by James Manning
I don’t fancy myself as an actor. However, there are times when I dream about tapping into my thespian roots – I was Mercutio in the 8th grade reading of Romeo and Juliet – and taking my talents to the silver screen. Over the decades of living vicariously through great characters, there are a few that if given the opportunity, I’d love to play those roles.
When I started thinking about characters I’d love to play a theme quickly emerged: I want to kick ass. Every character had a level of ruggedness and ‘take no prisoners’ mentality. This was evident when I reviewed the characters in Lord of the Ring. There was no shortage to choose from, but my first choice is an elf. They were the agilest of the fighters and the bow and arrow thing is cool.
The genres varied in my list as were the movie genres. Riddick, from a SciFi movie, would be a fun character and who wouldn’t want to play the ultimate mob man, Don Corleone? Like most men, I like to believe I can kick ass if called upon. But honestly, my fighting skills amount to a few swings, a lucky connection to someone’s jaw, and above all, avoid getting hit in the nose. I’ve had it happen and the only thing worse is a kick to the family jewels. I think fighting is best left to stunt men and MMA fighters.
But it’s ok to daydream. The following is a list of characters worth the wasted time.
Marcus Graham – Boomerang
There isn’t a shortage of playboy types in the movies. But Marcus Graham is one of my favorites. Yes, he is a male chauvinist, a fly boy, and objectifies women, but we don’t’ hate him for it. This can only happen with a well-written character. We’re not supposed to like men like this but dammit, he is my hero. Let’s not forget that he’s playing opposite of some beautiful women and zany friends. What makes Marcus Graham an appealing character is that we get to see his journey from narcissistic womanizer to grown ass man. And although that journey took him through Grace Jones and Ertha Kit, it is well worth it when waiting at the final destination is Halle Berry.
Mouse – Devil in a Blue Dress
Most of us are like Easy Rawlins: working Joe’s who are just trying to make sure we have enough money to pay the mortgage. Mouse, played by Don Cheadle, is that guy we knew from the hood that was down for anything and you were always thankful you were on his good side. For such a small role, Mouse made a big impact on the movie and his a moral disposition and the ease in which he finds killing people make him frighteningly humorous. There aren’t many supporting actors on my list, but Mouse is worthy.
Leonard – Memento
This pick has everything to do with the complexity of the story. One storyline based on a Polaroid photo happens in reverse while the other storyline has Leonard looking for his wife’s killer. The problem is that he cannot form any new memories and must write everything down before he forgets. If I were an actor, this is the type of role I’d take just to play the role.
Jason Bourne – The Bourne Identity
After I’ve been the playboy in a romantic comedy, the sadistic sidekick in a crime thriller, and ran around the city in a psychological thriller, it’s time to kick ass. Jason Bourne is a simple man: he wants to be left alone, and he will whoop your ass if you fail to do so. He can drive, ride motorcycles, survive under any conditions, is nice with his hands and can gun you down from 300 yards. That’s an everyday man for you.
James Bond – Pick a movie
Ask any woman what is the most appealing character trait in a man and most will say confidence. When you know who you are and are not afraid of anything, you exude something special that draws people to you. This is James Bond. He doesn’t question his abilities, his purpose; he doesn’t worry about what people think of him. The closets most men ever get to feeling like James Bond is when you put on a tuxedo.
James Bond is everything I love about Jason Bourne but with a high degree of class. It is difference between drinking a dirty martini in a Las Vegas nightclub talking to a stripper and drinking that same martini at a party at a mansion overlooking the Mediterranean Sea while making small talk with beautiful daughter of an oil tycoon.
The opportunity to see beautiful parts of the world, drive the most beautiful cars in the world, shag the most beautiful women in the world, and all in the process of saving the world, that is an alluring concept and it’s not as if I’d have to learn a bunch of lines.