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14 Actors Who Played Minor Roles And Totally Stole The Movie

Updated February 7, 2021 3.9k votes 780 voters 31.3k views14 items

List RulesVote up the performances that hardly needed any screen time to walk away with the movie.

As the old saying goes, there are no small roles, only small actors - which is why cinema history is filled with supporting characters that stole the movie. It's not uncommon for a sidekick or supporting character to steal the show, as they're typically given plenty of scenes where they get to be the comic relief while the protagonist remains a bit more serious. It's a lot harder to show up for a scene or two, leave it all on the floor, and somehow do enough to enter the cultural conversation - or even star in a sequel.

Sometimes, these small characters overshadowed their film's reputation even though they were in barely more than a single scene. Whether it's Will Ferrell yelling in a kimono or Bill Murray chasing a gopher, these are the characters that audience members think back to the most, even though they were hardly in the movie at all.

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past featured one of the best displays of super-heroics ever set to film. But the display in question didn't feature Magneto, Professor X, or even Wolverine. It was, in fact, mutant newcomer Quicksilver (Evan Peters) who swiftly blew minds with an undeniable mix of speed and charm.

    Wolverine, Beast, and Professor X recruit Quicksilver to help break Magneto out of jail. They first meet him in an encounter in which Quicksilver shows off by playing ping pong with himself, zooming out to grab their read their registration from their car, and pick-pocketing them. Quicksilver's wit being as fast as he is helps to make him an instantly likable character. It's the breakout scene that really made its mark on fans, arguably overshadowing the fact that Days of Future Past bridged the original and First Class eras of the X-Men franchise. In a movie with Oscar winners and comic book movie legends, it was the silver-haired kid who stole the show.

    Quicksilver was such a hit that his part was greatly increased for the next movie. Evan Peters and director Bryan Singer really wanted to beat the first scene, so Peters spent 22 days with the second unit filming crew to create a new three-minute showcase of his powers.

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  • Jeff Goldblum's imprint on Jurassic Park is so deep that viewers who haven't seen it in a while might be confused why he's considered a "minor character." In the blockbuster film, Goldblum plays the world's suavest mathematician, Ian Malcolm. He's the film's resident cool guy, like Han Solo in Star Wars, but the bulk of the story focuses on Alan Grant, Elle Sattler, and the grandchildren of the park's owner. 

    Regardless, Goldblum was the breakout character, and when the sequel The Lost World came out, Goldblum was top-billed.

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  • Danny Noonan may have starred in Caddyshack as a caddy working at the Bushwood Country Club, but Bill Murray stole the show. The film was full of other comedy legends, like Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield, making this feat even more impressive.

    Bill Murray plays a crazed groundskeeper tasked with capturing a cartoonish gopher. For younger viewers, think Gordy chasing the weasel in Ned's Declassified or Chang tracking down the monkey on Community. Newsday described Murray's character as an "outrageously amusing menace." While his role in the film wasn't huge, it's become the most memorable aspect of this comedy classic. The gopher especially has become something of a mascot for the film, and while he didn't make it onto the movie's original poster, he was a big enough hit in theaters that he was featured prominently on the home video artwork in the years that followed.

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  • Ken Jeong plays The Hangover's flamboyant scene-stealing antagonist, Mr. Chow. During a bachelor party weekend, the gents find themselves confused and hungover in a hotel room, with one of their friends missing and a host of mysteries left over to solve from the night before. One such mystery is why Mr. Chow was tied up and stuffed into the trunk of their car. After they find Chow, he accuses them of taking $80,000 from him and says if it's not returned, they won't see their missing friend again.

    That was Ken Jeong's total involvement in the first Hangover film, but he was popular enough with audiences that he was brought on again for the second and third movies. In fact, when the Wolf Pack woke up in the sequel, Chow was in the room hungover along with them. 

    Ken Jeong called The Hangover "the movie that made me a made man" and that no matter what, for the rest of his life he'll be "forever known as Mr. Chow."

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