10 Actors Who Played Both Heroes And Villains, And Just Nailed Them

While it requires talent to be an actor, it takes a specific type of talent to play any character convincingly. Only a skilled actor can credibly bring any character to life without getting enslaved to a single memorable part.
The role of an actor is to explore. They are rarely pleased by convincingly portraying just one character. There is never enough. They must play another character, preferably one who is not the same as their previous one. And do it so brilliantly that it's easy to forget it's the same actor who plays both parts.
We've compiled a list of 10 notable actors and actresses who can play terrifying villains as convincingly as they can play extremely principled, admirable characters.

#1 Anthony Hopkins: The Silence of the Lambs (1991) / Thor (2011)

Source: Orion Pictures Corporation /, Marvel Studios

Anthony Hopkins rose to prominence as one of cinema's most memorable villains, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant and deranged cannibal. Nothing is impossible for a truly gifted actor, and his portrayal of Odin, a 'nice' Norse god in Thor, was also terrific.

#2 Charlize Theron: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) / Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Source: Universal Pictures /, Warner Bros.

Charlize Theron was so convincing as the Evil Queen that most of the crowd was rooting for her to triumph over Snow White. And Mad Max director George Miller is reported to have become so fascinated with Charlize's Furiosa character that he developed a whole stand-alone picture dedicated to her story!

#3 Brad Pitt: Fight Club (1999) / Troy (2004)

Tyler Durden, the inspiring figure in Flight Club, has become synonymous with Brad Pitt. However, his performance as Achilles was one of his greatest. Brad trained for six months to get the body of a Greek statue. Wasn't the movie well worth the effort?

#4 Arnold Schwarzenegger: Terminator (1984) / Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Source: Cinema 84 /, Universal Pictures

The Terminator is the only character who is both a villain and a hero. This word has virtually become a household name as a result of Schwarzenegger. However, referring to Arnold as a one-role actor is inaccurate. You'll undoubtedly smile if you remember his portrayal in Kindergarten Cop.

#5 Gary Oldman: Dracula (1992) / Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Source: Columbia Pictures /, Warner Bros.

Dracula was definitely the film that established Oldman as a household name and cemented his place in Hollywood's pantheon of stars. Gary, critics say, was born to play nasty characters. However, this actor can also play the nice guys. One example is his portrayal of Sirius Black in Harry Potter. By the way, throughout the series' filming, Oldman and star Daniel Radcliffe apparently became very good friends.

#6 Ralph Fiennes: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) / The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Source: Warner Bros. /, American Empirical Pictures

Ralph Fiennes, who played the villainous Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, performed so well that Daniel Radcliffe stated he was 'genuinely afraid' of him during filming. Of course, Ralph's appearance in The Grand Budapest Hotel is not his most well-known, but it is certainly noteworthy.

#7 Angelina Jolie: Maleficent (2014) / Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Source: Walt Disney Pictures /, © Paramount Pictures

Jolie had been terrified and fascinated by the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty since she was a child. So it's no surprise that she was able to bring this persona to life so convincingly. Everyone will undoubtedly agree, though, that Jolie's portrayal of the bold and fearless Lara Croft was no less superb.

#8 Jack Nicholson: The Shining (1980) / One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures /, Fantasy Films

In The Shining, Jack Nicholson portrayed the ultimate character shift from a normal person to a psychopath. In the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, he played a man who pretended to be mentally sick. This role established him as a household star and gave him his first Academy Award for Best Actor.

#9 Johnny Depp: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) / Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Source: DreamWorks Pictures /© 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

Johnny Depp's portrayal of the killer barber was so convincing that the actor hesitated to view his own work. However, Edward Scissorhands was the polar opposite of Sweeney Todd, and it is difficult to find a more touching part in Depp's career.

#10 Helena Bonham Carter: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) / The King's Speech (2010)

Source: Warner Bros. /, Aegis Film Fund

Helena Bonham Carter, an English actress, said she had a lot of joy playing Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movie. The actress skillfully portrayed one of cinema's most flamboyant personalities. Her portrayal in The King's Speech, in which she played a compassionate and modest British queen, was equally noteworthy. Helena was nominated for an Oscar for this role, by the way.
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