This Friday, What To Expect When You’re Expecting opens in cinemas. Very loosely based on the medical book of the same name that is a bible for most mums and dads to be, it’s one of those ensemble cast movies like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, featuring lots of actors playing characters you never really get to know. I’ll post a review here on Friday – but in the meantime seeing Dennis Quaid in the film inspired me to single out a handful of actors I love who really deserve more awards, better roles, and greater recognition than they actually get. So here are my top five most underrated and under appreciated actors (I’ll do actresses next week!) and their best movie roles for you to check out:
Oh Dennis. What are you doing in What To Expect When You’re Expecting? Or the remake of Footloose for that matter? No, no, no! I still remember how amazing he was in Breaking Away, as Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls Of Fire, in Far From Heaven, Any Given Sunday, Wyatt Earp, Dreamscape and The Right Stuff. He should have got an Oscar for his performance as Remy in The Big Easy, but can someone please give him a terrific role (and the awards to go with it) right now?
While his most recent movie, The Raven, hasn’t been a critical or box office hit, John Cusack has delivered stunning, funny, moving and unforgettable performances throughout his career. There are so many to choose from – Gib in The Sure Thing, Roy Dillon in The Grifters, hit man Martin in Grosse Point Blank, Craig in Being John Malkovich, Rob in High Fidelity… why hasn’t anyone given this man a bloody Oscar yet? There can be only one favourite role for me, though, and it has to be Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. Even the hardest heart will melt when he says: “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen…”
Acclaimed for his lead role in the series Without A Trace, 53-year-old Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia has won most praise – and an Emmy – for his hilarious performance as cockney Simon (Daphne’s brother) in the TV series Frasier. A pleasure to interview (our 20 minute phone interview went on for an hour because he was so much fun), he was terrific in the drama Killer, superb in the TV series Murder One, and funny as the voice of baddie Skua in the Happy Feet movies. His best role, however, has to be as detective Leon Zat in the unmissable movie Lantana:
He made me laugh in Diner, tap my toes in Footloose (and yes, I did have a crush on him back then), and Kevin Bacon was also the first actor I ever interviewed, too. He’s been brilliant in so many movies, but so far he’s not even been nominated for an Academy Award, despite critically acclaimed performances in The Woodsman, Mystic River, Apollo 13 and Murder In the First. It’s hard to choose my favourite Kevin Bacon moment, as I’ve loved him in movies like Tremors and the more recent X-Men: First Class and Crazy, Stupid, Love, but in the end I chose She’s Having A Baby because it always makes me cry:
Yes, I know Kiefer wowed us for eight seasons as Jack Bauer in 24, and he’s giving good performances in the new TV series Touch, but his movie roles have often been terrific, yet have gone unrewarded (also, I was absolutely gobsmacked to learn that producers only wanted to pay him $1 million to return as Bauer in a 24 movie – surely he should get much more than that, as no one else can play the part!). The 45-year-old actor – son of Donald, of course – has his first lead role in The Bay Boy when he was just 17, and since then has delivered superb performances in movies like Stand By Me, 1969, Flatliners, Dark City and Melancholia. My favourite has to be The Lost Boys: “You’ll never grown old, Michael, and you’ll never die. But you must feed…”