Follying around

Actors Who Look Intimidating But Are Actually Really Nice People

The appearance of these actors gives me chills. Which actors do you think look menacing?

Martyna Janasik

21 April 2024

Actors Who Look Intimidating But Are Actually Really Nice People

In cinema, there’s a concept known as a character actor. It refers to an actor with a distinctive appearance who often plays roles with a specific personality or typical character traits of a particular social, professional, or ethnic group. It’s precisely their appearance that has placed the actors you’re about to recognize in this category. Here are actors who look menacing but are actually really nice people.

Danny Trejo

Danny Trejo is an American actor of Mexican descent. A regular in Robert Rodriguez’s films and his cousin, although they didn’t know it when they filmed Desperado. He holds a unique record – by 2020, the characters he played had been “killed” in 65 films, a record in cinematography. Due to his distinctive appearance – a menacing facial expression, numerous tattoos, and a strong build – he usually plays tough guys and villains.

In reality, Trejo is a very kind person. While preparing to write this compilation, I came across information that when the actor drives past his old neighborhood, he waves to every neighbor on the street from his car. Moreover, Trejo is very funny. Salma Hayek shared her first encounter with the actor. On The Graham Norton Show, she mentioned that when she first saw him, he stood in front of her, tore open his shirt, and showed her his tattoo of a woman on his chest, which looked exactly like Salma Hayek, and said to her, “You see, I knew you before we met. I just got out of prison, but for you, I could rob a bank again”.

Carel Struycken

Carel Struycken is an actor known worldwide for his role in The Addams Family. It was Carel Struycken who played the butler Lurch in The Addams Family. He didn’t need much makeup for his role because he really is that tall and has such distinctive facial features. It’s all due to a condition diagnosed when he was 20 years old. The actor suffers from acromegaly, which explains his towering height – standing at 7 feet tall – and the enlargement of certain facial features.

The unusual appearance of Carel Struycken, which gave me chills when I watched The Addams Family as a little girl, is far from his character. Struycken is an incredibly sensitive person and a nature and art enthusiast. In addition to acting, he also pursues photography. He runs a website dedicated to his spherical panoramas and has also co-authored a photography blog with Josh Korwin.

Michael Berryman

8½ Eight and a Half Marcello Mastroianni

Michael Berryman is another distinctive character actor. His unusual appearance has allowed him to have a career in many horror and B-movies. He first gained fame for his roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Hills Have Eyes. Berryman’s appearance is the result of craniosynostosis and ectodermal dysplasia, a rare condition characterized by the absence of sweat glands, hair, and nails. Privately, the actor is reportedly quite a good jokester.

Tilda Swinton

SUSPIRIA 2018 Tilda Swinton

The first time I saw Tilda Swinton was in The Chronicles of Narnia. She played the White Witch, who could turn everything into ice. I was in elementary school at the time. It was the first time I saw someone with such snow-white skin and such a cold expression. It frightened me, and perhaps that’s why I still associate Tilda Swinton with unease, dread, and coldness. That’s probably why I don’t like any of her movies. I can’t emotionally connect with her. Her appearance is too severe for me.

What terrifies me about Tilda Swinton, others admire. It’s her cool and enigmatic beauty that brought her immense fame and plenty of roles that – well – were enigmatic, ambiguous in nature. Tilda Swinton has been called a muse of ambiguity, a hermaphroditic talent, and even an icon of British gays. She earned such opinions equally with her appearance and androgynous posture, as well as with her consistent choice of complex roles, often transcending gender boundaries. With each subsequent interview, Tilda Swinton proves, however, that she is an oasis of calmness, warmth, humor, and also distance from herself.

Steve Buscemi

Fargo Steve Buscemi Peter Stormare

Steve Buscemi is best known for his starring role in the hit series Boardwalk Empire, where he played Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (based on the historical figure Enoch L. Johnson), a politician who controlled Atlantic City during Prohibition in the 1920s and 1930s. Many years earlier, he starred in the cult classic The Big Lebowski, but this role, like many of his other works, was overshadowed because for most of his career, he mainly played supporting characters.

Characters played by Buscemi are usually neurotics and paranoids. Associating Buscemi with people with mental disorders may stem from his large eyes and a gaze that often appears absent or lost in thought on camera. However, the tendency to cast him in such roles stems solely from his appearance and perhaps his preference for such characters. In real life, Buscemi is an incredibly warm and helpful person. This can be evidenced by his actions after the September 11 attacks in the United States. The next day, he volunteered at his old firehouse (before becoming an actor, he was a firefighter) and worked for a week at Ground Zero on twelve-hour shifts, searching for survivors. He avoided cameras and worked anonymously.

Alan Rickman

Die Hard Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman was a British film and stage actor with an incredibly deep voice. Because of this, he was a perfect fit for playing villainous characters. I like to think that’s why he got the role of Professor Snape in the iconic Harry Potter film series.

I know that both before and after his role in Harry Potter, Alan Rickman showed that he was a versatile actor, capable of evoking a wide range of positive emotions far from horror. Moreover, even when playing Professor Snape, he turned out to be someone completely different from how he was portrayed throughout the franchise. Furthermore, in his daily life, he didn’t look intimidating at all. However, for me, he will always remain an example of a perfect villain who not only looks menacing but also speaks menacingly, and you watch his every move with great attention because you never know when he’ll strike.

The genuinely kind and humorous person Alan Rickman was in real life is best demonstrated by his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. You can see it by watching the video below.

Martyna Janasik

Martyna Janasik

Cultural studies scholar and writer. Enthusiast of food, cinema, and sports. Probably that's why some of her favorite movies are "Rocky" and "Julie and Julia". She always wanted to write, so she will always write. In her free time, she loves watching movies and playing tennis.

See other posts from this author >>>