One thing I often think about is which actors I would choose to fill in for various members of my family. For example, Judi Dench would make an excellent grandmother. Who would make a delightful foil to my sassy british grandma? An even sassier British pop pop: Bill Nighy.
It’s been a very Nighy few weeks for me, too. I fell in love with his portrayal of the cool as a cucumber Quentin in The Boat That Rocked/Pirate Radio. Johnny Depp was People Magazine‘s sexiest man alive this year and popped up in Entertainment Weekly’s Best of the Decade issue, both pubs clearly calling on the iconic Captain Jack/Pirates of the Carribbean franchise (of which the final two were anchored-no pun intended-by the tentacle-laden punum of one William Nighy). I also got to expose someone to Shaun of the Dead and Nighy’s fabulous role as the stern stepfather/zombie, Philip. Just last night I watched Valkyrie for the first time and–after recovering from the shock of the entire United Kingdom being cast in it–was quite taken with Nighy’s turn as the indecisive, rather timid General Olbricht. It’s not a role you usually see the saucy gent playing, and it made his ultimate fate all the more touching at the close of the film.
It got me thinking, with the exception of G-Force (what I can only assume was a paycheck pony), I have yet to dislike anything Nighy–the man can turn a phrase. Here are some of my favorite iterations of the coolest, gauntest, subtlest actor around:
1. Billy Mack, Love Actually
You really don’t get better than a carousing pop star elbowing his way back into the popular arena. Plus, who didn’t “aww” when he ditched Sir Elton to hang out with his pudgy manager, Joe?
“I left Elton’s, where there were a hefty number of half-naked chicks with their mouths open, in order to hang out with you, at Christmas. It’s a terrible, terrible mistake, Chubs, but you turn out to be the fucking love of my life. And to be honest, despite all my complaining, we have had a wonderful life. Let’s get pissed and watch porn!”
2. Whitey, Flushed Away
A-dor-able! This bulky lab rat turned enforcer more than makes up for his dim wits with his…dim wits. You gots to love a bumbling hitmouse, er rat! Plus, it’s fun to say ‘Whitey.’
“I believe he said his name was Millicent Bystander.”
3. Lawrence, The Girl in the Cafe
Eventhough this list is in no particular order, I must say that this is my all time favorite Nighy to date. It’s similar to Lost in Translation in a lot of ways–a sophisticated manic pixie dream girl for the 50+. Bonus: Gina is one of the coolest chicks around.
“Don’t think because I’m not saying much that I wouldn’t like to say a lot.”
4. Davy Jones, Pirates of the Carribbean (Dead Man’s Chest & At World’s End)
Would you like to hear the best Nighy ever? Then step right up, friends, and see the great Nighy do a manical Scottish octopus spirit pirate (twice!).
“Damn you, Jack Sparrow…”
5. Viktor, Underworld(s)
If there’s one thing Nighy loves, it’s playing the undead (see above, #4, and also Shaun of the Dead). It might not be the greatest trilogy of films, but Viktor is definitely one of the top vampires of all time. Also, best death ever.
“Your incompetence is becoming most… *taxing*.”