Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GPSerious: So Much To Do, So Little Time

While listening to a podcast recently, I was actually quite shocked to learn that Anthony Hopkins was only on screen for about sixteen minutes during "Silence of the Lambs." It's pretty remarkable if you stop and think about it. In that span he was able to horrify audiences, create an icon, and nab an Oscar for best actor. Immediately I tried to think of other actors who stuck out in movies despite having a limited screen time.

Gary Oldman as Drexl "True Romance" 1993

Oldman once again proves why he's the master chameleon playing murderous pimp Drexl in this. The screen just completely turns electric whenever the guy shows up. I don't even think he has ten minutes of work here, but he owns it when the cameras are on him. You'd never believe this was the same actor playing nice guy Gordon in Nolan's bat-films. Watch his introduction here and be stunned. Samuel Jackson gets an honorable mention for being on screen for less than two minutes and quickly being gunned down.

Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan R. Jessep "A Few Good Men" 1992

Think you can handle the truth about Jack's payday for just a few good scenes? About five million smackers, an Oscar nod, and a classic line that has echoed for almost twenty years makes this one noteworthy.

William Hurt as Richie Cusack "A History of Violence" 2005

The less said about this performance the better for those who haven't seen it. I debated putting a clip on here, but it would totally spoil the film. I can say that Hurt has about ten minutes of time to play with. He was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar with just six minutes less screen time than Hopkins had when he won his lead actor award.

Marlon Brando as Jor-El "Superman: The Movie" 1978

I could have watched an entire movie with Brando's Jor-El being the main character. He made about four million bucks and was on screen for about fifteen minutes. When you have one of the greatest actors of all time as the father of the greatest Superman of all time.....it simply doesn't get any better.

So what other actors or actresses do you think stick out with minimal screen time?


  1. Great post! I totally agree with Brando in Superman: The Movie, definitely memorable. I'd add Timothy Dalton in Hot Fuzz on the top of my head. Judi Dench was memorable in Shakespeare in Love as well, hence her Oscar for only 8-min of screen time!

  2. @Ruth...oh yeah I forgot about Dalton in Hot Fuzz! Haven't seen that one in a while. I didn't know about Dench and the 8 minute Oscar. Good call!

  3. nice one... you got me thinking.

    Maybe Christopher Walken in every film he is in? He is excellent if very samey in everything!

    Great read!!

  4. How much screen time does Walken have in The Rundown? Sorry, I'm on a Rock kick...

  5. He's in the Rundown too long for consideration, but he was only in True Romance for a few minutes so that one works.

  6. Speaking of people who barely show up in The Rundown, what about Arnold in Batman & Robin? Huh? Yeah? Nobody? Ok, fuck it - at the least, it was supposed to be a role that would make this conversation...if the film weren't a piece of shit.

    Hell yes to Oldman - I've always cited his TR role as the first (and only needed) piece of evidence as to why he's one of the best actors working. How the fuck can anyone play both Drexl and Beethoven (much less a Brit, which just seems to up the ante for me)? The guy's amazing.

    Walken in both TR and Pulp are big ones.

  7. @Dylan...for sure about Oldman TR. Fucking love that guy as Drexl! Walken is pretty amazing with the watch story in Pulp as well and could have easily been on this list.