Five Actors I Want to See Get Major Roles


There’s certainly no shortage of bad actors in Hollywood, and it seems that many major roles go to actors who either “mail it in” or who the public is sick and tired of watching anyway.  I’m not saying that Ghost Rider would have been good without Nic Cage, but maybe it’s time for some lesser-known actors to get a shot at playing in some major roles.  There are five actors in particular that have been, in my opinion, pretty stellar in just about everything they’ve been in, but for the most part, they’re known individually as “that guy from show X” or “that dude who plays character Y.”  Keep reading for five actors I think should be getting (and in one case, continue to get) major roles.

1. Nathan Fillion


You may have seen him in: Firefly, Serenity, Slither, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Obscure roles: Father David (Dracula 2000)

Fillion is handsome, charming, and the type of actor who geeks love because he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously (as opposed to someone like, I don’t know, Vin Diesel).  Captain Mal Reynolds (Firefly, Serenity) is a legendary character as far as I’m concerned, and Fillion’s consistently strong and sometimes humorous performances show that he’s perfect to play a leading man in any type of action or blockbuster movie.  Fillion, to me, seems to have that “aw shucks” charisma and when push comes to shove, can play a badass with no trouble at all.  I mean, who didn’t think Fillion was perfect for that Green Lantern fan-made trailer?  Put him in some blockbusters already.

2. Zachary Quinto


You may have seen him in: 24, Heroes, Star Trek

Obscure roles: Mike (Touched by an Angel)

Known to just about everyone as Sylar – and now Spock – Quinto did a real good job with the crappy material the Heroes writers fed him week after week.  Despite his character being thrown through nonsensical arcs and flip-flopping between good and evil, Quinto managed to portray Sylar with a certain gravity that kept audiences either loving or hating him.  He got a big break playing Spock in the new Star Trek film – and rightfully so – and there’s no doubt he’ll be back for a sequel.  So, he’s gotten his major role, but I’m hoping he’ll do more than just play Spock and will be given the opportunity to play various characters in other movies that are as popular as Star Trek.

3. Ben Foster


You may have seen him in: 3:10 to Yuma, Alpha Dog, X-Men: The Last Stand

Obscure roles: Big Q (Phone Booth)

Quite simply, Foster has been good in everything I’ve seen him in.  He’s intriguing and unnerving as Charlie Prince, Ben Wade’s effeminate right-hand man/killer in 3:10 to Yuma, convincingly plays a scumbag psychopath in Alpha Dog, and manages to steal away much of 30 Days of Night despite his rather brief appearance.  Foster’s range is incredible; he is capable of playing just about any character and doing it well, too.  He might not have the looks to be a leading man, but I’d gladly see Ben Foster as a villain any day of the week.

4. Alexander Skarsgard


You may have seen him in: Generation Kill, True Blood

Obscure roles: Meekus (Zoolander)

HOW THE F*CK THIS GUY GOT PASSED OVER FOR THE ROLE OF THOR I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND.  In any event, Skarsgard has a screen presence that forces you to focus on him, often towering over the standard, 5-6″ pretty boy actors that surround him in any given scene.  Gone are Stallone and Schwarzenegger, and the new generation desperately needs a new, believable action star.  With The Rock tied up making Disney movies, may I suggest Alexander Skarsgard?  Like Ben Foster, though, Skarsgard may be better suited to playing villains.  Again, fine by me.

5. Garrett Dillahunt


You may have seen him in: Deadwood, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Obscure roles: Jesus Christ (The Book of Daniel)

I first saw Dillahunt as a dim deputy in No Country For Old Men, so when I saw him play a cold, emotionless Terminator in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I could hardly believe it was the same actor.  Even more impressive, Dillahunt’s role changed about halfway through the show; his Terminator chip replaced with a learning A.I., Dillahunt transformed into the childlike John Henry.  Simply put, Dillahunt is a tremendous actor and can believably play just about any role – human or otherwise.  He’s got a role in the upcoming movie The Road, but as he’s listed as “Gang Member,” I suspect it won’t be the type of major role I wish he’d land.

Any actors out there you feel should be given the chance to play some major roles?  Someone out there you think needs more exposure?  Let me know in the comments section.

  • Cheryl

    Can I vote for Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl? I know he’s had a few very small roles but nothing major yet. He has the awesome British accent yet he pulls off a very convincing American accent too (anytime he’s getting interviewed outside of the UK you get the standard “I didn’t know you were Brittish!”comment).

  • Lyre

    Don’t forget that Garrett Dillahunt played both Jack McCall AND Francis Wolcott in Deadwood. Something that, most people didn’t even realize… he’s THAT good.

  • Laura

    I’m gonna go with Lee Pace. He was on Pushing Daisies, which I loved (and sad it got cancelled). There is a quirky charm about him that you just love. I recently saw Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which he was in, and it was lovely. Very witty and just a charming movie. But he really hasn’t had a great, major role. He definitely has the looks of a leading guy, but he just needs that big role.

    I completely agree with Nathan Fillion. Dr. Horrible’s was awesome, and he killed in it.

  • Korinthian


    Another guy I wouldn’t mind seeing more of is that fellow that played the young voyuer with Jehova’s Witness parents in “Lie to me”. (I think it was the first episode)

    His confession scene is one of the best pieces of acting I’ve seen in ages.

    And I don’t even know his name.

  • Josh

    Ben Foster has a big role coming up. Starring alongside Dennis Quaid in Pandorum. Yes, Quaid is a big name actor but I get the feeling that Foster will end up starring in the film moreso than Quaid.

  • Arina

    Totally agree about Alex Skarsgard. But not necessarily as an action star. He fortunately inherited loads of talent from his equally wonderful father, Stellan, and he can pull off about anything. I’ve seen him do some really good, more character oriented roles or even comedy in Swedish movies. I also could not believe that Branagh was not inspired enough to choose him for Thor (let’s just see how that works out…). But I’m glad that Alan Ball had enough sense (then again he would since he’s done such awesome things as 6 Feet Under and American Beauty) to notice Alex’s potential and give his character, Eric, more attention in the upcoming True Blood season. Alex definitely has what it takes to make it big time, both in talent and in looks, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before that happens. He has already been huge in Sweden for about a decade now and has ensured himself an army of international fans recently, due to playing Eric Northman, so directors and producers will surely take notice of that soon enough. Go Alex! :p (as you might have been able to tell I’m a huge fan…)

  • Dude, Fillion has a leading role right now on ABC’s monday night show Castle. And everything you’ve said rings true in this show. Whether or not it renews I still haven’t heard.

  • Steve

    Enver Gjokaj, Victor from Dollhouse. He was, and hopefully will remain, one of the best parts about that show. When they put Dominick in his body, he channeled that guy so well it was scary. One of the best actors I’ve ever seen.

  • G


    Yeah, Castle has been renewed for next season, which can only be a good thing – it’s a decent show and a good showcase for Fillion.

  • orlisnjangel

    thank you so much for recognizing Alexander Skarsgard.. He is AMAZING in TrueBlood and Generation Kill and freaking HILARIOUS in the 2 seconds he’s in Zoolander..and I am pissed he’s not going to be Thor…I don’t get why..It doesn’t make any sense..

  • Molly

    Garret Dillahunt (one “t” in his first name) is truly amazing, and I’m glad you included him here. He is one of the most versatile actors to come along in a while. Him and Michael Shannon are two of my faves these days, and I pin a lot of hope on them for the future of film. As for the ROAD…even Viggo plays “the man”, and Duvall plays “the old man”…I think all but Viggo and the kid will have tiny roles. More kudos deserved for taking roles in interesting projects, regardless of size. (Have you seen JESSE JAMES? His scene with Pitt midway through was one of the finest pieces of acting I’ve seen on film).

  • Ben

    Dillahunt was also great as a Russian mobster in the TV show “Life.”

  • jmg134

    Missy Peregrym from Reaper. She could be the next Jessica Biel or one of those tv starlets who made the transition to movies. From a gay man’s POV, I think she is sexy, beautiful, funny, charming, and a really good actress. Would like to see her in more adult type roles instead of still playing the teen or young adult.

  • Clint

    No you cannot request anyone from Gossip Girl.
    Yes Alexander Skarsgard should be Thor it makes no sense why he isn’t.
    Thanks for this.

  • mynameisBatman

    Cillian Murphy who plays the corrupt Psychiatrist in “Batman begins” plays his part really great, perhaps even more convenient than Bale his one.

  • mynameisBatman

    You know the new “Battlestar Galactica”, dont you? ———-SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!——-
    Well, I really like the actors that play

    1.head of the machinist crew (the fatter one) is extremely impressive and sympatical in his acting and definetly owns a major role.
    He reminds me of Tom Hanks.

    2.the president´s secretary who turns out to be a cylon (middle east or greek look) acts fantastic!!!
    And she´s cute.

    3.the woman cylon who activates the nuclear inferno. fantasic acting.
    Its REALLY impressive how she fits into the VERY different characters of the cylons of “her” model. She´s good, really good.

    4.the male french or spanish looking officer who´s with the head of the galactica crew, later loses his leg and becomes a rebel. Really good and charismatic actor.
    He could play a young Napoleon quite good i think.

    5.Adama. Charismatic and realistic.

    6. the scientist who is with the cylons – excellent.

    7.the “man of the church” who turns out to be an important cylon.
    He would fit GREAT in “badass” or horror roles.
    One of the best actings in the series.
    There could be more examples.
    I think BSG is one the best acted of all series ever shown.
    It´s sad that it´s over now. One one hand, we are happy that the story ends good, on the other hand we miss the atmosphere, the phantastic music(!), and the excellent acting.
    R.I.P. BSG ;(

  • Erik

    Never seen True Blood, but I definitely agree with the rest of these guys: great actors even with bad material.

  • Ash

    Cillian Murphy is an excellent actor who just needs a big break out role to really put him out there.

    First time I saw Garret Dillahunt was as the evil Russian mobster Roman Nabakov in life and I’ve loved him every since. He often has small parts in tv shows, usually as a bad guy, like the paralyzed doctor in the final of season 4 of Criminal Minds.

    Enver Gjokaj was one of the best things about Dollhouse, he mastered whatever was thrown at him.

    Another underrated actor is Damian Lewis from Band of Brothers and Life.

  • Jessica

    Some one I think should get more roles is Jake Gjllenhaal. Everything I’ve seen him in is really good and a bonus is… HE’S HOT!

  • Ethan

    Another thing to mention about Ben Foster is one of his earlier roles as Eli, a mentally challenged kid who was in a handful of episodes of Freaks and Geeks. Yeah. From nice, smiling retarded kid to Charlie Prince, one of the best characters I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. Damn, that’s acting