Micheal Keaton will replace Hugh Laurie as the villain in the very promising Robocop remake.
Being a child of the 80s, I have to say that my two favorite Keaton roles are Batman and Beetlejuice. But, those two are a far cry from the performances that launched his career.
In honor of Keaton’s robo-cast, I bring you the five best comedic actors turned villains:
5. Micheal Keaton — Desperate Measures(1998):
San Francisco cop Frank Conner’s (Andy Garcia) son needs a bone marrow transplant. The only match in the donor database is convicted killer Peter McCabe (Keaton). McCabe is doing life in prison and sees the trip to the hospital as a chance to escape. Keaton had already played a villain in Pacific Heights (1990), but his performance in this movie is different. He is sadistic and psychotic. The rest of the movie is disposable; Keaton is the only reason to see this.
4. Dan Aykroyd — Grosse Point Blank(1997):
John Cusack plays a hitman…still with me? Okay! He’s a hitman who takes a contract to snuff someone in his hometown. Oh, and it just so happens to be the weekend of his high school reunion. The outrageous nature of this off-beat, dark, romantic comedy not withstanding, the hilarity of casting Dan Akroyd as a rival assassin is inspired. Aykroyd plays Grocer, a contract killer who is trying to form an assassins union. Aykroyd’s deadpan dialog delivery while firing twin Desert Eagles is not to be missed.
I’m not sure if it is fair to call Lithgow a comedian, per se. Movies like According to Garp and Harry and the Hendersons are hardly representative of his work. My first exposure to Lithgow was in the TV series 3rd Rock from the Sun. So, I will always see him as a comedian, first and a brilliant actor, second.
There is something truly Shakespearean to the villain when Lithgow dons the black hat.
Dangerfield may have gotten no respect, but he certainly got paid. The standout stand-up made comedic gold in the 70s and 80s: Caddyshack, Back to School, and the list goes on.
In the 90s, however, all old things were new again. It may not be fair to call Dangerfield the antagonist in Natural Born Killers, but his greasy pedophile is certainly the catalyst for the events of Oliver Stone’s satire. I feel worse for having seen Dangerfield in this movie. He played it too well…awkwardly so.
A spy movie spoof staring Leslie Nielsen? Yes, please! I love this movie probably more than any of the late 90s spy movie spoofs (Yes, even more than Austin Powers). America’s favorite sheriff plays General Rancor, an armless, but hardly unarmed, supervillian out for world domination. The very idea that I am supposed to root against Andy Griffith in this film puts it above other Leslie Nielsen movies for me.
Who have I forgotten? Let me know in the comments.