New York Times’ Touch of Evil

In 2011, The New York Times assembled 13 of the best actors of the year and had them each contribute to a little video gallery where they would play villains. Some of you may have seen these already but for those who haven’t, there are a few twisted delights amongst them and perfect to get you into the Halloween mood. Each video is approximately a minute or less but, in that time, they still manage to convey a surrealistic wickedness.

1: Brad Pitt as The Madman.

On whom he’s channeling: ‘‘Peter Lorre — with a dose of Kramer.’’

2: George Clooney as The Tyrant.

On playing bad: ‘‘I picked Captain Bligh because I liked his hat. Bad guys don’t think they’re bad guys. In film, the best evil performances are when the actor remembers that.’’

3: Rooney Mara as The Sociopath.

On portraying Alex from ‘‘A Clockwork Orange’’: ‘‘There is something off about Alex, something slightly androgynous and something much more fascinating and complex than simply a ‘villain.’ I also knew it would save me time in hair and makeup with only having to apply one fake eyelash.’’

4: Gary Oldman as The Menacing Dummy.

On the spookiness of dummies: ‘‘I used to have one of those dolls when I was a kid. They’re creepy to have in the room. When I got older, I got into archery, and he became my target. So I put it to rest.’’

5: Mia Wasikowska as The Home Wrecker.

On her favorite 
screen villains: ‘‘I really like Bob from ‘Twin Peaks.’ He’s so minimal but has so much impact. And there’s Jack from ‘The Shining.’ It’s so classic and terrifying to watch someone descend into madness.’’

6: Jean Dujardin as The Hothead.

On how to lose your cool: ‘‘Inevitably, I thought of Martin Scorsese’s ‘Raging Bull.’ That helped me find inspiration to get into an angry state of mind.’’

7: Glenn Close as The Vamp.

On Theda Bara, silent-movie star: ‘‘They say that she was the first goth, and that because of her the word ‘vamp’ came into the lexicon. A vamp is a bad woman, a dangerous woman. I’ve always been fascinated by that.’’

8: Viola Davis as The Vengeful Caretaker.

On walking in the shoes of Nurse Ratched: ‘‘I tried to channel all the parts of myself that are probably not pretty. That are not necessarily nice.’’

9: Jessica Chastain as The Fire Starter.

On what she was thinking: ‘‘I was channeling loneliness. . . . The idea of feeling invisible. And because of that, it creates a burn in her to be noticed, even if by doing harm.’’

10: Adepero Oduye as The Outlaw.

On channeling Bonnie Parker: ‘‘I had this feeling like it was a standoff. And how when you’re putting on a brave front, and you’re acting all tough, that moment comes when you know it’s all over and you’re about to die.’’

11: Michael Shannon as The Tycoon.

On playing a 1-percenter: ‘‘Obviously there’s a lot of animosity toward Wall Street right now, so this seemed like good timing. I can’t say I’m a big fan of Wall Street myself — not the movie, but the actual thing.’’

12: Ryan Gosling as The Invisible Man.

On invisibility: ‘‘I don’t really know if the Invisible Man is a villain or not, but I just don’t trust the guy. He says he’s going to be somewhere, but never shows up. Even when he does show up, he’s only ever kind of there. Yeah, that’s right, Invisible Man, I’m looking at you. In your face! That is your face, right?’’

13: Kirsten Dunst as The Siren.

On the proper way to play a femme fatale: ‘‘The key was the kind of sweet flirtation — to look at the camera in an almost vampiric way.’’

29 Responses to “New York Times’ Touch of Evil”

  1. This is really fascinating and totally awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bravo! I loved this. So glad you featured it, Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love it – I don’t get the Pitt one – what am I missing?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are amazing and I love reading about the actors’ different ways of approaching the roles. Really interesting stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is my favourite post right now! I’m off to Twitter to see if you have a link there I can share!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome! Never even heard of the fact they’d done this but what a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh man, that Gary Oldman one has scarred me for life!!! Reminds me of Dead Of Night, which I’ve just watched. Ugh… Creepy! 😦 I have to say Rooney Mara looks super sexy there, though. Thanks for sharing these, Mark! Very cool. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. […] of Marked Movies posted a series of very interesting videos this month, the ‘Touch of Evil’ series by the New York Times. This video series is quite special as it features short videos with huge actors embodying some […]


  9. Holy crap Oldman is creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That was fun. I’d not seen these before.

    Liked by 1 person

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