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Why Woody Harrelson is the perfect villain in War of the Planet of the Apes


Multi-talented Woody Harrelson excels in all kinds of roles, from comedy to straight drama. But it's his unhinged and intense bad guys that concern us here, as we look forward to him eating up the scenery of War for the Planet of the Apes.

Natural Born Killers

Oliver Stone’s hugely controversial, visually dazzling satire on the American media’s penchant for assimilating violence and regurgitating it as entertainment would be nothing without Harrelson's fearless performance as perversely charismatic, shaven-headed Mickey Knox – one half of a pair of lovers with a penchant for cross-country serial slaughter.

"At birth, I was cast into a flaming pit of scum, forgotten by god," he remarks. He ain't kidding.


Has there ever been a badder, more out-of-control screen cop than Harrelson's arrogant, amoral 'Date Rape' Dave Brown?

So nicknamed because he once dealt summary justice to a serial rapist, boozing, shagging, chain-smoking, drug-guzzling, rule-trashing Officer Date Rape is racist (though, like most racists, he insists that "I hate all people equally"), misogynist and considers his beat a "military occupation".

Not unnaturally, his horrified superiors want rid of this swaggering PR disaster, but Date Rape ain't going without a fight.

Out of the Furnace

This is a film that opens with Woody Harrelson shoving a hot dog down the throat of a woman at a drive-in cinema. He doesn't get any nicer.

Harrelson's irredeemable, in-bred, backwoods character Harlan DeGroat is a chillingly sociopathic drug dealer and bare-knuckle fight organiser who revels in his cruelty and is feared by just about everyone.

To make matters worse, his outbursts of violence are served up with dark humour and an evil grin. You really wouldn't want to meet him in real life.


Yes, okay, so it's a comedy, but Harrelson still delivers intensity in spades as trigger-happy, cowboy-hatted, Twinkie-loving, zombie-slaying redneck good ol' boy Tallahassee.

You almost feel sorry for those unfortunate members of the undead community. "You got a purdy mouth!" he tells one rather corpulent walking corpse before taking him out with... a banjo.

Seven Psychopaths

Martin McDonagh's blackly comic follow-up to his Oscar-nominated In Bruges bristles with off-the-leash performances, but Harrelson's fearsome mob boss Charlie Costello (psychopath number three, if you're counting) is surely the most chilling.

Charlie's one weakness is for his beloved shih tzu, Bonnie. So when the pooch is kidnapped, his goons are instructed to stop at nothing to get her back.

How badass is he? Put it this way: he doesn't even bother to take a gun to the final shootout.

You can see Woody in his one of his most villainous roles yet in War of the Planet of the Apes, currently screening at Cineworld.

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