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13 Times When the Supporting Characters Were Cooler Than the Leading Roles

It is a very rare case when supporting characters are more memorable than the main ones. The actors have far less screen time to fully show their characters. But sometimes, the talent, good preparation, and the work of the scriptwriters can do wonders.

We at Bright Side managed to remember the films and series that are memorable for their supporting characters.

Nicole Kidman — Miss Martha, The Beguiled

In The Beguiled, Nicole Kidman played the headmistress of a boarding school for girls where an injured soldier appears. The entire cast did a great job, but Kidman was the most memorable. She was able to portray the complex character: she is a strict and collected woman who has her own weaknesses.

Sofia Coppola (the director of the film) has worked with Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning before. When she was asked about her work with Kidman, she said that Kidman is a great professional. But in order to become part of Coppola’s gang, she needs to make a few more movies with her. We think Nicole’s chances are pretty good!

Colin Farrell — Coach, The Gentlemen

Colin Farrell can portray very different characters, but crime comedies and dramas (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) seem to be a niche for him. The same happened in The Gentlemen. Even though Coach doesn’t have much screen time, every scene with him is memorable. We are not trying to diminish the work of the other actors, but if this story ever gets a spin-off, it has to be about Coach.

J.K. Simmons — Fletcher, Whiplash

The oppressive teacher, Fletcher, is the name of the film personified — Whiplash. Most of the time, J.K. Simmons’s character makes you feel both hate and admiration. The most important thing the actor achieves is that you can’t clearly say how you feel about his character right up until the end of the film. But after the movie, viewers can easily say whether they think Fletcher’s methods are effective.

This role won him more than 30 awards, including an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Aside from being talented, what really helped him with the role was that his father was a teacher at a music school.

Matthew McConaughey — Joe Cooper, Killer Joe

In the movie, Joe is a policeman that thinks he is above the law and he never goes against his own principles. The way he speaks and moves, even in the most ordinary situations, shows that he is a cold and calculating person that you shouldn’t mess with. After the very first time you see him, you realize that events will unravel the way Joe wants them to.

In the beginning, Matthew didn’t want to be in this film. He said that when he first read the script, he threw it away. He didn’t want to have anything to do with this film. But then his colleagues explained to him that the specific humor of the film was supposed to shed some light on the sins of our society, which made him change his mind.

Penélope Cruz — María Elena, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

All 3 girls fighting for the attention of the charming character played by Javier Bardem were absolutely great, but Penélope Cruz steals the thunder. And she had a very memorable character. Unhinged, both tender and rough, María Elena attracts all the attention in every scene she’s in.

Tom Hardy — Bane, The Dark Knight Rises

We think that Bane, portrayed by Tom Hardy, was way more interesting than Christian Bale’s Batman. Bale is a great actor, but let’s be honest: Batman is not a very interesting character. He always plays by the rules and talks about justice, but his antagonists are way more fun.

Tom Hardy worked a lot to prepare for the role: he gained 30 lbs, learned martial arts, and found someone to be the inspiration for the voice — the King of the Gypsies, bare-knuckle boxer Bartley Gorman (1944-2002), who claimed to be “the most dangerous unarmed man in the world,” and who also apparently had a very special accent.

Javier Bardem — Anton Chigurh, No Country for Old Men

Anton Chigurh, who plays a man who has no empathy at all in No Country for Old Men, is included on the list of the 100 greatest characters of all time and a lot of lists of top villains. All this success happened thanks to Javier Bardem and the Coen brothers.

In the beginning, the actor didn’t even want to portray such a heartless character. When the directors first asked Bardem, he said, “I don’t drive, I speak bad English, and I hate violence.” The Coens responded, “That’s why we called you.” He was so convinced that the character was going to be spoofed in other movies and shows by other actors. And when the actor saw himself as Chigurh, he said, “Well it looks great, but you have ruined my life for the next 3 months.”

Emma Stone — Sam, Birdman

Emma Stone, who has appeared in teenage comedies, went to a whole new level in this movie. For the role of Sam, she had to lose weight, change her hair color, and really get into her character in the best way she could.

Because the film was shot in long takes, the actors couldn’t afford to make mistakes. Edward Norton and Michael Keaton even decided to count how many mistakes every actor would make. Emma made the most mistakes and Zach Galifianakis made almost none. But this didn’t stop the actress from getting nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress.

Michael Fassbender — David, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant

Android David, portrayed by Michael Fassbender, looks kind and loyal to the crew, but at the same time, there is something sinister about him. While preparing for the role, the actor watched Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and other movies with similar characters. Also, Fassbender drew inspiration from the successes of the Olympic champion Greg Louganis.

Christoph Waltz — Dr. King Schultz, Django Unchained

Christoph Waltz won the Oscar twice as Best Supporting Actor for Quentin Tarantino’s movies. Dr. Schultz, from Django Unchained, was just as convincing as Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds. The actor is capable of creating the image of a kind person and then changing his face and behavior in such a dramatic way in the next moment, that it’s really scary.

Soon after the success of Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino offered Christoph the script for Django Unchained. After reading the script, the actor said, “I was sure that the role was written for me. His way of telling me was just extraordinarily wonderful because he put these pages in front of me and communicated this through the character.”

Andy Serkis — Klaw, Black Panther

Black Panther was a massive hit in and of itself and Andy Serkis’s acting was pretty commendable. The talkative, singing Klaw has been one of the most charismatic villains of the Marvel universe in the past years. Andy Serkis is great at using his facial expressions and his voice, which is why he is trusted with this kind of role, like Gollum (The Lord of the Rings) and Caesar (Planet of the Apes). This is also why we don’t see his real face very often.

Tilda Swinton — the Ancient One, Doctor Strange

Everyone knows that Tilda Swinton is great at portraying the roles of strange characters with unusual appearances and complicated stories. The director of the film, Scott Derrickson, wrote the character specifically for Tilda, even though she didn’t really know it at the time. She was so good that comic fans were satisfied, even though originally, The Ancient One was an old Asian man. Tilda even added something to the image herself — the bald head and scars were her idea.

Norman Reedus — Daryl, The Walking Dead

Daryl Dixon seems to be very well-adapted for survival in a zombie apocalypse. This and Norman Reedus’ great acting gave us a character that is more memorable than the main one, or anybody else for that matter. When he was asked about his personal qualities that he gave to the character, he said, “I ride a bike and am good at giving people dirty looks.”

Which supporting character did you like more than the main characters? Tell us in the comment section below!

Preview photo credit Killer Joe / ANA Media