My husband and I recently caught Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, and we both agreed afterward that this already entertaining movie was made even better by the presence of one Simon Pegg. This got me thinking about Pegg and other actors who may not be the stars of every film they're in, but whose very presence elevates viewers' enjoyment levels of the genre films and television shows in which they appear.
Keep reading for my list of MVP supporting actors whose names below the title in the opening credits guarantee that you'll have something to look forward to onscreen for the next two hours.
|How nice! He wants me both to live long and to prosper.|
Alan Tudyk: To legions of Firefly fans, he'll forever be known as Wash. But he was also quite literally the only enjoyable part of the atrocity that was Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. His voice alone brought the robot Sonny to life in the otherwise forgettable I, Robot. I frequently drop his line from A Knight's Tale — "Hello? It's called a lance!" — into conversations at appropriate moments. (I love this movie to an embarrassing degree, and I don't care if its medieval setting doesn't technically qualify it as a fantasy film.) His character (and his abs!) in Dollhouse were a shock to audiences. Heck, for years I remembered him as that funny redheaded German in 28 Days, the rather grim Sandra Bullock rehab movie that I saw ages before I was aware of his name or of his awesomeness. I have no doubt that he'll steal the show as Stephen Douglas in the upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He's effortlessly funny, but he can flip to sad or terrifying with ease.
|Squids are so hot right now.|
Missi Pyle: She's a beautiful woman who's adept at playing real weirdos, and I adore her for her lack of vanity. Much of her work is in mainstream, non-genre guest-starring roles, but she's had some memorable turns in science fiction projects. She was one of the hapless aliens in the hilarious Galaxy Quest, and she played the loathsome Alexandra Cabot in the woefully underrated Josie and the Pussycats movie. Although it's not a genre film, her Russian athlete from Dodgeball may as well be a sci fi character, with her out-there teeth, eyebrows and accent. She also had quirky turns in Pushing Daisies and Heroes. If you need an attractive but slightly bizarre character, Missi's your gal.
|Silly psychic. That's a piece of Mulder's New York Knicks t-shirt.|
Brad Dourif: To most of you, Dourif is Grima Wormtongue from The Lord of the Rings. To others, he is Piter De Vries from Dune. Probably everyone recognizes the voice of the murderous doll Chucky, which he's provided in countless projects. But for me, he'll forever be Luther Lee Boggs, the deeply unsettling physic serial killer from the most excellent X-Files episode, "Beyond the Sea." This is just a tiny peek at his roles in SF/F projects, and no matter what character you associate Dourif with, I guarantee it's memorable and a little bit creepy.
|Spoiler alert: He turns into a vampire.|
Danny Trejo: OK, yes, most of his roles are as drug dealers and convicts in decidedly non-SF/F fare. However, he's had some memorable turns as that gruff, tough Mexican in a few keys works. He's in all three of the From Dusk Till Dawn films, and his trailer for Machete in Grindhouse was so good that it got turned into an actual (kind of disappointing) movie. His role in Predators was typical Trejo fare, but with a bloodthirsty alien added to the mix. Hilariously, IMDb tells me he was also in several episodes of The Young and the Restless. That sounds a little bit like science fiction to me.
|I will admit to having a small girl crush on Carla.|
Did I leave off your favorite supporting actors? Let me know in the comments!