ByTom Chapman, writer at
tweet: tomtomchap Warden of the North - bearded, tattooed and square eyed 'til the end
Tom Chapman

The word "legend" is bandied about all too easily these days, from Kanye to Kim, but we forget some of the true greats of the celebrity domain. As John Malkovich celebrates his 63rd birthday, he can rest assured that he has had a brilliant career as a real national treasure. From holding Nick Cage hostage in Con Air to literally getting inside his own head for Being John Malkovich, nowadays he does everything from voicing penguins in Madagascar to portraying every character in David Lynch's Twin Peaks.

The fluent Frenchman, sinister smiler, and all round expert expat is one of the most fascinating actors out there. For the past four decades he has kept us entertained, but here are 10 facts you may (or may not) know about John Gavin Malkovich — yes, that really is his middle name.

See also:

1. Playing John Malkovich

'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare' [Credit: Activision]
'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare' [Credit: Activision]

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare saw Malkovich team up with Bill Paxton, Jon Bernthal, and Rose McGowan for the Exo Zombies mode. As one of the playable four survivors, Malkovich's character was Oz, the wisecracking soldier. As the game continues, it then pits you against a zombified version of Malkovich — what could be better?

2. Why Not 'Being Tom Cruise'?

The film Being John Malkovich will immortalize the actor forever, but when Malkovich was brought the script, he asked whether he had wronged Charlie Kaufman in some way? The idea simply came because Kauffman said it wouldn't have worked with anyone else, Malkovich had the kind of name that was funny enough for the title. Still, Malkovich didn't seem to get the script and asked, "Why John Malkovich? Why not Being Tom Cruise?" Ironically, the day that New Line Cinema dropped the project, chairman Bob Shaye said, ""Why the f*ck can't it be Being Tom Cruise?"

3. He Can 'Walk' On Broken Glass

Fans of Annie Lennox will spot a younger Malkovich (and an even younger Hugh Laurie) in the background of her video for "Walking on Broken Glass." To add to the star factor, Malkovich reprises his role as Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons, while his costume for the video comes straight from the wardrobe of the 1988 film.

4. Eating John Malkovich

If you are feeling peckish in the Lisbon area, pop into Malkovich's restaurant "Bica do Sapato," which is Portuguese for high heel. Bica do Sapata offers "trendy" Mediterranean dining by the river and has a solid 4.1/5 TripAdvisor rating.

5. There Is A Malkovich Film We Will Never See

Even with the advances in medicine and people leading a longer life, there is one Malkovich film that none of us will ever get to see. In conjunction with Louis XIII, Malkovich wrote and stars in the film directed by Robert Rodriguez. 100 Years will be released from a time-locked safe on November 18, 2115, to a select audience of 1,000, including the descendants of Malkovich and Rodriguez. Three teasers have been shown, but none offer any footage of the film. It reportedly depicts the idea of what the world will look like in 100 years, a 1984-esque deal.

6. Spider-Man Is His Destiny

It is a little-known fact that Malkovich was tipped to play Vulture in Sam Raimi's never-materializing Spider Man 4 (a role now played by Michael Keaton in Homecoming). Even lesser known, Malkovich was offered the part of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in Raimi's first Spider-Man in 2002 — that eventually went to Willem Dafoe. Maybe one day he will fulfill his destiny to join the webslinger.

7. Wearing John Malkovich

If "being" the Oscar winner isn't enough, you can also wear John Malkovich courtesy of his own clothing line. His company, Mrs. Mudd, was founded in 2002 and released the first line "Uncle Kimono" in 2003. Gaining critical acclaim in the international fashion press, Malkovich then released a capsule collection in 2010 called "Technobohemian," which harked back to his Midwestern roots.

8. You Can See Him In The Weirdest David Lynch Tribute Ever

If you think getting inside John Malkovich's head is weird, try and get the image of him as David Lynch's Lady in the Radiator out of your head. Sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation, Malkovich played some of the director's most famous character creations (and Lynch himself) for a series of short videos in the project "Playing Lynch." Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks, Mystery Man from Lost Highway, the Elephant Man, and the aforementioned Lady in the Radiator. It is haunting stuff!

9. He Saved A Man's Life

Actor by day, lifesaver by night. In 2013, Malkovich saved the life of a 77-year-old stranger who tripped and fell in Toronto. The man caught his throat on some nearby scaffolding and slit it open; Malkovich reportedly lay the man down and applied pressure until emergency crews arrived. Once he was safely in the hospital, Malkovich carried on with his day, no biggie!

10. There Is An Epic Malkovich Photo Project

'Andy Warhol / Green Marilyn ' [Credit: Sandro Miller]
'Andy Warhol / Green Marilyn ' [Credit: Sandro Miller]

In an homage to Being John Malkovich, renowned photographer Sandro Miller brought the actor on board to create some of history's most iconic photos, replacing the main focus with Malkovich. Dubbed "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to photographic masters,” I don't know why it took until 2014 to think of this idea. From The Joker to Che Guevara, they are mesmerizing and sinister at the same time.

[Credit: Esquire]
[Credit: Esquire]

Even now, having Malkovich's name in your film means big business. However, good luck getting to him in real life; Spike Jonze had to use his connection to Francis Ford Coppola to get the script for Being John Malkovich to the actor. Notoriously private, Malkovich reportedly travels under several aliases, I wonder if he ever uses Tom Cruise. Happy birthday you big, bald, brilliant man.

Check out the trailer for Being John Malkovich, and don't forget our poll below!


Which is your favorite Malkovich role?


Latest from our Creators