When one thinks of the typical “nerd” or “geek”, the mind doesn’t generally go to a highly-successful and beautiful person. The truth of the matter is nerds and geeks come in all shapes and sizes. This idea of the angry basement “dweller” made popular by internet memes is a bit of an exaggeration, due in part to the idea that nerds are “forever alone” because of their nit-picky obsessiveness with their hobbies and fandoms.
While the mind doesn’t go to beautiful and successful people, it definitely doesn’t go towards celebrities. There is an idea that celebrities are just naturally cool and out-going, which doesn’t coincide with the nerd and geek stereotypes. The fact is, many celebrities are more shy and introverted than one might think, and some are secretly (and openly), geeks.
Let’s “cast-a-way” (you’ll see what I did there when you get to #1 on the list) some of our pre-conceived notions of what makes a nerd and take a look at some of these famous celebrity nerds and their hobbies.
10. Stephen Colbert – Tolkien
Since it would seem to most that watch his show that Stephen Colbert would be a political junkie, it might surprise some that Stephen is actually a huge fan of the fantasy world setting that many J.R.R. Tolkien novels and short stories take place in.
Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, both based on novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, has said that Colbert might be the biggest Tolkien geek he has ever met in his life. Jackson claims that when Colbert came to visit the set of one of the films, he won a trivia quiz contest against Philippa Boyens, the on-set Tolkien expert for the films.
9. Vin Diesel – Dungeons and Dragons
This probably comes as the biggest shocker to most, but Vin Diesel has said that he’s played Dungeons and Dragons for over 24 years now. In fact, in the film Triple-X, a tattoo that reads “Melkor” can be seen near Diesel’s belly button. Vin has said this tattoo is the name of one of his Dungeons and Dragons characters. He even elaborates in an interview with Conan O’Brien by stating that Melkor is “a Drow witch-hunter. Double specialized witch-hunter.” He’s even admitted that he plays in character by giving his characters their own voices.
8. Nicolas Cage – Comic Books
Nicolas Cage is definitely not shy about his love of comic books. He’s tried to be a part of several film productions based on comic books. At one time he was to play Superman in a Tim Burton film, he played a major role in the film version of Kick-Ass, and played the lead role in the two Ghost Rider films. He even named his son Kal-El, the birth name of Clark Kent/Superman. Cage’s stage name is actually taken from the Marvel comic book character known as Luke Cage.
What many may not know is Cage had a rare comic book collection valued in the millions. The collection included a near pristine copy of Action Comics #1, alone worth over $1 million. Cage eventually sold a number of his comics deeming the temptation for dishonest people to break into his home for the collection to be too great. In fact, his copy of Action Comics #1 was stolen but later recovered. He now keeps it as a treasured family heirloom.
7. Mila Kunis – World of Warcraft
Mila Kunis has spoken openly about playing World of Warcraft, a rather popular fantasy-themed MMO PC video game. She says she played as an Alliance Mage and was into it enough that she even became a member of two different guilds. She was such an avid player that she’s been featured on pod-casts to talk about the show.
6. Zac Efron – Musical Theater
Efron’s interest in musical theater didn’t start by landing a gig in the popular High School Musical! trilogy. Musical theater has always been an interest of his and he claims it set him apart from other boys while he was growing up. His work in theater is what eventually landed him television gigs and eventually his breakout role in High School Musical.
5. Robin Williams – Video Games
Robin Williams is very open about the fact that he loves video games. His favorite of all the available video game titles is The Legend of Zelda series. Not only has Williams appeared in commercials for the prolific video game title but he even went so far as to name his daughter Zelda after the titular princess of the series.
In addition to the Zelda games, Williams says he has several armies in Warhammer 40,000, he’s a big fan of Portal, and he even likes Call of Duty. Unfortunately, when he plays Call of Duty he does not play online as he fears being beaten by children. Imagine playing Call of Duty and hearing Genie from Disney’s Aladdin coming through the head-set!
4. Rosario Dawson – Star Trek/Comic Book Writer
Rosario Dawson has gone on the record and said she would do anything to be in one of JJ Abram’s Star Trek films, even if it was just a bit part as a Klingon in the background. There were rumors that Dawson knows how to speak fluent Klingon, but she admits she only knows a few words. It can safely be said that this is a few words more than the average person knows. She also says that she is a fan of every installment in the series, whether it’s the original series or post-original series installments.
3. Leonardo DiCaprio – Star Wars Action Figure Collector
Many wouldn’t believe that Leonardo DiCaprio was a fan of toys let alone Star Wars. DiCaprio is best known for mainly taking more serious roles which may lead some to believe he’s a rather serious person. In fact, Leonardo DiCaprio is so picky about the quality of his Star Wars toys that when he auctioned a few lots from his collection, they were said to be in pristine condition, still in the box, and yielded more money than what the Morphy Auction House expected to make off the figures.
2. Felicia Day – Video Games
This may not come as that big of a surprise. Day is best known for her roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, and Eureka. The bulk of Felicia Day’s work has been in the realm of science-fiction and fantasy but her love of video games has carried over heavily into her own entertainment projects.
Day stars in, writes, and produces her own web-series called The Guild, which is based on her life as an MMO gamer. She also writes and stars in another web-series called Dragon Age: Redemption based on an installment of a popular RPG game series of the same name.
1. Tom Hanks – Star Trek and…Typewriters?
Tom Hanks is so well respected as a serious actor that many might not think he’d be prone to geeking out. Hanks just exudes a certain level of coolness, but believe it or not, Patrick Stewart, who starred as Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has once said that Tom Hanks can name the actual title to every episode of Star Trek: TNG; this definitely suggests a nerd-like obsessiveness given the fact that the show ran for ten years. Hanks was even supposed to play a character in the film Star Trek: First Contact, but had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts.
In addition to being a Trekkie, Hanks might have the most unique hobby on the list: he collects antique typewriters. He has amassed over 100 different typewriters from around the world.
To further Tom’s nerd cred, it should be noted he is infatuated with outer space, and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Space Society.