Hollywood is full of great actors, bankable stars, legends and household names, all with impressive credentials. Then there are those that seem to operate in the shadows, not really getting the recognition that they deserve, awaiting their chance to leap into the spotlight. Let’s take a look at some of the actors working in Hollywood right now, who I believe are very underrated. These are actors that are definitely not at the centre of attention, and who probably would not be among most people’s favourite actors.
The Irish-born actor Cillian Murphy, is a phenomenal actor and quite simply does not get enough credit. He has starred in a number of films over the years, in a wide range of challenging and complex roles. Murphy is a multifaceted actor as he has successfully played both villainous and heroic characters. It seems he is keen to avoid typecasting. He is mostly known for starring as the main protagonist in Danny Boyle’s zombie-thriller, 28 Days Later (2002), and for portraying the villainous Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Also, most recently he has played the lead role in BBC gangster drama, Peaky Blinders. Murphy is not afraid to undertake subversive roles that involve violence and controversy. His other high-profile roles include Inception (2010) and Red Eye (2005), where he was a joy to watch, but he has not received the attention he deserves. He seems to be a very private figure, as he actively avoids the celebrity scene. Cillian Murphy gets better every time I see him on-screen and I hope one day gets some real exposure and recognition.
Since his debut role as the titular protagonist in Billy Elliot (2000), where he first displayed his talent, Jamie Bell’s career has seen slow progress. He is very much occupying the fringes of Hollywood at the moment. He was great in King Kong (2006) and Jumper (2008), and brilliant in the British horror-thriller Retreat (2008). Why is he underrated? I believe Jamie Bell is underrated because he is clearly overlooked when it comes to lead roles. He is too frequently cast in supporting roles, but he is a good actor with great screen presence. If we are to excuse the very forgettable and poorly received, Fantastic Four (2015), Jamie Bell has been in many good films, producing great performances.
Paul Giamatti is another actor who appears in far too many supporting roles. He has had an enormous career, featuring in a number of films such as, Cinderella Man (2005), The Illusionist (2006), and Straight Outta Compton (2015). He is an extremely engaging actor and is incredibly entertaining to watch. Although he has been around for a long time, unfortunately he is one of those actors with a name most people would not recognise, but will be familiar with him on appearance. He is not a bankable Hollywood star, but with all those supporting roles, he definitely should have won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor by now.
Very much a Hollywood newcomer so there is still plenty of time for Dane DeHaan to fully establish himself. Since his breakout role in the found-footage thriller, Chronicle (2012), DeHaan has undertaken a wide range of roles. In the last few years, he has played tyrannical super-villain, Green Goblin in Marc Webb’s Spider-Man films, and excellently portrayed James Dean in Life (2015). DeHaan is clearly a diverse actor and I believe he should have received more praise for his portrayal of the Green Goblin, as he was genuinely terrifying as the menacing villain. DeHaan was unheard of before 2012, so although he is relatively new to cinema, he has already proved what a quality actor he is, and his name should be on people’s lips more often.
In his career, Paul Dano has been nominated for an overwhelming amount of awards, but hasn’t actually won many. I find this astonishing since he was incredible as John Tibeats in 12 Years A Slave (2013), but was very much overshadowed by the respective talents of Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Eijofor. Despite this, Paul Dano is still one of the most interesting and engaging actors working today. He has a very compelling and vibrant aura about him on-screen, even when he is playing nasty characters. He is clearly an actor with great range too, as he has a variety of roles under his belt, including his challenging part in Prisoners (2013). Dano has been brilliant in everything I have seen him in, but his talents seem to go unnoticed, as many people will not have even heard of him. I am sure Dano will eventually get the credit he deserves.
What do you think of the list? Are there any actors that you think are underrated?