Tag Archive: career


Killer Joe (2011) Review

McConaisance: when an actor famous for being the butt of many a jokes due to the nature of his films decides, for some unbeknownst reason, to season his career with incredibly serious roles…and actually does it well. Back in 2011, this is exactly what Matthew McConaughey did: along with The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe helped transform McConaughey’s career in a matter of months and left audiences completely bewildered at the ‘new’ actor.

“If you insult me again, I will cut your face off and wear it over my own. Do you understand?”

When Chris (Emile Hirsch) has his stash of drugs stolen by his own mother, he concocts a plan with his father, Ansel (Thomas Haden church) and inconsequently his younger sister, Dottie (Juno Temple) to kill his own mother and cash in on her $50,000 life insurance. To do so, Chris gets in contact with ‘Killer’ Joe Cooper (McConaughey), a detective who moonlights as a contract killer. The agreement turns complicated when unexpected events occur and Joe takes a shine to Chris’ younger sister as collateral.

Right from the off, Killer Joe sets itself apart from any other film, introducing quite possibly the most dysfunctional family in the world as Chris is kicked out of his mother’s house and forced to stop with his father and step-mother (Gina Gershon) after, we suspect, beating up his mum. The rain batters down on the ground and sets the mood for the rest of the film. We are quickly rushed into a strip club for a conversation that should probably be happening not in a public place, but this is the second clue that Killer Joe is going to be exciting, different and anything but what you expect.

“This is going to get done, one way or another.”

McConaughey is soon introduced and as soon as he appears he steals the show completely. Long gone is the man who made his career by taking his top off (although he does have a couple of scenes with his torso on show) and making dodgy romantic comedies. He carries the film with so much intensity; no longer a joke but now someone who can genuinely scare you. The character of Joe Cooper is an interesting and complex one and McConaughey brings him to life perfectly, you won’t want to take your eyes off him for a second, even if you don’t agree with everything that he does.

McConaughey is supported by a really fantastic cast who all more than hold their own. Emile Hirsch as a kid with a lot of front but no real guts is great, Thomas Haden Church does a really understated job but Juno Temple is the other star of Killer Joe. As the annoyingly cute and naive Dottie, you really warm to her character as she seems like the innocent victim here when Joe decides that until he gets paid he’s going to be keeping Dottie’s bed warm.

“Why don’t you do us all a big favor and just go kill yourself?”

There are real horrific moments in Killer Joe: it’s an incredibly brutal, morally questionable story but handled so well by director William Friedkin. Some of the scenes are particularly hard to watch from a moral standpoint but the film does a wonderful job of pulling you in that you are willing to be shocked and willing to be, at times, disgusted. At the same time there are jokes planted throughout the script that bring a darkly comic feel to the tone and make you feel guilty for even considering laughing due to the nature of the film.

Killer Joe is adapted from a play and that comes across. There’s a small cast which is often confined to houses and shacks to really constrain the story. All of this is handled with so much intensity, every thing that happens will have your heart pounding. The dialogue is delivered (once again by McConaughey in particular) in a manner that is just so addictive, characters are so interesting that you have no choice once you start watching but to get to the end. And the end is one hell of an ending that will leave you thinking for hours to come.

“Your eyes hurt.”

One of the best films I have ever seen.

My Rating: 10/10.

It’s not very often that someone comes along and changes the way that films are made. There are rare moments in the modern movie industry where such significant leaps are made to enhance movie viewing. Ray Harryhausen is one of the most famous pioneers of special effects technology ever to grace the industry. Unfortunately, the sad news has been broken today that this pioneer has passed away at the wonderful age of 92.

Ray Harryhausen was a visual effects legend (and that is no less than he deserves) and he pioneered the stop motion movement. He brought stop motion to the big screen; hand crafting and painting his figures and then shooting them frame by frame in a long, tedious process that eventually ended up contributing to some of the most famous films of all time.

Harryhausen’s work can be seen in films such as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, but his two most famous contributions were to Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, it seems even the incredible CGI advances can’t help make a modern Clash of the Titans better than the stop motion original. Jason and the Argonauts produced some of the best special effects seen at the time: the multiple headed Hydra and the skeleton soldiers rising from the ground to name but two.

Compared to modern special effects Harryhausen’s work does look dated, but his contribution to the movie industry cannot be underestimated and his presence will forever be recognised. He may not have been a director but when the films featured Harryhausen’s animation work, they were HIS films.

This brilliant video puts together all of Ray Harryhausen’s creatures together…

The Appeal of Emma Stone

Born Emily Jean Stone the young actress took on the name Emma when registering with the Screen Actors Guild due to there already being an Emily Stone registered. That’s a nice little fact not many people will be too aware of. Anyway, Emma Stone is just one of a new wave of actresses who are currently winning critics over and gaining fans with every performance they put in. In this category I place Stone with the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Williams and Carey Mulligan among others. But there is something different that sets Emma Stone apart from the rest; she has a very distinct and intriguing appeal.

Emma Stone got her first leading role in 2010’s Easy A, a film which focusses on the novel A Scarlet Letter and parallels that with the main character’s life: Olive, played by Emma Stone. I believe that Stone’s performance here is a clear example of just what a wonderful actress she is to watch. Olive is caught up in a web of lies after just trying to shut her friend up by telling her that she has lost her virginity, when in fact she has not. All of this gets out of hand and pretty much ruins Olive’s life. But the way the story is told is from Olive’s first person perspective, already giving us Stone’s narration. As well as this the film uses the narrative device of Stone talking into her webcam (which becomes the screen). This makes Stone’s performance just seem incredibly relaxed and natural and allowing the audience to see her in this way brings us a lot closer to the character and, in effect, Emma Stone herself. Her performance is full of vibrancy and sarcastic humour, outshone only by the frankly quite incredible Stanley Tucci.

Before Stone’s Golden Globe nominated performance in Easy A she was already making a name for herself in the comedy genre. Stone’s first film role was in Superbad, a film that began a new era of comedy films. After Superbad she appeared in a few, shall we say interesting films: The Rocker, The House Bunny and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (but let’s not judge her) before getting back on the right track with Zombieland. Also worth noting, Stone actually auditioned for the role of Claire Bennett in Heroes but obviously lost out to Hayden Panettiere who really impressed casting directors: I would have much preferred to have seen Stone in the role though. But anyway…

Emma Stone’s career has continued to go from strength to strength and she has proven that she is not just a one trick pony, despite being more than comfortable and one of the funniest women in comedy film at the minute. She had supporting roles in Friends With Benefits and Crazy, Stupid, Love (where she would work with Ryan Gosling for the first of quite a few times over the next couple of years) before joining The Help. The Help features an ensemble cast of actresses, not one of whom puts a foot wrong in terms of their performance here. Stone joins the likes of Jessica Chastain (another relatively new actress who is just exceptional at her craft), Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard and Viola Davis. Stone’s performance helped The Help win many nomination and awards for it’s cast’s performances.

With The Amazing Spider-Man, Emma Stone became the latest actress to join the superhero film genre. However, unlike the latest incarnations of Pepper Potts, Lois Lane and Rachel Dawes we have seen, Stone’s Gwen Stacy was not the typical damsel in distress as she could more than hold her own; standing up to Flash, being incredible stubborn in an attempt to save New York that could have seen her killed as well as smacking The Lizard over the head during a fight with Spider-Man. Then Stone joined a much more testosterone fuelled ensemble in Gangster Squad, joining Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Anthony Mackie. She recently lent her voice to the prehistoric animation film from DreamWorks: The Croods.

I think you would have to go a long way to find any young actress working today with the combination of talent and on screen charisma that Emma Stone has. She has a wonderful presence on screen with a beautiful charm about her and her career shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Next year will see her reprise her role of Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, while Birdman (from the director of 21 Grams and Babel) is in pre-production. She is also signed on to star in Guillermo Del Toro’s exciting Crimson Peak which is snapping up a superb cast in the form of Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Chastain.

Hopefully we will get to see Emma Stone taking the lead in more and more films over the next few years but for now I am happy enough seeing her play supporting roles if she continues to be as good as she is right now!

Now, the reason for writing this blog is not to just slag Nicolas Cage off, I actually quite like him. I have enjoyed a lot of his films, old and new, including Con Air, Adaptation and Kick-Ass. But I never realised how many really big hits that Cage has been linked with but either turned them down or didn’t come to fruition (thankfully in the end) so that he could make the likes of Ghost Rider, G-Force and Drive Angry. So what are the biggest roles Cage could have starred in but didn’t?

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Shrek

Cage may be voicing a character in the DreamWorks animation The Croods but a few years ago Cage was approached by executives for the role of Shrek. However, this never came to light because of Cage’s self-professed vanity. His reason for not playing Shrek? He didn’t want to look like an ogre. This turned out okay in the end though as if we had got Cage then the loveable ogre may not have his famous Scottish accent that he is known for now.

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Lord of the Rings

Among the fellowship there were no real Hollywood stars; Ian McKellen perhaps the most famous among the cast. So things would have looked slightly different and it may have been marketed differently if Nicolas Cage had accepted the role of… Aragorn. Cage turned this one down citing “family obligations” and Viggo Mortensen will thank him for that and so will fans of the trilogy: Mortensen’s Aragorn became one of the most popular characters in the film.

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The Matrix

The Matrix is quite an iconic film. It’s sequels divide audiences but the first film is usually regarded pretty highly. And Nicolas Cage could have been in the leading role as Neo. Cage turned down the role due to the fact it was filming in New Zealand and he was committed to raising his children at the time. Of course, eventually Keanu Reeves got the role and enjoyed his career for a few weeks.

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The Wrestler

The Wrestler is the only film on this list that I am genuinely interested to see how Nicolas Cage would have played it. I think that this is a role that Cage could have done a wonderful job with. However, the role did go to Mickey Rourke afterwards and he won for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe, as well as being nominated for an Oscar and I loved it. But Cage would have been very interesting in The Wrestler.

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Superman Lives

Before the abomination that is Superman Returns was made, Superman Lives was in development. The script was written by Kevin Smith and was set to be directed by Tim Burton with Nicolas Cage in the lead role as Clark Kent/Superman. The film never got off the ground and Cage of course went on to play another comic book character Ghost Rider. I can’t imagine that it would have been a good thing seeing Cage in the red and blue spandex.

Sharlto Copley is a man who clearly loves film. When he was growing up he wanted to become an actor and now that dream has been realised. But before that, Copley started up his own production company Vasbyt Films LLC and became South Africa’s youngest television producer at the age of 25. At age 22 Copley first met a 16 year old Neill Blomkamp (a name you’ll be hearing a lot in the coming paragraphs and years) and Blomkamp began working at Copley’s production company in return for the use of the computers at the company for Blomkamp to furthur his passion of 3D animation and design.

Over ten years after this meeting Sharlto Copley made his acting debut in short film Alive in Joburg about a close encounter of the third kind in Johannesburg. Copley also produced the six minute film which was directed by Neil Blomkamp. In 2009 Copley made his feature film acting debut, again directed by Blomkamp, in science fiction masterpiece and Oscar nominated film District 9, an adaptation of Alive in Joburg. You can read my review of District 9 here, but one thing I didn’t mention in the review was just how good Copley’s performance is. This was the first time he had acted in a full length feature but he looks right at home in front of the camera, his performance is excpetional and he is nothing but loveable in his role. The change and development his character goes through is unbelievable and the emotion that Copley is able to bring to the role is just wonderful. I think this is one of my favourite performances of recent years.

This performance and the success of District 9 allowed Copley to make another of his dreams come true. Thanks to his performance he was noticed by the Hollywood executives and cast in the film remake of one of Copley’s favourite television shows, The A-Team. Now, the cast looks pretty good on paper with the likes of Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper among the names and token eye-candy-in-summer-blockbuster Jessica Biel included, and there were some good action scenes that made it a fun popcorn movie but there was nothing to it. However, Copley’s performance as “Howling Mad” Murdock was the shining light of brilliance among the film and he even gained praise from Dwight Schultz, the man who made the character famous in the TV series.

Having tried his hand at action and science fiction it seems clear which one he enjoyed the most as a look at his upcoming films will tell you that Sharlto Copley is sure to become one of science fiction’s greatest ever actors. His next film is Europa Report about a crew of international astronauts sent on a mission to Jupiter’s fourth moon. Another upcoming film is the intriguing Open Grave which will see Copley try his hand at horror: Copley’s character wakes up in a pit of dead bodies with no memory and must try to find the serial killer or decide whether he himself is actually the killer.

After this Copley is set to team up with old friend Blomkamp for Elysium, another science fiction film, however not connected to the earlier District 9. There is a lot of anticipation and expectation surrounding Elysium because it is Blomkamp’s follow up project and it also features Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and William Fichtner among the cast. Copley’s role in Elysium is set to be completely different from District 9 as he plays a bad-ass and vile South African mercenary: his versatility is set to be tested.

With roles in the Oldboy remake and the retelling of Sleeping Beauty in Maleficent alongside Angelina Jolie Copley’s career looks to be a path that is very well chosen. All we are going to see over the coming years is just how good and how versatile Copley is. Such a talented actor, he already has a cult fan base but he is deserving of even more!

Leonardo DiCaprio recently announced that he is to take a break from acting after he has been busy making three films in the last two years. While The Great Gatsby and The Wolf on Wall Street are yet to be released, Django Unchained is in cinemas now.

Since getting his break in the film world back in 1993 playing a mentally challenged teenager in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Leonardo DiCaprio has gone on to become one of the most consistent, most versatile and most sought after actors. DiCaprio is one of my favourite actors so I have compiled a list of his top five most iconic performances. And it was incredibly hard, there are some big performances and big films that miss out, but feel free to tell me what you think in the comments. Here goes…

 

5. Jack Dawson – Titanic

As much as I don’t like Titanic and I don’t buy into the whole audience love for it that comes with the film there is no doubting that Titanic was the film that made DiCaprio ‘king of the world’ and really launched him into the limelight. Playing the young and poor Jack Dawson made DiCaprio an international heart throb and opened so many doors for him, allowing him to take his career in any direction he liked. The success that Titanic became has made sure that nobody could ever forget DiCaprio.

4. Calvin Candie – Django Unchained

Django Unchained marks the first time that DiCaprio plays the villain, and what a fine villain he makes. Calvin Candie is one of the most unlikeable character’s in film; he has so many moral issues and just because of the time period of the film he’s a despicable human being. But DiCaprio plays him with such menace and intensity that you just want to see more and more of him. It’s one of DiCaprio’s most enthralling and guiltily enjoyable performances.

3. Jim Carroll – The Basketball Diaries

Believe it or not, DiCaprio did have a career before Titanic. In 1995, a film was made of Jim Carroll’s juvenile diaries chronicling his kaleidoscopic free-fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. While there may be a few problems with the film (it’s not one of DiCaprio’s best) DiCaprio puts in a fantastic performance as the drug addicted teen and it is one that highlighted his acting talent very early on and it was plain to see he was made for stardom.

2. Howard Hughes – The Aviator

The Aviator is another biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and this one actually got him an Oscar nomination. DiCaprio shows Hughes’ rise to success in the field of aviation and film production and even more convincingly, brings us down with Hughes’ decline of mental health. It’s a wonderful film directed by Martin Scorsese and quite rightly got nominations over the board for the film as a whole and DiCaprio’s mesmerising performance.

1. Danny Archer – Blood Diamond

Another role that got DiCaprio nominated for an Oscar. This is one of his best performances and Blood Diamond is one of my favourite films that he has done. DiCaprio got critical acclaim for mastering the difficult South African accent and really puts in a flawless performance that shows his character develop from selfish smuggler to a hero. It’s a wonderful performance which is truly moving by the end of it, DiCaprio puts on a wonderful show.

So that’s my top greatest roles taken on by Leonardo DiCaprio. As you can see there are some brilliant movies that miss out: Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Shutter Island and Inception. For me, all this does is make clear that DiCaprio is one of the greatest actors of his generation with a filmography to match!

Landing the role of Superman is one that is meant to change your career forever and make you an immortal on the cinema screen, stapled in to people’s minds forever; it is one of the most iconic roles in movie history, the embodiment of being an American (despite being an alien) and any Superman film should make huge stars out of everyone involved. Remember Kate Bosworth? Remember James Marsden? Sam Huntington? Parker Posey? No… because the Superman film all of the aforementioned were involved with was 2006’s Superman Returns.

However, nobody was more affected by the failure of Superman Returns than the man of steel himself, Brandon Routh. When Warner Bros. decided to revive the Superman franchise a whole host of actors were considered for the part; Paul Walker, Brendan Fraser and even Will Smith (who decided to give us his own take on the superhero genre anyway with Hancock, a hero with a similar back story to that of Superman) but when Bryan Singer came on board to direct he decided that an unknown actor should be cast and that was, of course, Brandon Routh.

Prior to being given the part of Superman Routh had largely been seen, but unnoticed, in television shows such as One Life to Live, Gilmore Girls and Will and Grace. Whilst studying at University Routh was always told he bore a resemblance to Christopher Reeve (if you don’t know who he is, stop reading now… seriously) and he was signed by an agent for this very reason who told him if there was another Superman film ever made, he would be the man in the starring role. And then it came along… Routh’s big chance to impress.

Superman Returns bored the hell out of me! For some reason, unbeknownst to man, Superman Returns gained some very good praise from critics and was even a huge hit at the box office taking $84.2million in just five days which was a Warner Bros. record at the time. Yet of all of those people who went to see the film, I don’t think many of them found it to be the return of Superman that they wanted. Superman Returns was a largely lacklustre blockbuster: I wouldn’t say it was the worse comic book movie to hit the cinema screen but it dragged more than Daredevil and the action scenes were worse than Ghost Rider. Instead of making Brandon Routh a huge household name, it made him the butt of many jokes and the subject of many conversations that go a little bit like this:

“I really like him, he was good in Superman Returns

“@!#* off!”

But the fact is, Brandon Routh is NOT a bad actor, he is actually quite good, I think, and his career could and should have looked so different than it does today. Routh, since Superman Returns, has seen limited cinema time and the films he has made that have had wide releases (Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) have seen him appear in nothing more than just a couple of scenes.

Brandon Routh should STILL be playing Superman in my opinion. He was the star of a film that grossed millions and millions of dollars at the box office and was praised by critics and has since fallen down the acting world so much. He should be the biggest action hero around right now or at least be a supporting actor in films like the Die Hard series or even G.I. Joe but instead he is starring in Partners, a sitcom that isn’t going down incredibly well right now and will just be another dent in his career.

Let’s hope the same doesn’t happen for Henry Cavill.

Steinfeld made a name for herself as always being one of the best dressed stars on the red carpet.

In 2010, young actress Hailee Steinfeld burst into the world of film with a truly magnificent performance in True Grit alongside Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Steinfeld’s performance in the Western was nominated for an Academy Award. The nomination strangely came in the category of Best Supporting Actress; strange because Steinfeld was really the only female character, logically making the lead actress er… Matt Damon. Anyway, since that performance Steinfeld has moved away from acting but looks set to return with a very busy schedule ahead for films released in the next couple of years.

Steinfeld began her career acting in short films at the age of 8, in order to gain experience of the acting industry. In 2009 she starred in the award winning short film She’s a Fox which featured at many international film festivals so people in the know really recognised her as a great talent even before True Grit hit the cinema screens. Clearly her talent shone through at the True Grit auditions as Hailee Steinfeld was chosen out of 15,000 girls to play the part of Mattie Ross, the girl who hires Jeff Bridges Deputy U.S. Marshall to find and kill the man who murdered her father. Steinfeld is also the actor granted the privilege of saying the name of the film in the film by telling Jeff Bridges that he has ‘true grit’.

After rising to fame through that performance Steinfeld went off the radar for a couple of years. You’ve got to imagine that a big reason for this was to concentrate on her studies; Steinfeld is, after all, just 15 years old at the time of writing. But she was also chosen to be the face of worldwide fashion brand Miu Miu for their 2011 campaign. But now she has returned with a whole host of projects coming up in 2013 and 2014, most notably perhaps landing the role of Juliet Capulet in Carlo Carlei’s retelling of the most famous love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet.

True Grit

Firstly though, Steinfeld is set to star alongside British starlet Keira Knightley and everyone’s favourite Incredible Hulk Mark Ruffalo in Can a Song Save Your Life? which, in all honesty, is something I probably won’t be watching. Another project Hateship, Friendship sees Steinfeld working with some more big Hollywood names in the form of Kristen Wiig and the rejuvenated Guy Pearce. The upcoming project I am most looking forward to that Steinfeld is involved in is Gavin Hood’s science fiction film Ender’s Game, slated for an autumn release in 2013. Although I am yet to be impressed with Hood’s direction (Rendition was an average, slow burning thriller, and the less said about X-Men Origins: Wolverine the better) but with a synopsis that reads “70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion” it has grabbed my attention: it also stars science fiction heavyweight Harrison Ford who still has a huge fan following despite winning my award for most boring person in the world.

Hailee Steinfeld

Also this year Steinfeld appeared in the music video for The Cab’s single Endlessly

Steinfeld continues to work in 2014 with The Keeping Room, being directed by the same man who brought Harry Brown to the big screen back in 2009. She is also rumoured to be in the comedy Why We Broke Up although confirmation is still being awaited for that. And Steinfeld has recently been announced to star alongside Kevin Costner in the thriller Three Days to Kill being directed by McG (This Means War) and produced and written by action God Luc Beeson.

It is clear that despite the couple of years break that Steinfeld has had she has a huge career ahead of her. And even though she missed out on winning the Oscar for True Grit I think an Academy Award is more than certain for this huge talent.

I love Anna Kendrick, that’s pretty much the long and short of this blog. There aren’t really that many actresses that I would class as some of my favourite people to watch in films but among them is definitely Anna Kendrick. The last couple of years have seen Kendrick rise to fame and become popular with fans and critics alike.

Like most really good actors and actresses Kendrick’s roots lie in the world of theatre, in particular Broadway. It was clear that Kendrick had talent right from the off as her performance in the musical High Society, at just twelve years old, as she won the World Theatre Award and got nominated for a Tony Award. After a few more shows Kendrick got her first film role in the independent musical comedy Camp and, although the film on a whole received mix reviews, Kendrick’s performance was largely praised and she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Debut Performance.

In 2007 Anna Kendrick got rave reviews once again for her role in Rocket Science but it was in 2008 that she finally got her big break and this came in the Twilight series (although lets not hold that against her, she has done lots of other good films too!). I can’t be bothered talking about Twilight but I thought I better mention it so lets just move on to her brilliant films.

In 2009, Anna Kendrick was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in one of the best films that I think I have ever seen and one of my favourites… Up in the Air. Up in the Air is a lovely, touching story with George Clooney in the lead role and Anna Kendrick puts in the best performance of the film in my opinion. It’s a lovely performance to watch and Kendrick adds some genuine humour in the film and many of the highlights of Up in the Air are down to her. It was Up in the Air where I really became a fan of her.

In 2010 Kendrick appeared in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and didn’t really have a lot to do here where she played the sister to the title character. It was while working on this film that Kendrick met her now partner, director Edgar Wright. Then in 2011, she appeared in one of the best films of the year and an all round near perfect film, 50/50. Kendrick plays the therapist to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cancer patient and their friendship/relationship and mutual respect towards one another is really heart warming to watch and I think that 50/50 is my favourite performance of Kendrick’s so far.

It’s been a dramatic rise to fame over the last couple of years for Kendrick and that shows no signs of lagging just yet as this year has been very busy for the actress. This year Kendrick voiced a character in stop-motion picture ParaNorman, took the lead role in Pitch Perfect and also sang on the soundtrack and is currently appearing in a film being dubbed “the greatest cop film of all time” End of Watch. She is also in The Company You Keep alongside Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf which I am looking forward to seeing but has only been previewed at the Venice Festival so far.

At just 27 years old Anna Kendrick is fast becoming one of the most fun actresses to watch and her career is surely going to reach some fantastic heights.

When Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy took the world by storm between 2001 and 2003 it looked certain that the group of heroes known as ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ would become massive stars in the world of films. Relatively unknown to mainstream audiences, most of the Fellowship had stayed away from Hollywood and seem to have done the same since. With a couple of characters set to return to Middle Earth in the upcoming Hobbit trilogy I decided to see what had become of everyone else who took part in one of the most loved, most successful and simply best trilogies of all time!

Elijah Wood – Frodo Baggins

Peter Jackson plucked Elijah Wood from near obscurity to helm this enormous series. Has so much pressure and weight ever been felt before by an actor? I’m not sure. The star of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Wood looked like he would have a huge career of success and with roles immediately after this trilogy in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Sin City it looked as though a career at the highest level was attainable for the young actor. However, recent years have seen the majority of Wood’s work come in voicing video games and going to television series. Although, this move to television cannot be complained about as he stars in the hilarious series Wilfred. You can’t help but feel like he could have had it so different though. Wood has done voice work in films such as 9 and Happy Feet but nothing that big or that successful has come his way in the floods that he may have been expecting. Elijah Wood will be taking on the role of Frodo Baggins once more in The Hobbit trilogy.

 

Ian McKellen – Gandalf

Probably the most famous of all the actors in Lord of the Rings and one of the best actors that England has ever produced, Sir Ian McKellen is now synonymous with Middle Earth as he portrayed the magnificent wizard and good friend to Frodo Baggins, Gandalf. McKellen has had an interesting career since Lord of the Rings; he finished off the X-Men trilogy, had a brief stint in British television soap Coronation Street and leant his voice to the fantastical feature Stardust. He also starred in an unsuccessful remake of cult television hit The Prisoner alongside Jim Caviezel. His work this decade has mainly consisted of short films but McKellen will be returning to Middle Earth for The Hobbit trilogy and will play an important part in getting the story going!

Viggo Mortensen  РAragorn

Aragorn was one of the fan favourite characters in the Lord of the Rings films and for good reason. He was a very honest, strong, caring soldier and took his duties as a protector of the hobbits very seriously. Since the end of the trilogy, Mortensen has not been as prolific as some other cast members but when he has made a film it has received critical acclaim: A History of Violence, Eastern Promises (which got Viggo Mortensen a Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role), The Road and A Dangerous Method. These all cemented Mortensen as one of the best actors from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 

Sean Astin – Samwise Gamgee

He is the best friend that everybody wants! Astin’s career probably speaks for itself when you take into consideration that if you remove the Lord of the Rings from his career his most famous film is still The Goonies. Since the conclusion of Return of the King, Astin has not appeared in too many films and has been limited to small guest roles in television series’ including Alphas and Franklin & Bash. Astin, like his on screen best friend Elijah Wood, has also done a lot of voice work starring in animated television shows such as Special Agent Oso and the recently rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles alongside Jason Biggs.

 

Orlando Bloom – Legolas

Commonly nicknamed ‘Orlando Bland’, Bloom is arguably (although this wouldn’t be a very long argument and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong) the WORST actor among the Fellowship. Yet despite this Bloom has tasted success in Hollywood in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Aside from this, Bloom has starred in the distinctly average Troy and Kingdom of Heaven as well as the ultimate flops The Three Musketeers and The Calcium Kid. The latter being a comedy mockumentary about a milkman turned boxer who ends up fighting the world champion in his hometown; having seen too much of The Calcium Kid than I would have liked it is amazing that anyone actually thought it would be a good idea. Orlando Bloom should not act anymore. Unfortunately, Legolas has been written in to The Hobbit. Jesus Christ.

John Rhys-Davies – Gimli

It’s hard to believe that the man who played short tempered dwarf Gimli is almost eighty years old! And Rhys-Davies boasts a back catalogue of projects dating all the way back to 1964! It is both ridiculously astonishing and incredibly commendable just how much work Rhys-Davies does and he is clearly a man that loves his trade. Before Lord of the Rings, he had already tasted success in a trilogy after appearing in the Indiana Jones films. Unfortunately, since the ending of the trilogy Rhys-Davies has slowed down in his acting and has not done anything of the same success and popularity.

 

Dominic Monaghan – ‘Merry’ Brandybuck

Dominic Monaghan is a very wonderful little English actor, despite being born in Germany. After his journeys in Middle Earth ended Monaghan said that he was inundated with fantasy roles but he wanted to try something else and that something else came in what would become the biggest show on television: LOST. In LOST, Monaghan played one of my favourite characters, drug addicted wannabe rock star Charlie Pace. After leaving LOST Monaghan starred in FlashForward which was unfortunately short lived and he also starred in Goodnight Burbank which didn’t go down too well.

Billy Boyd – ‘Pippin’ Took

Branded a ‘fool of a Took’ by Gandalf, along with Merry Pippin provided some much needed comic relief to a trilogy that otherwise focussed on such a serious story and dark themes. If you asked everyone who the actors were that portrayed the Fellowship on screen then Billy Boyd would probably be the one that least people thought of. This is unfortunate but I can’t imagine Boyd would be too concerned as he has not done too much acting work since Lord of the Rings.

 

Sean Bean – Boromir

Although his motives were unclear throughout The Fellowship of the Ring Boromir won the hearts of audiences the world over as he played his part in possibly the greatest death scene ever to be shot as he lost his life attempting to save Merry and Pippin. Sean Bean was already a very famous actor in England after playing Major Richard Sharpe in ITV’s television movies’. Since his Middle Earth demise Bean has continued to have a huge film and television career appearing in National Treasure, Silent Hill, Outlaw and Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief. On television Bean has starred in hit shows such as Red Riding and Game of Thrones. In it for the shortest time but arguably having the best of careers out of the Lord of the Rings alumni.

With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey out in December it looks set to launch the huge careers of Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage as well as many more!