The Evolution Of John Malkovich
Places In The Heart (1984)
The Film: Malkovich’s first film role worthy of note got him an Oscar nod, and its star, Sally Field, won the award for Best Actress.
It told the story of a widow (Field) who tries to keep her farm running after her husband’s death.
The Role: Mr Will was blinded in the first world war, though he manages to help poor old Sally keep her farm.
She really needs the help, too, so it’s jolly nice of him.
The Creepy: His ’30s get up, bow-tie and hairline make him seem a little bit like a clown. A clown with John Malkovich’s voice.
That’s pretty creepy.
The Glass Menagerie (1987)
The Film: Directed by Paul Newman, 1987's The Glass Menagerie was an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play.
Years ago, Tom (Malkovich) walked out on his sister and his mother after one too many spats. And he's here to tell the tale. It's mighty melancholy.
The Role: Tom gives an account of his family life - back in the day when his delusional mother was desperate to find the perfect husband for her shy, disabled daughter. And all she wants to do is play with her little glass animals. Back off, mum!
The Creepy: Tom spends a fair bit of time skulking around an abandoned apartment block. It's an unnerving image.
Empire Of The Sun (1987)
The Film: The most celebrated performance in Empire Of The Sun is undoubtedly that of twelve-year-old Christian Bale.
What about Ben Stiller, eh?! He's in it too. He's got lines, and he's all serious. Well done, Ben!
The Role: When Jamie (Bale) is separated from his parents and whisked off to a Japanese POW camp, Malkovich's Basie befriends him. He is a bit of a rogue, though, and teaches Jamie how to be a proper little artful dodger. It's sweet, in a way.
The Creepy: He's a bit too cool to be creepy - however, he does send a child through the barbed-wire fence to test for mines.
It may not be creepy, but it sure is cold.
Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
The Film: In Rococo France, a bunch of toffs are bored with the banality of aristocratic life: endless bottles of wine and trays of pastries.
The Marquise (Glenn Close) and the Vicomte (Malkovich) embark upon a game of seduction and deception, which is far more exciting than wasting their lives in a foie-gras and Beaujolais-induced stupor.
The Role: The Vicomte de Valmont is the ex-lover of the Marquise, and it's said that, "what is true of most men is doubly so of him".
We think it's meant as an insult.
The Creepy: This man is a predator .
Of Mice And Men (1992)
The Film: If you never studied it at school, here's the gist: George (Gary Sinise) and Lenny (Malkovich) are best buds. They're after work so that they can pursue their dream - to settle down on their own piece of land.
The Role: Lovely lumbering Lenny isn't as smart as his companion - he has quite a limited mental capacity.
He loves stroking soft things, although he is immensely strong, and often ends up crushing things which are too delicate. And when this happens, it ain't pretty.
The Creepy: We don't find Lenny creepy. Not a jot. Though we're not sure if we'd let him stroke our hair.
In The Line Of Fire (1993)
The Film: Frank (Clint Eastwood), who was in the Secret Service when Kennedy was assassinated, is understandably super-protective of the current president.
He's got a job on his hands, in the form of psychotic assassin Mitch Leary (Malkovich).
The Role: Mitch is not a nice man. He used to be a CIA assassin, so he's pretty darn good at shooting people.
The Creepy: Oh dear Lord, look at how creepy. That face is the thing of nightmares.
His quiet, measured voice haunts Eastwood's Frank throughout the movie. This man is messed up.
Mary Reilly (1996)
The Film: Mary Reilly saw the reunion of the old Dangerous Liaisons team (Malkovich, Glenn Close, Stephen Frears and screenwriter Christopher Hampton).
It's like Julia Jekyll And Harriet Hyde , except a bit scarier. A bit .
Julia Roberts stars as the eponymous Mary, the lonely yet devoted housekeeper of Dr. Jekyll (Malkovich). They become very fond of each other, though, of course, things turn ugly - really ugly - when Mr. Hyde turns up...
The Role: Jekyll's just a harmless old scientist who gets a bit carried away and ends up with the mother of all split personality disorders.
The Creepy: He's a mad Victorian scientist. It doesn't get a lot creepier than that.
Con Air (1997)
The Film: As a big-budget blockbuster released in 1997, poor Con Air was always doomed to trail in Titanic 's wake.
An impressive cast list and some Jerry Bruckheimer production magic meant it didn't completely nose-dive.
Plus, it had LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live" to keep it buoyant. Nice.
The Role: Malkovich plays Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom, who leads the prisoners to an uprising whilst in transit on the plane.
The Creepy: He's a murderer, and he's a crafty bugger. A real creep.
The Man In The Iron Mask (1998)
The Film: The film to succeed Titanic' s box-office topspot happened to be another Leonardo DiCaprio film.
During the reign of King Louis XIV of France (DiCaprio), it is discovered that he has a twin brother (also DiCaprio), whom he keeps imprisoned.
This is handy, because everybody hates Louis, and they could do with a replacement.
The Role: Malkovich is Athos, one of the three retired Musketeers (yeah, they're there too. There are a good few stories schmooshed together).
The Creepy: Surprisingly not so. He's a good guy. Huh .
Being John Malkovich (1999)
The Film: Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's brains fused into one big, confusing yet delightful super-brain to create Being John Malkovich .
It's a film with a bizarre existential premise: John Cusack and Cameron Diaz explore a portal into the mind of the actor, John Malkovich.
We would have done anything to be there at Kaufman's pitch.
The Role: Well, John Malkovich plays John Malkovich. They would have been screwed if he'd fallen ill and they'd had to get a replacement. Nicolas Cage plays John Malkovich? Tom Cruise? Nah .
The Creepy: Perhaps surprisingly, this is one of Malk's creepiest and least likable characters. We're sure he's not like that in real life...
The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc (1999)
The Film: He gets some pretty natty hairstyles, doesn't he.
The Messenger saw Milla Jokovich don some armour and take on the eeevil English.
It may not have been totally historically accurate, but it featured lots of cool people (including Dustin Hoffman, and Vincent Cassel) with funny hair. We think they all used the same pudding-bowl.
The Role: Malkovich is King Charles VII of France, who uses Joan to raise public morale and win battles.
The Creepy: It's difficult to be too creeped out by someone who looks that daft.
Shadow Of The Vampire (2000)
The Film: During the filming of Nosferatu , the crew begin to suspect that the unknown actor, Max Schreck, might not be all he seems.
If he really is an actor, then he's a bloody good one.
In one of Willem Dafoe's most celebrated performances, he scares the living crap out of everyone on set.
The Role: Malkovich is director F.W.Murnau, who makes a sinister deal with Schreck to convince the 'actor' to star in his movie.
The Creepy: Malkovich's natural creepy is somewhat overshadowed by Dafoe's all-consuming creepy.
Ripley's Game (2002)
The Film: Years and years have passed, and talented con-artist Tom Ripley's still wandering around Europe and doing unspeakable things.
This time, the unspeakable things involve art scams and murders. He really is a naughty man.
Luckily, all the unspeakable things are done against the stunning backdrops of Berlin and Italy.
The Role: Is it just us, or does Malkovich really look like he could be an older Matt Damon? No? Just us then.
The Creepy: "Older. Wiser. More Talented" was the tagline. We would have accepted, "weirder", "creepier" or "lechier".
The Libertine (2004)
The Film: The Earl of Rochester really was a rogue.
He wrote some stonking good poetry, though most of it included lots of f-words and c-words. It's really quite rude.
The Libertine is a glimpse at Rochester's life, his misogynous ways and naughty romps with various women (and possibly men).
The Role: Malkovich is King Charles II. He summons Rochester to write for him, though, understandably, he doesn't trust the scamp as far as he can throw him.
The Creepy: Charles II wasn't the most likable character. This doesn't help Malkovich's case.
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (2005)
The Film: Douglas Adams' well-loved book was brought to the screen in 2005 by Garth Jennings - a director better known for his work on Britpop music videos.
It tells the tale of Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), a reluctant anti-hero who is caught up in an adventure when his house, then his home planet, are demolished. Talk about a rough day.
The Role: Malkovich is Humma Kaluva. He's a politician. Oh dear.
The Creepy: When he gets up from the table, it emerges that he's just a head and torso, with lots of little spindly mechanical legs. Spider Malkovich = Creepiest Malkovich ever .
The Film: Austrian painter Gustav Klimt caused quite a stir around the turn of the 20th century.
His paintings often depicted female subjects, often in flagrantly erotic poses (seriously, some of his sketches are pornographic. It's brilliant).
Klimt provides a glimpse into the artist's arrival on the art nouveau scene, and all the scandals that arose.
The Role: Klimt is quite an intense guy. And he does love his ladies.
The Creepy: Not so creepy. The beard makes him look a bit like a friendly old art teacher.
The Film: Eragon is an adaptation of a novel by Christopher Paolini.
Hats off to him, he was only a teenager when he penned the book. The movie was pretty dire, though.
It's all about a boy who finds a dragon egg, and he rides the dragon, and there's an evil king, and a battle... you've heard it all before. Just imagine a watered-down Star Wars / LOTR mesh.
The Role: Malkovich is Galbatorix, the evil king in question. He struts around barking evil orders.
The Creepy: He's over-the-top creepy. Pantomime creepy. Fingernails and everything.
The Film: Beowulf is Malkovich's second fantasy adventure in as many years. Fortunately, this one's got a bit more meat to it. Only a bit, though.
Ray Winstone plays the eponymous Old-English hero, and the whole film is finished with a motion-capture effect. It looks cool, and it must have saved them hours in hair and make-up.
The Role: Unferth is a miserable old codger. He's sceptical of Beowulf's abilities. Unferth, prepare to eat humble pie!
The Creepy: He really does look quite ill. It's less creepy, more concerning .
The Film: Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) has lost her son.
Luckily for her, he is found alive after a few months...
...Except that the boy they find isn't actually her son at all.
Set in 1920s LA, Changeling is directed by Clint Eastwood and based on a true story. It's rather chilling.
The Role: Reverend Gustav Briegleb is on Christine's side. He aims to expose the LAPD for their failures and cover-ups. Go Rev!
The Creepy: We're too busy rooting for him to notice the creepiness.
Burn After Reading (2008)
The Film: Joel and Ethan Coen's black comedy starred a host of impressive actors - notably George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton.
It provided a little light relief from their previous heavyweight venture No Country For Old Men . Not as many people die in Burn After Reading .
The Role: Osborne Cox has a drinking problem. He's demoted and decides to resign from his position in the CIA. When his memoirs go missing, a whole world of complications arise.
The Creepy: Not even an effing trace of creepy. He's too busy effing and blinding to be effing creepy.
The Film: Although it premiered fifteen months ago at the Toronto Film Festival, Disgrace has only just reached the UK, where it's coming out this Friday.
When a South African professor is forced to resign after conducting an affair with a student, he goes to live with his estranged daughter in the South African countryside.
Here, he experiences the harsh and unjust reality of a country ravaged by racial tension. It's strong stuff.
The Role: Malkovich is dead serious as David Lurie, who leaves Cape Town to stay with his daughter. He finds himself helpless when they are victims of a viscious attack. It's not for the faint-hearted.
The Creepy: Any Malkovich creepiness is quickly subdued by fierce drama. Cracking.