“Overacting” has often been in the eye of the storm with whirligig of continual debate over the role’s authenticity. The Indian audience has often criticized and ridiculed Bollywood and its actors of indulging too much into overacting. Be SRK’s Devdas, DDLJ and frankly most of his works or Akshay Kumar’s Housefull; all have faced the drums. This brings the comparison to Hollywood actors and their “realistic” performances.
However there are multiple actors who have found their talent in essaying roles by overacting and have often been appreciated both commercially and critically.
Here is Nutkhatt’s list of Five Hollywood actors who Overact.
5. Samuel L. Jackson
The man behind the phrase “Bad Motherf*cker”, Samuel L. Jackson’s characters love to blow the horn and tear apart our ears. He is one of the few actors who represent their characters through the voice. Be it Pulp Fiction’s Jules Winnfield, Star Wars’ Mace Windu or the classic Snakes on a Plane’s Neville Flynn; Jackson never fails to rip apart his fellow characters through his bombastic use of expletives complemented by his ear-shattering voice.
It’s sufficing to say that nobody does angry better than Samuel L Jackson. He does sometimes tones down a bit such as his role in Avengers as eye-patched Nick Fury, but usually dons the most over-the-top acting performances.
Let’s take his most iconic character – Jules Winnfield. Jackson did the role to such perfection that it seems hard to perceive an image of Jules as a laid back, normal person who would speak in a mellow intonation. What made his over-the-approach even more stunning was his simple use of phrases such as “I don’t remember asking you goddamn thing” or “Shiiit Negro, that’s all you had to say”.
4. John Travolta
Don’t let his devil-may-care attitude in Pulp Fiction fool you, Travolta can get quite crazy. Whether hijacking a subway in The Taking of Pelham 123 or dancing to Bee Gees in Saturday Night Fever, Travolta brings qualities like no other to make his characters stand out.
Travolta finds a way to inculcate his style for the better or the worse (Oh… Battlefield Earth). Even though his exaggeration of accents and facial expressions has been attributed to his meteoric downfall in the industry, we shall always endear him for Face/Off, Saturday Night Fever and The Taking of Pelham 123.
Speaking of Face/Off, Travolta quite brilliantly essayed the role of his negative side with hilarious impressions and stomach-churning ruthlessness. Take his short scene with Nicolas Cage in the prison. After successfully completing his “face-off” surgery to destroy the protagonist’s life, Travolta a.k.a Castor Troy impersonates his counterpart with most jarring psychotic fashion ever.
3. Al Pacino
One of the most iconic actors ever, Pacino has built a career portraying the most outrageous over-the-top characters in Hollywood. Like Samuel L. Jackson, Pacino has a niche in mastering simple phrases with mind-boggling fashion.
It’s interesting to know that his most stunning performance in Francis Coppola’s The Godfather Part II is one of the few where he essayed a cool and panache role. His other roles are usually just pure insane. This however has never seemed to have dented and tainted his career as he has seen success in the most magnificent ways possible winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for The Scent of a Woman.
The perfect example of his particular style is Brain De Palma’s Scarface where he totally turned mental and transformed every other character into rubble as Tony Montana. One of most flabbergasting scenes was the shootout where his classic shouting and eye-rolling with his iconic line “Say hello to my little friend” brings his reputation to a picturesque conclusion.
2. Jim Carrey
This man most probably gave slapstick comedy a new meaning. Jim Carrey was roaring in the nineties with block-buster performances in Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask.
He did at times break his genre of acting with successful and critically acclaimed performances in Michael Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Joel Schumacher’s The Number 23, but is primarily known to be donning just loud, crazy and over-the-top characters.
What is most interesting is that he was applauded for his performances at the time when method and realistic actors were on the rise. His take on the most hilarious superhero, The Mask cannot be matched. Most people have often cited his approach as the perfect one for the titular green faced character.
Carrey is one of the few actors who could use his body as a tool to portray characters. The look at the way he made his butt talk in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
1. Nicolas Cage
It was a tough decision between Jim Carrey and Nicolas Cage, but Cage surely takes home the trophy. It’s probably impossible to point out a movie in which he has not overacted. Nic Cage is a ticking-time bomb.
Be it just looking at someone or reciting the alphabets, Cage seems to have discovered a way to just blow off realistic acting and introduce us to a completely different world of the art. The actor has starred in everything from Oscar winning pictures to just embarrassing B-movies.
Terming his style as “Nuevo Shamanic” in an interview for the promotion of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Cage seems to have somehow hypnotise us into accepting his LOUD performances.
By Rhiteek Chatterjee