scope, the larger the actor. By range, I mean variety, adaptability, versatility. Things of this nature. When an actor has scope, a role cannot be compared to a previous role. I want to believe in a character.
1. Viola Davis
When I think of actors with the best range, my mind instantly thinks of Viola Davis. Mrs Annalize Keating. Davis is number one when it comes to reach. She performs all the roles perfectly and doesn’t even get me into her crying scenes. She brings the full nine yards back. I’m talking red eye, snot, drool and everything. She played the role of Rose Maxson in “Fences” so much so that she made me feel like I had cheated on her.
I obviously can’t leave out her ruthless role as Annalize Keating on the show. “How to get away with murder.” This show is an article in itself. Davis is next level when it comes to acting. She’s the competition because you can’t fake her type of snot and tears. In every role she’s played, I can’t even imagine someone replacing her and doing a better job.
Next on the list is Johnny Depp. Depp has real reach. He played a pirate, a lizard, a drug lord, etc. There isn’t a role he can’t play. Jack Sparrow had to be written around because he fit that role like a glove. Moreover, no one could have surpassed him in Edward Scissorhands. There is simply no way.
3. Sarah Paulson
I can’t talk about range without including Sarah Paulson. Paulson starred in the series “american horror story“Since 2011 and over those eight seasons, she was a different character each time. In one season, she had two heads, which were poles apart. In one interview with GQ she said she had a hard time separating a character from reality and in my opinion, that works in her favor. For me, what really put her on the map was playing little Miss Marcia Clark in “The People vs. OJ Simpson.” In the same interview, she stated that she preferred playing the roles of real people as it provides a “fundamental blueprint”.
Should I mention tom hank? From Forrest Gump to Captain John Miller and Paul Edgecomb, Hanks brought these characters to life. These three are drastically different, but that wasn’t a problem for Hanks. There isn’t a role he can’t play.
5. Denzel Washington
I can’t forget household names like Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. Most of the films that sparked my interest in cinema involved one of these actors.
For example, one of my favorite movies is “Remember the Titans” in which Washington plays Coach Boone. During a difficult time of segregation, Boone’s tough but caring personality helps “haters” find their love for football. I also can’t forget his Oscar-nominated role as Captain Whip Whitaker in the film. “Flight.” Of the movies I’ve seen where Washington leads, none of his characters were the same. Not one of them. There isn’t a role he can’t play. If you ever see a movie where Washington is the lead actor, you’ll definitely get what you pay for.
6.Samuel L. Jackson
Speaking of Samuel L. Jackson, let’s talk about Neville Flynn, Elijah Price, Stephen, and Jules Winnfield. You can’t talk about Jackson without talking about his Oscar-nominated role in “Pulp Fiction.” Many people know him from playing Nick Fury in “Avengers” but I first met Jackson while watching “A Time to Kill”. My favorite character of all time happens to be in a sports movie and it’s easily “Coach Carter.” He goes from a cop who swears in almost every sentence to a Jedi. If that’s not the range, I don’t know what is.
7. Will Smith
Let’s not forget Will Smith. Smith still has me in tears from this scene “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” I don’t even need to go into details because we all know what I’m talking about. Smith doesn’t normally appear on screen, but when he does, he never disappoints. He goes from battling robots and aliens, to drug dealers, to being a giant blue genie. However, I feel like Smith thrives when it comes to biographical roles. Is everyone done crying from”Pursuit of happiness,” Because I am not. I did not mean it.
8. Leonardo DiCaprio
There is also Leonardo DiCaprio who won the best actor award in 2016. When people hear his name, they automatically think of Jack from “Titanic” and say what you want, but both could have been suitable. Jack shouldn’t have drowned, but that’s not what we’re here for. DiCaprio left me in tears in his heartbreaking performance playing Arnie Grape. Granted, those roles were played at the “T,” but the one that left me speechless was Mr. Calvin Candie in “Django.” This movie wasn’t even about him, but his performance isn’t something you can just gloss over.
9. Taraji P. Henson
Are we going to talk about Mrs. Taraji P. Henson? Yes we are. When some people hear her name, it almost immediately gravitates towards her role as Cookie in “Empire,” but not for me. Recently there has been an increase in the number of black actresses and that is something I can support. From an early age, I saw Henson on screen. From his iconic role in “Hidden Characters” to the breathtaking character of Melinda Gayle from “Acrimony,” she never disappoints. She brings attitude, sass and comedy to movies when needed. Even though we still don’t know how she got on the boat, I’ll give up if she continues to bring characters to life like she did in “Karate Kid”, “Baby Boy” and “Hustle and Flow”.
10. Robin Williams
I want to end this list with the man, the myth and the legend, Robin Williams. The only genius who ever blessed my childhood. Williams is range. him playing “Mrs. Doutefeu” features all the reasons people loved Williams. Need I mention its execution in “Goodwill Hunt”?
So what’s on your checklist when it comes to an actress playing a role?