Fantastic Actors and Where (Else) To Find Them: Recommendation List

Tomorrow the latest installment in the Harry Potter saga hits theaters with Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Since J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers always make sure to cast high-caliber actors in their films – Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Zoe Kravitz, Ron Pearlman, Jon Voight, and Ezra Miller to name a few – we thought it would be fun to recommend a few films you might have missed featuring members of the original eight films.

With large actors taking on small and large parts alike, it seemed fitting to select the actors for this list in a Goblet of Fire­-style fashion. That is, we threw everyone’s names into a hat and pulled them out randomly. So if you don’t see your favorite actor, don’t blame us – blame the goblet.


Emma Watson – Hermione Granger

The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Inspired by the 1999 novel by Stephen Chbosky, this adaptation captures nearly all of the heaviness of growing up perfectly, even if it does side-step the darker portions of the novel. Perks follows outsider Charlie (Logan Lerman) who finds himself entrenched in the lives of stepsibling upperclassmen Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson). Slowly, Charlie learns who he is, how to stand up for himself, and the value of intimacy beyond the physical. Lerman’s portrayal of Charlie is subtle to the point of inertness, while Miller and Watson exude charm and youthful confidence. Though neither loved nor panned, Perks is an important film for adolescents who struggle with their own identity. Watson’s performance, in particular, is effortless in her embodiment of a character that conveys strength when all she wants to do is cry.

Ralph Fiennes – Lord Voldemort

Strange Days

The 1990s were a strange time in cinema, particularly when it came to looking at the future. In this dystopic tale from 1995, future Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow gives us Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), a former cop who spends his free time using VR technology to relive the most intimate moments of his lost relationship. Nero eventually finds himself at the center of a conspiracy forcing him to Lornette Mason (Angela Bassett) to help clear his name. Though considered “low rent” cinema by some, Fiennes is fantastic to watch as he goes from hapless junkie to refinding his strength and learning to let go of the past. It’s also worth noting that, for the time of its release, Strange Days was a wild ride that got a few things about the way people would use tech in the future right.

David Thewlis – Remus Lupin

Anomalisa

The duel-directed Anomalisa is an odd duck that delivers a painfully beautiful story through stop motion. Focused on a chronically depressed man who spends his days inspiring hope in others, we met Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis) as he travels to a speaking engagement and ends up having a one-night stand. All about his encounter seems wonderful until Michael’s desire for control turns everything to ash in moments. With additional voicework provided by only Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan, Anomolisa is a heart wrenching, surreal cinematic work that is as intimate as it gets in an exploration of identity and happiness.

Alan Rickman – Severus Snape

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

There are some movies that will always been synonymous with an actor. Christopher Reeve will always be Superman, James Earl Jones will always be Darth Vader, and Alan Rickman – star of stage and screen – will always be the notorious Sherriff of Nottingham. This 1991 re-telling of the legendary Robin Hood put Kevin Costner in the lead role with Morgan Freeman as his friend Azeem and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Maid Marian. Though the film production was plagued with a few issues in its rush to beat another Robin Hood film to theaters, this one remains the one most fan remember. If for no other reason that Rickman’s Nottingham increased the respect of spoons in every kitchen across the globe.

Helena Bonham Carter – Bellatrix Lestrange

Hamlet

Before she was Bellatrix Lestrange, the Red Queen, or Marla Singer, Helena Bonham Carter shook audiences with her portrayal of the innocent Ophelia in Franco Zeffirelli’s adaptation of Hamlet starring Mel Gibson in the titular role. As a traditional adaptation, there’s no frills or fanciness to Hamlet, yet the words roar to life when they come crashing through the lips of Glenn Close, Ian Holm, Alan Bates, and Stephen Dillane. Ophelia’s place in the story of Hamlet is of a girl lost between her grief-stricken love (Hamlet) and the madness that seems to grip him. Though Hamlet is only playing at madness to fool everyone else, Ophelia knows no better and slowly grows more insane throughout the story. This performance, though early in Carter’s career, highlights the greatness we now know would come.

Bill Nighy – Minister Rufus Scrimgeour

Pirate Radio

In the 1960s a band of DJs lived on a boat in international waters off the coast of Britain so that they could play whatever music they wanted. Doing so put them on the wrong side of the law and right in the heart of the public who listened to them. Bill Nighy serves as Quentin, the defacto Program Director and leader of the ship, who must do everything he can to keep the boat running and the electricity on. This “based on a true story” tale features music from a plethora of 1960s legends and co-stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Darby, Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, and Katherine Parkinson.

Domhnall Gleeson – Bill Weasley

About Time

From the writer of Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Love Actually, comes About Time – a story about Tim’s (Domhnall Gleeson) journey to understand the value of the moment, but done with a twist. You see, Tim learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that all the men in the family can travel through time by simply go to a dark room along and concentrating. While this seems, at first, to be a wonderful way to redo embarrassing mistakes or helping friends, Tim soon realizes that changing even the smallest things can have consequences. Before you think this is a time travel movie, it’s not – it’s far more basic and heartfelt. When you can control time, suddenly watching it pass normally becomes a cherished event.

Maggie Smith – Minerva McGonagall

Sister Act

Whoopie Goldberg is certified as a comedic legend, but this 1992 musical-ish comedy would be nothing without the straight-laced Mother Superior, played by Maggie Smith. Here, Goldberg is Deloris, a lounge singer turned murder witness on the run who finds herself hiding in a parish on the verge of ruin. Desperately trying to find a way to fit in, Deloris becomes the leader of the choir and updates their songs for “modern” audiences. It’s wholesome family entertainment that will have you singing and tapping in no time.

Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter

Swiss Army Man

Hope comes from some of the most unlikely places in this 2016 surreal, dramatic comedy. In Swiss Army Man, Daniel Radcliffe is Manny, a corpse that washes up on a deserted island just as Paul Dano’s Hank hangs himself. Manny’s arrival means an opportunity for Hank to get home, as Manny seems to produce a flatulence so propulsive, it can carry Hank to safey. This is but one of the many helpful skills Manny possesses and is put to use to help get Hank home in this dark, yet fully optimistic film. (Think Castaway meets Where The Wild Things Are meets Be Kind Rewind.) Though it seems grotesque, Swiss Army Man is one of the most authentically heartfelt stories of 2016. Inspiring audiences to recapture the desire for life before we all become fart particles in the wind.

Warwick Davis – Griphook the Goblin/Filius Flitwick

Willow

Willow marks the first time Warwick Davis came out from behind make-up to lead a fantasy-adventure tale of a dwarf on a mission to save an infant from the clutches of an evil sorceress. With help from sellsword Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), Willow must leave his native land and search the world for a safe place to return the child before darkness takes over the land. This 1988 classic directed by Ron Howard is cherished by those that saw it as children, but it may not hold the same gleam by today’s standards. However, if you have some younglings to entertain, this might be just the adventure they need.


HONORABLE MENTIONS

Rupert Grint, a.k.a Ron Weasley – Wild Target

John Hurt, a.k.a. Mr. Ollivander – Spaceballs

Richard Harris, a.k.a. Albus Dumbledore (Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets) – Gladiator

Imelda Staunton, a.ka. Dolores Umbridge – Nanny McPhee

Timothy Spall, a.k.a Peter Pettigrew/Wormtail – Enchanted

Mark Williams, a.k.a Arthur Weasley – Stardust

Brendan Gleeson, a.ka. Mad-Eye Moody – Braveheart

Michael Gambon, a.k.a. Albus Dumbledore (Prisoner of Azkaban and on) – The Book of Eli

Gary Oldman, a.k.a Sirius Black – Leon: The Professional

Richard Griffiths, a.k.a. Uncle Vernon Dursley – King Ralph

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