In any movie, there is usually an evil character. This character can be anyone from the protagonist’s enemy, to a minor villain, to a completely monstrous being. But what makes an evil character so compelling?
For one thing, an evil character is often a great counterpoint to the hero. They can provide a different perspective on the story and help highlight the good guy’s virtues. Additionally, an evil character is usually full of surprises. They can do things that no other character would even think of, which keeps the story exciting and unpredictable.
Villains are some of the most important characters in any story, and they can be some of the most difficult for actors to play. A great villain is someone who is believable and interesting, and who can make the audience feel both fear and fascination.
And an evil character is just plain fun to watch, right?! They’re often charismatic and entertaining, even as they commit heinous acts. This makes them great villains and ensures that audiences will be eagerly waiting to see what they’ll do next.
So as an actor, what do you have to do to play evil so well that you make the audience hate you?
It might seem like a difficult task, but all it takes is some careful planning and a little bit of effort. When I say a “little” bit of effort, I really mean a “lot” of effort — which is perhaps why it’s so much easier to play the good guy.
First, you need to decide what type of actor you want to be. Do you want to be the villain everyone loves to hate? Or do you want to play the victim who everyone feels sorry for? Either way, it’s important to make sure your character is unlikable. One of the most iconic and infamous evil characters is Darth Vader from Star Wars. He is a ruthless killer and servant of the Dark Side of the Force. These types of characters are often fascinating to watch, but also deeply disturbing. They represent the dark side of human nature and show us what we’re capable of when we let our inner demons take control.
Next, think about how you can make your character behave in a way that will annoy the audience. Can you be rude or mean? Can you always be right and never wrong? Can you never listen to anyone else’s opinion? You should be insulting and critical of everything they say or do and never give them an opportunity to respond. Seriously, just keep talking even when they’ve stopped listening or are no longer paying attention. By doing these things, you will have created an environment in which your audience wants nothing to do with you.
Finally, make sure your performance is over-the-top…maybe. This last tip comes with controversy as some people believe acting over-the-top looks and feels “fake” – while others think playing a character over-the-top gives them the edge of greatness. This is a personal choice that you may want to discuss with the Director.
But there’s more…! Because there always is…
An actor who wants to play a great villain needs to do more than simply understand how to portray evil. They also need to be able to tap into their own dark side, and find the motivations for why their character is doing what they’re doing. It’s also important for an actor playing a villain to be able to get into the mind of their character, and think about what makes them tick.
What motivates them? What drives them? What is their goal? Once an actor understands what makes their character tick, they can start to develop their personality and mannerisms.
Also, an actor needs to be able to physically embody the villain. This means that they need to be able to look and act scary, without going too over-the-top — see the controversy here? They also need to be able to perform convincingly on-screen.
Actress Kathy Bates is often thought of as one of the most evil villains in movie history. She plays the role of Annie Wilkes in the film adaption of Stephen King’s Misery, which was released in 1990. In the movie, Bates kidnaps and holds her favorite author, Paul Sheldon (played by James Caan), captive in her home. She forces him to write a new book for her and makes his life a living hell. Many people believe that Bates’ character is actually evil, and that she takes great pleasure in tormenting her victims.
Annie is manipulative and violent, often inflicting pain on Paul for her own amusement. Kathy Bates herself has said that she enjoys playing evil characters, as they are more complex and interesting than good ones. While some may argue that Kathy Bates is evil in Misery, others would say that she is simply a complex character who happens to be bad.
Playing an evil character can be great fun. It can be a way to let out some of your dark side in a controlled environment, and it can also be a way to explore different aspects of human behavior. If you are interested in playing an evil character, make sure you are willing to commit to the role and that you are prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Just make sure you don’t get too carried away with your own power. The key to playing an evil character successfully is to always stay in control.
Which evil characters would you recommend actors to study? Leave a comment on our DirectSubmit @NYCastings Twitter feed!