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No more Mr Nice Guy: the actors who revived their careers with extreme makeovers



Affable goofball Vince Vaughn is on the verge of a Vaughnaissance with his gleeful antihero in Brawl in Cell Block 99. Heres who he can take tips from

Trace your way through Vince Vaughns career from affable-boyish late-90s Vince, past affable-goofball noughties Vince and all the way to affable-jaded latter-day Vince and you probably wouldnt expect his next role to involve grinding another mans skull into a cold concrete floor. Or snapping an assailants arm over his knee like a piece of firewood.

But cinema is always capable of springing a gloriously enjoyable surprise, and Brawl in Cell Block 99 is certainly that: a spectacularly gruesome Ronseal tin of a thriller, plotted with a grownups patience and delivered with adolescent glee. Fitting, then, that it should be Hollywoods perennial man-child whos tasked with carrying the film. And Vaughn, trading in his motormouth and five oclock shadow for a southern drawl and crucifix-emblazoned skinhead, lugs things along with conviction. The makeover is so convincing that, after an hour or so of watching him heave his hulking frame around the screen, maiming and dismembering anyone who comes near, its impossible to imagine him as the lovable loser of the last two decades.

After 20 years of pithy high jinks, could this be the start of a late-career pivot towards heavyweight gloom? If so and a similar turn in the best-forgotten second series of True Detective suggests it might well be then here are five actors he could take some tips from.

Dick Powell

Watch Dick Powell in the trailer for Murder, My Sweet

Half a century before the word McConaissance infected the lexicon, Powell was beating a path that would become well-trodden. Making his name as a sweet-voiced singer, Powell spent the first decade of his career signed with Warner Bros, bringing his nice-guy crooning to romantic musicals with titles such as Flirtation Walk and Naughty But Nice. But the urge to broaden his range got the better of him and he quit the studio, eventually convincing Warner rivals RKO to cast him in Murder, My Sweet as a whiskey-fuelled private eye named Philip Marlowe. The character, invented by Raymond Chandler in the 1940 novel on which the film was based, proved a screen sensation, and Powell promptly made himself at home in the murky world of film noir, spending his next few years following dubiously motivated women down dark alleys and helping shape a seminal cinematic age.

Helena Bonham Carter

One-movie makeover Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/20 Century Fox

It seems long ago, but there was a time when the gothic empress of British film was a mainstay of romantic epics. While Bonham Carters early career was livened up by a two-episode role in Miami Vice, it was almost exclusively spent playing despairingly lovestruck ladies of the upper middle classes. She did it well, too: her breakout performance in A Room With a View was much lauded and, 12 years later, her turn in The Wings of the Dove got her an Oscar nomination. But if a small part in the 1994 film Mary Shelleys Frankenstein had hinted at a taste for the macabre, her role in Fight Club four years later showed it to be a fully fledged craving. Marla Singer was a pill-popping crackpot who got her kicks from infiltrating support groups for the terminal ill not a hobby the Lucy Honeychurches of the world would be too keen on and effectively gave the actor a one-movie makeover. Three years later, she met director Tim Burton, and her role as one half of cinemas ashen-faced power couple was under way.

Robin Williams

Icy genius Robin Williams with Connie Nielsen in One Hour Photo. Photograph: Franois Duhamel/AP

Williams Oscar-winning turn in Good Will Hunting, as the paternal psychologist who sweet-talks Matt Damon into finding himself, is often looked back on as a left-field career move. In some ways it was until then hed spent the 1990s monkeying around in screwball comedies but for the most part his earnest father-figure role was a retread of what hed done in Dead Poets Society. The real reinvention came five years after Good Will Hunting. In 2002, Williams starred in three films; in One Hour Photo and Insomnia he played icily psychotic serial killers, while the other the forgotten gem Death to Smoochy was an inky-black comedy in which he played a corrupt and vengeance-seeking kids TV host. Unfortunately for us, the transformation wasnt as full-scale as it might have been: the following years brought mostly child-friendly chuckles peppered with the odd crack at the scary stuff. But it was good fun while it lasted.

Naomi Watts

Unshackling her sinister side Naomi Watts in David Lynchs Mulholland Drive. Photograph: StudioCanal/Rex/Shutterstock

Until her descent into nightmarish insanity in Mulholland Drive, Watts had spent her short career flitting between Aussie soap operas (Home and Away), quirky cult hits (Tank Girl) and B-movies (Children of the Corn IV). But since her sinister side was unshackled, she has made a point of indulging it as often as possible. No other actor has worked under all three of cinemas unholy trinity of directors: Michael Haneke, David Cronenberg and David Lynch. Thats to say nothing of her sterling work in the Ring remakes and the little-seen Hitchcockian horror Shut In.

Matthew McConaughey

Sneaky gambit Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. Photograph: Anne Marie Fox/AP

The most famed and, by the shaky barometer of Academy recognition, the most successful of Hollywoods dark-side reinventions. McConaugheys Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, the culmination of a two-year renovation project that saw him move fearlessly from handsome-charming to handsome-brooding, raised a couple of questions. First, why hadnt the Oscar come for Mud, an infinitely better film and an infinitely better performance, a year earlier? And second, isnt this a sneaky gambit: masquerading as a one-trick pony and then, a decade or so later, revealing that you can do something different after all? If acting is the process of creating characters, then playing the same role on repeat is a kind of anti-acting. Which is in itself no bad thing theres plenty to be said for fine-tuning your art, and I enjoy each Ryan Gosling outing as much as the last but should it really score you extra points when awards season rolls around?

Given the grindhouse leanings of Vaughns latest film, its probably not a debate anyone will be having about him just yet. But if he is offered a place on the Academys shortlist come February, he should snap their hand off.

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Peter Dinklage gets yet another Emmy for his role as Tyrion Lannister

Charmaine Blake



Peter Dinklage wins yet another Emmy for his role in ‘Game of Thrones.’

Image: hbo

Peter Dinklage won his third Emmy for most outstanding supporting actor in a drama series at the Emmys on Monday.

Dinklage, who plays the iconic Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones, was nominated alongside fellow Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays his brother Jaime Lannister.

For his work as Tyrion, Dinklage has been nominated in the category seven times, winning in 2011, 2015, and now 2018.

In his acceptance speech, Dinklage thanked Coster-Waldau, who earned his first Emmy nomination for his work on Game of Thrones this year.

Hopefully both actors survive the final season of Game of Thrones coming in 2019, or at least get one more nomination next year if they do meet their demise.

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‘Green Book’ Wins Toronto Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award



Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” has won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF announced at an awards ceremony on Sunday.

The film, which tells the true story of an Italian-American nightclub bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) who serves as the chauffeur for a black pianist (Mahershala Ali) on a tour through the Deep South in the early 1960s, opened at the festival on Tuesday and was an instant hit with audiences and critics, although Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” had been considered the likely winner of the People’s Choice Award.

Runners-up for the award were Barry Jenkins’ lyrical James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Alfonso Cuaron’s moving memory piece “Roma.”

In the past, Toronto audience members voted by depositing their ticket stubs in a box at the theater, or by using the TIFF app — festival organizers took into account the size of the theaters in which each film screened — with the films that received votes from the largest percentage of their audience winning the prizes…………………”

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Henry Cavill Out As Superman!



Image: VCG via Getty Images

“It’s not Kryptonite that will end Henry Cavill’s run as Warner Bros.’ grimdark Superman; it’s a studio pivot.

Cavill is reportedly finished as the Man of Steel, with unnamed studio insiders telling The Hollywood Reporter that he won’t be donning the signature DC Comics superhero’s cape and tights again. It’s said to be part of a larger move aimed at fixing WB’s flagging DC Extended Universe (DCEU).

The rumored exit apparently started with a much smaller disagreement: The studio wanted Cavill for a cameo in the upcoming Shazam!, out April 5, 2019. But talks between WB and the actor’s reps didn’t go anywhere.

Beyond that, the studio also understands that bigger changes are needed. To date, the only universally successful DC-pegged release was 2017’s Wonder Woman, which landed both with critics and at the box office.

As one insider said, “There’s a recognition that some parts of the previous movies didn’t work.” (LOL at that understatement.) So now, WB is trying to hit “reset” (per another source) on the whole endeavor.

That reset reportedly includes a shift in focus from Superman to Supergirl. That movie would serve as an origin story, starring a teenage hero………………….”

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