Hollywood loves a nasty Brit. For some reason, we’re the go-to race for cold-hearted, intellectually superior bad guys, and Radio 5 Live's Wittertainment favourite Jason Isaacs is always at the top of that Brit list.
“They're the best parts,” he said last year, about his love of playing villains. “They're fun, juicy. They're often the driving engine of the narrative.”
So, as Isaacs’ new film, The Death of Stalin, is released, we’ve decided to look back at some of his greatest big screen baddies...
Lucius Malfoy, Harry Potter
We were introduced to Lucius Malfoy’s son first, and thought he was an evil little squirt. But then after we met his father, somehow Draco didn’t seem so scary.
Yes, Lucius is one of the Harry Potter franchise's most soul-chilling presences. A man of power and influence in the wizarding world, he's a muggle-hating pure-blood and a loyal disciple of you-know-who.
Isaacs is fabulously scary in the role of the blond-locked Death Eater, even making us feel sorry for him during the character's fall from grace in The Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Captain Hook, Peter Pan
There have been many big screen Captain Hooks – Dustin Hoffman, Garrett Hedlund, Tim Potter, not to mention the voice of Hans Conried – but our favourite remains Jason Isaacs’ deliciously evil take on Peter Pan’s aaar-ing archenemy.
Striking just the right tonal note (not too campy, not too straight), Isaacs is one of the highlights of this critically acclaimed version of JM Barrie’s timeless classic.
Colonel William Tavington, The Patriot
Isaacs' sneeringly sadistic baddie, Colonel William Tavington, is one of the highlights of this typically over-the-top American Civil War drama from Independence Day’s Roland Emmerich, starring Mel Gibson as a man fighting for freedom.
Every British bad guy cliche is brought into play in this one, so much so that even Brits watching it walked away at the end thinking, “God, we’re a horrible bunch, aren’t we?”
Dr Heinreich Volmer, A Cure for Wellness
Gore Verbinski’s visually intoxicating thriller stars Dane DeHaan as ambitious young executive sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness centre" who soon begins to suspect that the spa's treatments are not what they seem.
We can’t say too much about this movie for fear of spoiling it, but we can say that Isaacs’ character starts off charming and smiley before revealing his true nature...
Lex Luthor, Justice League: Gods and Monsters
Isaacs provided the voice for Superman’s follically challenged arch-nemesis in this animated movie based on DC Comics’ cult comic book.
He’s predictably great in it, capturing Lex’s intellectual brilliance as well as his megalomania, and we’d love to see what he’d do with the role if he was cast in a live-action version. The campaign starts now…!
Fancy some big screen Jason Isaacs action? Then get yourself a ticket for Armando Iannucci’s hysterically funny new comedy, The Death of Stalin, where Isaacs plays the head of the Red Army, Georgy Zhukov. It opens this Friday..