There's something acutely unsettling about watching an internationally renowned actor butcher a person on screen, even more so when it's a star usually typecast in more innocent roles.
Quite unexpectedly, the following A-list celebrities have all killed in cold blood, showing audiences a dark, sadistic and altogether more sinister side than we're used to. Did you know about their past crimes?
1. Jeremy Renner - Jeffrey Dahmer
Criminal Profile: The Avengers star is just as handy with a drill as he is a bow, as it turns out. Renner unleashed his inner psychopath to portray the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, known for his reprehensible crimes that included necrophilia, cannibalism and rape. Renner's performance was startlingly impressive...perhaps even a little too impressive for my comfort.
2. Elijah Wood - Kevin
Movie: Sin City
Criminal Profile: Sin City is a long way from Hobbiton, making Elijah's transformation from ring-bearer to cold-blooded cannibal that much more disturbing. The deeply sinister and unassuming Kevin is a nightmarishly memorable character who kills without restraint or remorse. At least until he's reduced to a bloody torso by Mickey Rourke, and finally fed to his own pet wolf. Poor little Frodo.
3. Robin Williams - Walter Finch
Movie: Insomnia (2002)
Criminal Profile: This brilliantly unexpected performance from the late Robin Williams was, in my mind, a highlight in his long and prolific career. He brought mastermind killer Walter Finch to life hauntingly well, taunting police investigators with his diabolical game of cat and mouse.
4. Christian Bale - Patrick Bateman
Movie: American Psycho
Criminal Profile: Christian Bale almost seemed born to play Bret Easton Ellis' Wall-Street-WASP-turned-sadistic-serial-killer Patrick Bateman, blending bloodthirsty rage with comedic absurdity. We would later see elements of this psychologically unhinged performance replicated in Nolan's Batman trilogy, though never has Bale killed so gleefully on screen as he did here:
5. Nicole Kidman - Suzanne Stone-Maretto
Movie: To Die For
Criminal Profile: Kidman seemed like such a sweetheart until Gus Van Sant's examination of celebrity obsession revealed a different, darker side to the talented actress. Though she might not physically kill anyone on screen, the narcissistic Suzanne's uncompromising bid for fame leads her to convincing others to do her dirty work for her. But don't worry, she gets her comeuppance in the end, meeting a delightfully ironic, icy grave.
6. Brad Pitt - Early Grayce
Criminal Profile: Perhaps the biggest murder spree of Pitt's career, Kalifornia provides plenty of opportunity to watch one of the biggest actors of our time indulge in some good old fashioned murderin'.
7. Ryan Gosling - David Marks
Movie: All Good Things
Criminal Profile: Inspired by real life murderous mogul Robert Durst, Gosling takes the role of David Marks, a man whose behavior becomes more erratic and violent as the movie goes on. After the film was released, Durst famously exposed his guilt through the documentary The Jinx, making Gosling's performance that more sinister.
8. Rosamund Pike - Amy Elliott-Dunne
Movie: Gone Girl
Criminal Profile: Manipulative, ruthless, calculating. I never knew Pike could pull off such terrific villainy, but she proved her cold-bloodedness in the movie's unforgettable climactic scene, found below.
WARNING: Not for the faint hearted!