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10 actors and actresses that play villains and heroes equally well

While it takes talent to be an actor, it takes a special kind of talent to be able to play any role with believability. Only a gifted actor can convincingly breathe life into any character that he is portraying without becoming a hostage of just one iconic role.

We here at Bright Side have rounded up a list of 10 famous actors and actresses who are able to play chilling villains just as convincingly as highly principled, admirable characters.

Helena Bonham Carter

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) / The King's Speech (2010)

© Warner Bros. /, Aegis Film Fund

According to the English actress Helena Bonham Carter, she had a lot of fun playing Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films. The actress portrayed one of the most extravagant characters in cinema history just brilliantly. Yet her performance in The King's Speech, where she starred as a kind and modest British queen, was no less memorable. By the way, Helena was nominated for an Oscar for this role.

Johnny Depp

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) / Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Johnny Depp’s performance as the murderous barber was so realistic and convincing that the actor refused to watch his own work. However, the character of Edward Scissorhands was the exact opposite of Sweeney Todd, since it is hard to find a more touching role in Depp's career.

Jack Nicholson

The Shining (1980) / One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Jack Nicholson did a great job portraying the ultimate character transformation from a normal person to a psychopath in The Shining. And, ironically, in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest he played a man pretending to be mentally ill. This role made him a household name and earned him his first Best Actor Academy Award.

Angelina Jolie

Maleficent (2014) / Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

The wicked witch from Sleeping Beauty had scared and fascinated Jolie since childhood. So it's no wonder that she brought this character to life so convincingly. However, everyone will probably agree that Jolie's performance as the brave and courageous Lara Croft was no less brilliant.

Ralph Fiennes

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) / The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

© Warner Bros. /, American Empirical Pictures

The actor playing the evil Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series did his job so brilliantly that Daniel Radcliffe claimed he was ‘genuinely scared’ of Ralph Fiennes during shooting. Of course, Ralph's role in The Grand Budapest Hotel is not his most famous work, but it is definitely one worth talking about.

Gary Oldman

Dracula (1992) / Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) 

Dracula was undoubtedly the film that made Oldman a household name and secured his place among the pantheon of Hollywood stars. According to critics, Gary was born to play evil characters. However, this actor is capable of playing good guys too. His role as Sirius Black in Harry Potter is a prime example. By the way, Oldman and star Daniel Radcliffe reportedly became very close friends during the filming of the series.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Terminator (1984) / Kindergarten Cop (1990)

The Terminator is the only character to be listed as both a villain and a hero. Due to Schwarzenegger, this word has become almost a household name. Yet it is unfair to call Arnold an actor of one role. Just remember his performance in Kindergarten Cop, and you will definitely smile.

Brad Pitt

Fight Club (1999) / Troy (2004)

Tyler Durden, the inspirational character of Flight Club, has become iconic for Brad Pitt. However, the role of Achilles was also one of the best of his career. Brad trained for six months to get a body that looked like that of a Greek statue. Well, the movie was worth the effort, wasn't it?

Charlize Theron

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) / Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Charlize Theron was so amazing as the Evil Queen that most of the audiences were kind of rooting for her to defeat Snow White. And the director of Mad Max, George Miller, is said to have become so enamored of the Furiosa character, portrayed by Charlize, that he scripted an entire stand-alone film dedicated to her story!

Anthony Hopkins

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) / Thor (2011)

Orion Pictures Corporation /, © Marvel Studios

Anthony Hopkins became widely known for playing one of the greatest villains in movie history: the brilliant and psychotic cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. But nothing is impossible for a truly talented actor - his portrayal of Odin, a 'good' Norse god in Thor, was excellent as well.

Preview photo credit Warner Bros, American Empirical Pictures
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