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12 Actors Who Have Surprising Choices For Their Favorite Roles

List RulesVote up the personal favorites that surprised you the most.

Samuel L. Jackson’s favorite film role has to be Jules from Pulp Fiction or Nick Fury from the MCU... right? Nope, he is just one major actor who has a surprising personal favorite character.

If most actors are asked about their favorite film roles, they will most likely abstain from the question altogether. They wouldn’t want to offend the other filmmakers they’ve worked with. Or perhaps the actor will select their most popular film - or the movie that won them a prestigious honor like an Academy Award.

However, sometimes it’s not about the box office or the accolades. Actors become attached to certain characters because they identify with them, or in Jackson’s case, because he just thinks his private detective character from the 1996 cult classic The Long Kiss Goodnight is a “fun-loving guy.”

Make your voice heard. Vote up the personal favorites that totally surprised you the most.

  • Tom Hanks made 1980s audiences laugh out loud in mega-hit comedies like Big and Splash. Then, against all odds, he transitioned to serious dramatic roles. Hanks won back-to-back Oscars for Best Actor for playing an AIDS patient in Philadelphia and a developmentally disabled man in Forrest Gump. He also earned Oscar nods for Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Additionally, he voices Woody from the enormously successful Toy Story series. 

    But which of his characters would Hanks most like to revisit? During a 2019 interview, he did not bring up one of his critically acclaimed roles, nor one of his most popular. Instead, Hanks talked about his supporting role in 1996's That Thing You Do! He also wrote the screenplay and made his directorial debut in what would be a box office disappointment.

    "If I could go back and play another character again and again and again though, the one that I had a great amount of fun with was Mr. White - Mr. Amos White, who is the manager of The Wonders - and he worked for Play-Tone Records," revealed Hanks. "He was a mercurial and mysterious beast. I'd like to go back and plumb the depths of him a little bit more."

  • From being a seven-time Mr. Olympia to one of the biggest movie stars in the world to the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger has never shied away from challenging himself. The action star made his name in Hollywood with his muscles and ability to find the perfect starring vehicles.

    In 1988, the Terminator villain co-starred with Danny DeVito in the box office hit comedy Twins. Arnold liked showing off his funny side and then agreed to star in another comedy, 1990’s Kindergarten Cop. That film also became a box office smash. 

    Surprisingly, the comedy genre not only suited the bodybuilder with a thick Austrian accent, but the Ivan Reitman movie also became Arnold’s personal favorite. 

    "I think Kindergarten Cop [is my favorite]," Schwarzenegger revealed in 2015 on The Late Late Show with James Corden. “I think one of the comedies [would be my favorite] because for so many years, I tried to get into comedy and I couldn't. The studios made all this money from the action movies. They said, 'Why would we go and change the mold? We're making a lot of money with you. We keep giving you action scripts.' Then, when I finally met Ivan Reitman, and when we did Twins, and then we did Kindergarten Cop, I was in heaven. It was such a great director - and working with Danny DeVito. It was really great.”

  • Childhood actor turned in-trouble teenager turned America's sweetheart, Drew Barrymore has been in show business almost her entire life. She practically stole the show at just 7 years old as a supporting actress in E.T. After some down years, Barrymore showed off her romantic comedy lovability in movies like The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, and Fever Pitch. The prolific actress also had blockbuster appeal in the Charlie's Angels movie series.

    However, the producer/director/actor did not pick one of her rom-com classics nor her awesome private investigator films as her favorite. During a 2017 interview, Barrymore revealed that her role as Josie Geller, AKA Josie Grossie, in the 1999 comedy Never Been Kissed topped the list as being her all-time favorite. 

    In the moderate hit film, Josie is a 20-something copy editor who has failed to have one significant romantic relationship. She returns to high school as an undercover reporter and instantly reverts back to her insecure geeky ways. 

    Despite Barrymore's Hollywood upbringing being anything but traditional, the actress totally related to her Never Been Kissed character. 

    "I am Josie Grossie! I feel so passionate about that movie because ... I love empathy and kindness and goodness. When s*** goes down in your life, it's supposed to make you more nurturing and caring and compassionate, and thinner-skinned so that you feel more. It's not that you're weaker. That movie to me is the essence of what growing up feels like."

  • Samuel L. Jackson has nearly 200 acting credits on his esteemed filmography. From being the captain of cool in the Tarantino Universe to Mr. Glass in Unbreakable to Nick Fury in the MCU - Jackson has shone in nearly every film genre. 

    During a 2019 interview with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show host asked the prolific actor to name his five favorite movie roles. His initial response: "Just five?"

    The Pulp Fiction star put his washed-up, ex-detective character Mitch Henessey from the 1996 neo-noir The Long Kiss Goodnight at the very top of his personal list. "I love that movie, man. I had such a good time with Geena Davis," said Jackson. 

    Additionally, The Undefeated asked Jackson to rank his top 20 favorite roles. Once again, Jackson put The Long Kiss Goodnight in first place. He explained: 

    I love that movie so much. A movie way ahead of its time. Geena Davis - awesome Charly Baltimore character. The studio didn’t know how to market that film because they didn’t know that women like seeing themselves as bad*sses. I kept saying, "You need to advertise this thing during the day when women are watching soaps." Whatever. They were like, "I don’t know what you’re talking about." But it’s gone on to be like this really great cult classic because Geena is so good.

    And the Mitch character in the original iteration got killed. When they did a test screening, the audience, like, lost its mind. Like, no, you cannot kill Mitch Henessey. So we went back and we redid those [shots] with Larry King. We did that like three days before the movie opened. And they stuck it in the movie. But I just loved Mitch because he’s got such a big heart. He’s a fun-loving, kind of profane guy that wants to be this thing that he’s not. But he’s not afraid to step into the space for somebody that he cares about.