Dame Helen Mirren: Why Do Brits Always Play Villains?

Dame Helen Mirren is sick and tired of British actors being pigeonholed as baddies in Hollywood movies:

“I think it’s rather unfortunate that the villain in every movie is always British, we’re such an easy target that they can comfortably make the Brits the villains,” she said at an event to celebrate British success in Hollywood.

“It’s just nice to say we’re not snooty, stuck up, malevolent, malignant creatures as we’re so often portrayed. We’re actually kind of cool and hip.”

I didn’t know “malevolent and malignant” and “cool and hip” were mutually exclusive. Dame Helen cannot deny that British actors have given us some extremely memorable portraits of villainy. My personal favorite? Alan Rickman in Die Hard, of course. It’s funny: even though Rickman plays a German, the producers knew that only a British actor could project such evil.

Who’s your favorite British baddie in a blockbuster film?

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself—he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri—he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.
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