Sometimes an actor inhabits a role – and sometimes they create it from something within themselves, something intangible and innate. When you think of scary film villains, Heath Ledger as the Joker and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lector are two examples of great actors disappearing into an iconic role. They transform into the character to become scary and unnerving. With both these men, we’ve seen them in far different roles, showing their talent and diversity.
For actors though, it seems far easier to become intimidating; they don’t have to don make up or masks. It’s not that they are naturally frightening or serious (though that can be the case too), but there is something about them that makes them just naturally more inclined to see them as formidable, imposing and someone to obey. That is, they can come off as intimidating without much effort if the part calls for it.
There are those actors that simply have certain auras about them, which can be good and bad. I suppose the more talented the actor is, the more able he or she is at breaking the mold or type and surprise people. Then again, it’s pretty easy to assume a role that embraces his or her reputation, and in fact, they can make a role more believable by being cast in it. If a role is underwritten or the plot a bit trite, a veteran actor with a certain proclivity for such roles, or a preceded reputation, can raise everything up.
Regardless, there are those tough, serious, fierce actors that when they appear on screen, they command attention and make you just a bit warier of what is happening. They can be playing good guys or bad, but they seem larger than life, even unpredictable. These are the ten most intimidating male actors working today.
10 Clive Owen
9 John Malkovich
8 Russell Crowe
7 Javier Bardem
6 Kevin Spacey
5 Christoph Waltz
4 Willem Dafoe
3 Idris Elba
2 Sean Penn
1 Christian Bale
It’s well established that Christian Bale is a dedicated, serious and focused actor. Most infamously, he was caught on tape yelling at a crew member during the time he was shooting the Terminator: Salvation film. Bale was so in character that getting distracted lead to some very aggressive verbal assaulting. Then there are films like American Psycho, Out of the Furnace, The Machinist and The Fighter, where Bale disappears into these desperate, monomaniacal characters that are physically and emotionally frightening. Like the other men on this list, he is incredibly talented and worth the price of admission every time. That doesn't mean you want to be in any of these movies with him.
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