Is Tom Hanks capable of playing the bad guy?

English Invader

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This is a question that's been troubling me for the last few days. Few actors have the same track record for versatility as Tom Hanks but I've never seen him play the bad guy. Even when he played a gangster in Road to Perdition, he was the protagonist in a sympathetic role.

There are a number of actors who I don't think are as good but seem more adept at switching from good to bad; John Travolta demonstrates this brilliantly in Face Off and his whole career shows him going from good to bad at the drop of a hat; Michael Douglas is another one who can make the switch but I've never seen Tom Hanks do it and it's something I would really like to see.

If anyone knows of any films where Tom Hanks plays the bad guy, please share them. I'm also interested in any thoughts and opinions that people have on the matter.
 

Tino

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Cloud Atlas. He played a terrific English villain in that underrated film from The Wachowskis.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Good question! (BTW, I really love CLOUD ATLAS and I am not sure why)

I am sure Hanks is more than capable. He is an exceptional actor. Perhaps our generation's finest.

I would imagine either he has been typecast into more positive, heroic roles -or- since he reads what I imagine to be an abundance of script offerings, he just chooses not to do those kinds of roles.

However, I would love to see him in more villainous roles as I think he would do them justice!
 

Scott Merryfield

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I always thought of Hanks as this generation's Jimmy Stewart -- excellent actors who are also very likeable people. Both are actors it's almost impossible to take a dislike to, and they both always seem to play sympathetic characters.
 

Walter Kittel

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I have no doubt that he could play a terrific villain.

The passing of Ennio Morricone has made me reflect on his resume just a bit, and a great actor who was almost always cast as a protagonist played one of the most memorable villains in the history of cinema. Henry Fonda as Frank in Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West.

If Fonda could do it, I'm pretty sure Hanks could as well, given the right material and director. Would he want to play that type of role given the right script and filmmaker? I have no idea.

- Walter.
 
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Ronald Epstein

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I always thought of Hanks as this generation's Jimmy Stewart -- excellent actors who are also very likeable people. Both are actors it's almost impossible to take a dislike to, and they both always seem to play sympathetic characters.
I have heard that said about Tom Hanks more than once. He is our generation's, Jimmy Stewart. That is probably the highest compliment you can give to an actor and it is well deserved.
 

John Dirk

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Depending on your definition of "bad guy" he may already have done so. He wasn't exactly a role model in one of my favorites, Charlie Wilson's War.
 

JohnRice

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I have no doubt that he could play a terrific villain.

The passing of Ennio Morricone has made me reflect on his resume just a bit, and a great actor who was almost always cast as a protagonist played one of the most memorable villains in the history of cinema. Henry Fonda as Frank in Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West.

If Fonda could do it, I'm pretty sure Hanks could as well, given the right material and director. Would he want to play that type of role given the right script and filmmaker? I have no idea.

- Walter.
I was thinking the exact same thing. In fact, actors who are skilled at comic roles often make extremely effective bad guys. Paul Reiser in Aliens, for example, Robin Williams in Insomnia, and talk about effective, John Lithgow in Dexter.
 

JohnRice

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I always thought of Hanks as this generation's Jimmy Stewart -- excellent actors who are also very likeable people. Both are actors it's almost impossible to take a dislike to, and they both always seem to play sympathetic characters.
I've heard that many times, and it's a fitting comparison. Did Stewart ever play a bad guy?
 

Walter Kittel

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I've heard that many times, and it's a fitting comparison. Did Stewart ever play a bad guy?
I'm not sure about bad guy roles, but he expanded into more psychologically complex roles in the 1950s with films from directors Anthony Mann and Alfred Hitchcock.

- Walter.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Hanks was the villain in the remake of The Ladykillers, which I actually liked. Yes, he’s the lead guy and the story’s protagonist but he’s not a good man. I bought him in the role.
 
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Walter Kittel

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I was thinking the exact same thing. In fact, actors who are skilled at comic roles often make extremely effective bad guys. Paul Reiser in Aliens, for example, Robin Williams in Insomnia, and talk about effective, John Lithgow in Dexter.
In addition to Dexter any mention of Lithgow playing the antagonist should probably include Cliffhanger. He was a terrific villain in that feature. There are other roles, but that is the one that stands out for me.

- Walter.
 

Jeffrey D

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Hanks was the villain in the remake of The Ladykillers, which I actually liked. Yes, he’s the lead guy and the story’s protagonist but he’s not a good man. I bought him in the role.
This is a good answer to the thread’s question. A very unlikeable character.
 

Jake Lipson

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He was also the villain in The Circle, which was one of the worst movies ever to use a misuse a usually terrific cast.


There were so many people involved in this movie whose other work I have enjoyed that the combination of their talents seemed so exciting to me. And then it...wasn't.
 

Reggie W

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I think when an actor gets to play against type it always has potential to be very cool. Albert Brooks is certainly not thought of as a heavy and in Drive he plays a vicious killer.

I certainly think Hanks could do it but I think when you become so well known for bringing something specific to the table if they want Tom Hanks in a film it is to be "that" Tom Hanks not to play against type. Eventually he will probably do something where he gets to be the heavy.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Hanks was the villain in the remake of The Ladykillers, which I actually liked. Yes, he’s the lead guy and the story’s protagonist but he’s not a good man. I bought him in the role.
I guess the "villain" side doesn't really "take" for me there because it's a broad comedy. It's done in such a goofy, silly manner that Hanks doesn't have to play a realistically dark character...
 
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Edwin-S

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If Henry Fonda could do it then I'm pretty sure Tom Hanks could do it. He just may choose not because he likes to play characters that people can empathize with.
 

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