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30 Awesome Actors Who Deserve Biopics

Gary Busey

The Actor: From the “serious acting” in The Buddy Holly Story that earned him an Oscar nomination, the action chops displayed in box-office hits like Lethal Weapon and Point Break , all the way through to the delirium of The Gingerdead Man , Busey has done it all. Who wouldn’t want to watch his biopic?

Their Amazing Life: Busey’s life story assumes the classic rise-and-fall arc needed for a good biopic, from his early career as a drummer to his ubiquity as an action star throughout the '80s and '90s. His near-fatal motorcycle accident and subsequent brain damage would supply the pathos, as would his well-documented problems with drugs and alcohol.

Key Scene:
Any one of Busey’s famously wrong-footing interviews would be great. Perhaps this account of his recovery from the aforementioned motorcycle wipeout given to People magazine could be dramatized: “I was sitting in bed,” he begins, “and saw the Grim Reaper standing in the corner. He was seven feet tall, with a brown robe. He pointed to me and said, 'Relax, it's not your time to go. You have been given gifts. These gifts are ready to be received by mankind.’” Amen brother.

Marilyn Monroe

The Actor: Despite reportedly being a royal pain in the arse on set, Monroe would prove to be one of the most enduring icons in Hollywood history, thanks in no small part to her billowing dress in The Seven Year Itch . Together with her winsome turn in comedy classic Some Like It Hot , a true Hollywood legend was formed.

Their Amazing Life:
It’s an unfathomably glamorous tale, from the early disappointment of a young Norma Jean being told by modelling agents that she should consider becoming a secretary, to the tempestuous love life that eventually saw her on the arm of John F. Kennedy. Unsurprisingly, not one but two Monroe biopics are in the pipeline, with both Naomi Watts and Michelle Williams in line to play the star.

Key Scene:
The recently revealed scandal that saw her fall pregnant to Some Like It Hot co-star Tony Curtis, whilst the latter was still married to Janet Leigh. Juicy stuff…

Kurt Russell

The Actor: Bone-hard action man Kurt was one of the biggest action-movie draws of the ‘80s and ‘90s in man-flick classics like Tango & Cash and Escape From LA. And if his recent turn in Death Proof is anything to go by, he’s still a force to be reckoned with…

Their Amazing Life: As well as kicking ass on-screen, Kurt has enjoyed a number of macho side-projects to boot. There was his Minor League Baseball career, which saw him record a very respectable batting average of .586 before eventually turning to acting. And then there was a burgeoning interest in racing as a youngster, with Russell revealing he won a world championship during publicity for Death Proof .

“Driving fast and spinning cars,” he smirks, discussing his willingness to perform his own stunts, “I never considered that stuff stunt-work. I consider that driving. You’re bumpin’, you’re grindin’, you’re slammin’. It’s only a stunt when you crash!” This man needs a movie made about him immediately.

Key Scene: The legendary moment featuring Walt Disney on his death bed. Reportedly, the Mouse House honcho wrote Russell’s name on a piece of paper just before he died…

Mickey Rourke

The Actor: Former heartthrob turned Hollywood survivor, Rourke’s triumphant performance in The Wrestler marked the conclusion of a story arc as satisfying as any of his on-screen characters.

Their Amazing Life:
The Wrestler is akin to a Rourke biopic in all but name in the sense that Mickey plays a fading great dragging himself back from the depths for one last crack at glory. Having trained as a boxer in his teens, the decision to step away from acting and re-enter the ring is one that would make for a great narrative twist, with his eventual rehabilitation and eventual recognition from the Academy (well, a nomination at least) supplying the requisite happy ending.

Key Scene: A false dawn in which Rourke is offered the role of Butch Coolidge in Pulp Fiction , only to turn it down. Error.

Clint Eastwood

The Actor: The man with the face of granite, Clint has snarled his way through more Westerns and cop dramas than you could shake a fist at. Sadly, he’s hung up the scowl for good now, but after appearing in movies for more than fifty years, we suppose he probably deserves a break.

Their Amazing Life: Perhaps unsurprisingly for a man with such a badass reputation, Clint spent time in the military having been drafted as a twenty-year-old in 1950 during the Korean War. In addition to that, there’s his political career to consider, with Clint having served as mayor for his home town in California. And then there’s his other job as a blues pianist, if proof were needed that he’s not all about the scrapping and snarling.

Key Scene:
Whilst on military leave in 1951, Clint was a passenger aboard a Douglas bomber that crashed into the ocean having run out of fuel. Unfazed, Clint escaped from the stricken aircraft and swam the three miles back to shore!

Dennis Farina

The Actor: Usually found playing mobsters or cops, Dennis Farina is the sort of reliable, charismatic screen presence who never seems to get the recognition his performances deserve. A quick biopic would change that…

Their Amazing Life: Before becoming an actor, Farina spent nearly twenty years as an officer in the Chicago Police Department between 1967 and 1985. Farina’s day-job saw him working the burglary division, but there are other notable incidents worthy of the big screen, notably the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention, where Farina was one of the cops on duty. It’s a fascinating story, fleshing out the background of one of Hollywood’s finest character actors.

Key Scene:
The embarrassing episode in which Farina himself was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon through security at LAX. Farina claimed it was an honest mistake and the case was eventually dropped.

Brian Blessed

The Actor: Professional bellower Blessed may be something of a pantomime turn these days, but lest we forget, he is also a classically trained thesp. That said, he’ll always be Prince Vultan to us…

Their Amazing Life: When he’s not deafening co-stars with his booming voice, Blessed spends his days dashing up and down mountains, having scaled Mont Blanc when he was just seventeen! Since then he’s had three cracks at Everest, sadly without ever reaching the summit. Still, he got 28,000 feet up at the age of fifty five, and he wasn’t even using oxygen! The man is no slouch…

Key Scene:
The triumphant moment when Blessed reaches the magnetic north pole, making him the oldest man ever to achieve the feat. Get in!

Dolph Lundgren

The Actor: Famed for playing the unsmiling Soviet brute who killed poor Apollo Creed, Swedish star Dolph Lundgren was another man of action to tap into the craze for pec-pics in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Currently enjoying a revival alongside Sly, Jet and the rest of his Expendables buddies.

Their Amazing Life: Prior to his Hollywood adventure, Lundgren was a real-life badass having achieved the status of blackbelt in the Kyokushin variant of karate, and going on to win the European Championships in 1980 and 1981. As if that wasn’t intimidating enough, he also served in an elite unit of the Swedish armed forces, as a cross between a ranger and a marine. Oh, and he’s got a master’s degree in chemical engineering. Beat that!

Key Scene:
A boozey night out with the rest of the Expendables cast, culminating in a furious bar-room brawl. We’re making this up you understand, but we’d love to see it happen!

Danny Trejo

The Actor: The Mexican heavy in every contemporary crime film from Runaway Train onwards, Danny Trejo finally bagged himself a starring role in last year’s Machete where he played, er, a Mexican heavy.

Their Amazing Life:
Having grown up in a rough part of LA, Trejo found himself in and out of jail throughout his younger years. However, it was his time in the clink that would eventually help him bag his big break in the movie business. Having bagged himself a part as an extra on Runaway Train , he bumped into screenwriter Eddie Bunker with whom he had done time in San Quentin prison. Remembering that Trejo was handy with his fists, Bunker got him to give star Eric Roberts boxing training, and was so pleased with the results that he wrote him a major part in the movie! So it turns out crime does pay after all.

Key Scene: The tearful Hallmark moment when Robert Rodriguez and Trejo realise that they are second cousins. The two were long oblivious of their family connection until working together on Desperado !

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Actor: The Austrian Oak has killed more on-screen bad-guys than we’ve had hot dinners, and with another Terminator sequel being mooted, the toll could be set to rise even higher. Provided his personal life doesn’t derail his acting return for too long, that is…

Their Amazing Life:
Schwarzenegger’s acting career was always a fairly improbable story, and even in an age when every other pro-wrestler is turning their hand to movies, the idea of a bodybuilder becoming the world’s biggest star still carries a certain magic. And that’s without even toughing on the wholly bizarre sequence of events that saw him elected Governer Of California…

Key Scene:
“Milk is for babies!” To this day it remains our favourite ever Arnie line!

George is GR's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it.