No matter how big a star you are, even if you're the lead of a film, sometimes there's that moment where your co-star shines so bright they almost threaten to outshine you. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it leaves audiences wanting more of that supporting character, and the chance to see that actor expand upon that short but sweet role, maybe in their own solo film.
Take Bumblebee from Transformers, or Neil Patrick Harris in Gone Girl, or even Groot in Guardians of The Galaxy — those are supporting characters you come to love and want to see more of. In this list, I think I've found some pretty good instances of great supporting stars who almost own the screen more than the lead. Check them out!
1. Tom Cruise In 'Tropic Thunder' — Les Grossman
Ben Stiller, Robert Downey. Jr, Jack Black, Nick Nolte, Steve Coogan, Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson — I can go on naming the amount of star power that lead this hilarious action comedy about a bunch of diva-type actors thrown into a real war while trying to film their own war movie. While each star delivers big laughs — with Black as a crackhead and RDJ impersonating a black actor, it's Tom Cruise who surprises the most in an unrecognizable role as studio executive Les Grossman. Chubby, bald, sporting thick hair and thick prosthetic hands and arms, Cruise goes all out as this foul-mouthed aggressive exec, and the results are easily the funniest moments in #TropicThunder. Would anyone else like to see more of Les Grossman? I would!
2. Timothy Dalton In 'Hot Fuzz' — Simon Skinner
Ex-Bond star Timothy Dalton is a delight as supermarket manager/maniacal serial killer Simon Skinner, who elegantly slides into frame throughout #HotFuzz to drop literal killer puns and taunt Police Sergeant Nicholas Angel. Dalton is suave and dangerous like his 007 days but has the charm to get away with these killer one-liners without giving away his crimes. The screenshot above is a highlight of the film, never taking himself too seriously and clearly having a blast as this lethal yet seemingly likable manager and popular member of Sandford.
3. Danny McBride In 'This Is The End' — As Himself
Midway through This Is The End, when the likes of Franco, Robinson, Hill, Rogen and Baruchel have gone to bed despite the apocalypse outside, in comes Danny McBride — whose first shot of character introduction is him smoking in the bathtub, missing the toilet seat, wasting all the water and food supplies and enjoying his very own king breakfast for one. McBride's crude humor, dirty references, ignorance and attitude rivals that of all his co-stars combined, making the apocalypse a truly entertaining and drug-induced laugh-fest.
4. Jason Statham And Miranda Hart In 'Spy' — Rick Ford And Nancy Artingstall
When I heard British comedian Miranda Hart was going to be in a Paul Feig movie alongside Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne, I knew it was going to be funny. Then I saw #Spy, and I didn't realize it was going to be this funny. Miranda brings her very British charm and well-spoken mannerisms to her office-bound spy Nancy, who gets frequently sweaty, panics easily and eventually ends up in the field helping out McCarthy's Susan Cooper, only to end up taking down 50 Cent, dropping a sniper into the ocean and "protecting" Rose Byrne's villain Raina by grabbing her by the head and whipping her blazer over her head in an attempt at elegant protection. Hart is just so British, though she fits in well with the star-studded American cast (McCarthy, Byrne, Janney, Cannavale) and delivers some huge laughs as an "Asthmatic Big Bird."
Statham has proved himself witty and amusing in the past with films like The Expendables, but Spy is where he came into his comedy game, playing bumbling idiot spy Rick Ford, who haplessly tries to out-style his superiors and colleagues only to end up making a fool of himself. Statham plays it serious, but you can tell he's only inches away from chuckling, as he plays against type (this time a caricature of his tough guy characters but with this terrific comedic spin). His Face/Off machine mention is a highlight, as is his constant friction with Melissa McCarthy's new spy Susan Cooper. McCarthy is at her best, but Statham is on fire.
5. Gal Gadot In 'Batman V Superman' — Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Need I say more? Gal Gadot's first physical appearance as Wonder Woman sees her jump into frame, deflect Doomsday's scorching heat rays, defend Batman, knock the living daylights out of Doomsday before uniting with fellow Justice League members Batman and Superman. Gal Gadot trained for this role extensively and the results show, I wanted more of Wonder Woman in Dawn of Justice, which is why I am super excited for her solo outing this year!
6. Eva Green in '300: Rise of An Empire' - Artemisia
300: Rise of An Empire is a visually stunning, action packed, epic and badass sequel, way better than the first, and it mostly gets it extra mileage of entertainment because Eva Green as the villainous Naval Commander Artemisia is bloody brilliance. Eva Green is merciless and rather terrifying, any second she'll cut someones head off. Such a strong, fierce woman in charge of a whole army makes for some truly tense confrontations and gloriously gory battles, Green puts lead Sullivan Stapleton through the paces, arguably a more fascinating character than his leader Themistokles.
7. Kathryn Hahn in 'Bad Moms' - Carla
In a recent article I wrote, listing 9 underrated stars, Kathryn Hahn appeared in that list. In 2016, this very funny and talented actress finally got her time to shine in Bad Moms, as Carla. A rude, loud-mouthed, brutally honest and bull-in-a-china shop type Mum, and Hahn lives every moment in the role. Mila Kunis may be the lead and as charming and funny as she is, Hahn is outrageous and her presence is so loud and lewd in a funny way she charges into every scene with a care in the world.
8. Kate Beckinsale in 'Total Recall' - Lori Quaid
How I wish Kate Beckinsale could be the next Bond girl. This British babe dominates the screen in the 2012 remake of Total Recall, in which she effortlessly, and menacingly, transitions from sweet American wife to killer British spy. Colin Farrell, Bill Nighy, Bryan Cranston and Jessica Biel may have starring roles but it's Beckinsale who storms onto the screen as this unstoppable force of aggression, tearing up the futuristic landscapes to capture and kill unbeknownst spy Doug Quaid. Beckinsale's sexiness, physicality, lethal determination and action chops are to be reckoned with.
9. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in 'Fast Five' - Luke Hobbs
How do you out-muscle the likes of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker? You bring in The Rock. Revamping the franchise, Fast Five changed the game and took the street-racing series into new territory, opting for more action thrills and themes of family, rather than racing. Dwayne Johnson is violent, authoritative and a total machine when he makes his appearance in Fast Five, whenever he makes chase trying to catch Toretto and his team, his determination and towering physique leads the screen, making him nearly the most exciting part of this fifth instalment.
10. Jared Leto in 'Suicide Squad' - The Joker
Yes I was one of the few that absolute loved Jared Leto's Joker. Despite barely ten minutes of screen time, Leto owns every inch of the screen when he appears. The laugh is terrific, echoing in every location he sits in. The look is bold and unique, like a gangster/club owner, I love his voice and his very weird quips from him purring like a cat to cackling manically. Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis and numerous other stars may be taking the centre stage but Leto threatens to overpower them with his screw-loose type performance, if he had just that more screen time he'd have stole the show indefinitely, and maybe the pundits would've warmed to his interpretation more.
Are there any movies you can think of in which the support star almost outshines, or does outshine, the lead performer? Let me know below!