Whether you grew up watching him in Hackers or in Scooby-Doo, actor Matthew Lillard has shown throughout his career that he has incredible range and performs well in all of his roles. But the unfortunate part is that not enough people truly appreciate his skills and his filmography. So, let's take a step back through time and re-visit his four greatest roles from both TV and film.
(And, yes, it is ranked in order of best to fourth best)
1. Shaggy Rogers in Scooby-Doo (2002-Present)
Of all the actors cast in the first live-action adaptation of the classic crime-fighting cartoon, Matthew Lillard's casting as the always scared and always hungry Shaggy was perfection. He brought the right amount of fear and absurdity to the role, and even got the look and voice down perfectly, reportedly having screamed in his trailer everyday before filming the first film.
Even as the second movie and subsequent cartoon shows and specials rolled out, Lillard still proved himself to be the worthy successor to legend Casey Kasem, and will keep the character of Shaggy alive until the next worthy performer comes along (even though no one could be a real-life Shaggy like Lillard).
2. Stevo in SLC Punk (1998)
The film followed the lead character, Stevo, as him and his friend, Heroin Bob, live in Salt Lake City, Utah. The two are the only really dedicated punk fans in the very conservative city, and the movie chronicles the struggles of being such.
The movie is incredible (one of my favorites), but Lillard's performance as the star of the film is what truly sets it apart. For most of the story, he shows true devotion to the punk movement, as he narrates his favorite parts about it by breaking the fourth wall while quickly turning and talking to a neighboring character. But as events transpire and questions are raised in his head, he does a phenomenal job of being a confused devotee.
The movie transitions from punk propaganda to a coming-of-age story with skill, and Lillard does so just the same, delivering his second most memorable performance of his career.
3. Stu Macher in Scream (1996)
Everything about Wes Craven's slasher revival was phenomenal, and Matthew Lillard's performance as best friend/co-serial killer added to its excellence.Stu acts as the great comedic relief to the real dramatic moments, but when the time comes for the big reveal, he plays it to perfection. Lillard acts the part of a psychopath perfectly, even being a funny psychopath at times.
But with all of the murdering happening around him, much of which he caused, Stu makes hilarious jokes, puts on the perfect show of just another potential victim, and it's all thanks to the fine performance from Lillard.
4. Daniel Frye in The Bridge (2013-2014)
When The Bridge first premiered on FX, it took both critics and audiences by surprise thanks to its culturally sensitive themes and characters, but one of the strongest and saddest characters to watch was journalist Daniel Frye, one of Lillard's best performances thanks to its change in type of performance.
Lillard is an actor known for his comedic timing and acting, but in much of the short-lived television drama, he shows a lot of strength in a more serious role. As the show progressed, his character struggled with addiction to both alcohol and narcotics, and the actor portrayed the role with the greatest of skill.
His range truly showed in the series, as his struggle with his addiction and the alienation that came with his investigation into the cartel activity and trafficking occurring around him, resulting in one of his most solid roles in his career.