Comic book movies are everywhere at the moment and the genre isn’t showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. Take next year for example – 2016 will see no less than seven comic book movies based on Marvel and DC properties alone being released (Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, Gambit and Doctor Strange) and further movies are confirmed all the way up until 2020.
The genre has particularly rose to prominence since the late 1990s and the turn of the millennium, with movies like X-Men, Blade and Spider-Man responsible for its success.
They go back a lot further than that, however, and as a result, hundreds of actors have appeared in them. The likes of Christopher Reeve, Robert Downey, Jr., Tom Hiddleston and Heath Ledger are immediately associated with the genre, but a number of well-known actors have had roles that might have gone under the radar – and it’s those we’re going to be looking at here.
Here are ten actors you forgot had appeared in comic book movies…
10. Rebel Wilson (Ghost Rider)
Australian actress and stand-up comedian Rebel Wilson has shot to worldwide prominence as the character Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect musical movies. She has also appeared in movies like Bachelorette and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and television shows like Monster House and Super Fun Night.
However, she had a very small role in the 2007 Ghost Rider movie, in which she played a character credited simply as “Girl in Alley”. Her character was interviewed on television, describing a Good Samaritan whose face was a skull and whose head was on fire (the titular Ghost Rider) and, as a result, came across as a little bit crazy.
9. Roy Scheider (The Punisher)
The late, great Roy Scheider was (and still is) a legend of the big screen. The two-time Academy Award-nominated actor’s credits include the likes of Jaws (undoubtedly his most famous role as Police Chief Martin Brody), The French Connection, Marathon Man, All That Jazz and Romeo is Bleeding, while his television credits include SeaQuest DSV and Third Watch.
He also appeared in 2004’s The Punisher, however, when he played the father of the titular character – who was portrayed admirably, in what was a very underrated performance, by Thomas Jane – Frank Castle, Sr. Most prominently, he appeared at a Castle family reunion party at the beginning of the movie.
8. Malcolm McDowell (Tank Girl)
Malcolm McDowell is undoubtedly an acting legend. With movie credits that include the likes of A Clockwork Orange, If…., Oh Lucky Man!, Caligula, Blue Thunder, Star Trek Generations and the 2007 remake of Halloween, as well as television credits that include the likes of Our Friends in the North, Heroes, CSI: Miami and Entourage, he will leave one hell of a legacy.
He also had a rather unfortunate role in the somewhat unconventional 1995 comic book movie Tank Girl. McDowell played Kesslee – a business tyrant with a mechanical arm. The film was bad, though perhaps not quite as bad as is often insinuated – but it is one McDowell will wish he hadn’t been involved with.
7. Jesse Ventura (Batman & Robin)
There is absolutely no doubt that Jesse Ventura is far more famous for his wrestling career (during which he was known as “The Body”) and his political career (he was the 38th Governor of Minnesota) than his acting career, but he has been in a number of high-profile films. His movie credits include the likes of The Running Man, Predator, Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe, Demolition Man and The Ringer.
He also had a minor cameo in 1997’s Batman and Robin, however. He played an Arkham Asylum security guard who was put under the influence of Poison Ivy’s pheromones and was only on screen for a very short amount of time.
6. Drew Barrymore (Batman Forever)
The beautiful Drew Barrymore shot to fame as a child star – in spite of having a very troubled childhood which included a number of stints in rehab – with roles in movies like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Firestarter and Irreconcilable Differences. She has since gone on to appear in the like of Poison Ivy, Bad Girls, Scream, The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed, Charlie’s Angels, Donnie Darko, 50 First Dates and Fever Pitch.
She also had a very small cameo in 1995’s Batman Forever, however. In the movie, she played Sugar – the “good” assistant of Tommy Lee Jones‘ Two-Face (with Debi Mazar portraying Spice – Two-Face’s “bad” assistant).
5. Norman Reedus (Blade II)
Norman Reedus has been around for quite a while, but he has only really rose to true prominence since 2010 when he took on his most famous role as Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead. He has, however, had roles in a number of movies, including Mimic, 8MM, The Boondock Saints, American Gangster and Cadillac Records, as well as a number of other television shows, such as Charmed, Masters of Horror, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Hawaii Five-0.
Although it was quite a prominent role, the fact that he wasn’t famous at the time means you might have missed the fact that he was also in 2002’s Blade II. He played Scud – Blade’s weapon designer who actually turned out to be a vampire familiar.
4. Joe Manganiello (Spider-Man & Spider-Man 3)
Joe Manganiello is an American actor whose most notable appearances have come on television. He has had recurring roles in the likes of ER, How I Met Your Mother, One Tree Hill and, most prominently, as the werewolf Alcide Herveaux on True Blood. His movie credits include the likes of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Magic Mike and Sabotage.
The 38-year-old sex symbol – who is known for his muscles and has appeared on the front of Men’s Health several times – also played Peter Parker’s bully and Spider-Man’s biggest fan in two of Sam Raimi‘s three Spider-Man movies (2002’s Spider-Man and 2007’s Spider-Man 3), in which he was fairly unrecognisable compared to how he looks today.
3. Jenna Coleman (Captain America: The First Avenger)
English actress Jenna Coleman is most famous for starring in television shows in her native Great Britain. She got her breakthrough role in soap opera Emmerdale and has since appeared in the likes of Waterloo Road and Death Comes to Pemberley, as well as in Doctor Who in what has become her most prominent role – the Doctor’s companion Clara Oswald.
However, she also had a very brief role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when she appeared in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. She played a character called Connie, who went on a double date to the Stark Expo with Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers in the World War II era. She was with Barnes, while she brought along her friend Bonnie as a date for Rogers.
2. Anthony Head (Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance)
Anthony Head (or Anthony Stewart Head, if you prefer) is an English actor and musician who shot to fame in a Nescafé Gold Blend advertising campaign in the 1980s and 1990s. He has since gone on to star in a number of great television shows, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer (in arguably his most famous role as Watcher Rupert Giles), Merlin and Little Britain, as well as films that include Fat Slags, The Inbetweeners Movie, The Iron Lady and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
However, he also appeared in a small role in 2012’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, in which he portrayed Benedict – a senior monk at the castle where two of the movie’s main characters are hiding at the start of the movie.
1. Jon Cryer (Superman IV: The Quest For Peace)
Although Jon Cryer has been acting for a long time, his most famous role is probably a recent one – as Alan Harper in Two and a Half Men. He has, however, appeared in a number of other prominent television series, such as The Famous Teddy Z, Partners, The Trouble with Normal, The Outer Limits and Dharma and Greg, as well as movies like Pretty in Pink, Hot Shots!, Penn and Teller Get Killed and Stay Cool.
However, one of his earliest roles was in the terrible Christopher Reeve Superman sequel, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. He played Lenny Luthor – the weird-haired nephew of Gene Hackman‘s Lex Luthor – who helped to break his supervillain uncle out of prison and worked as his assistant.