If you watch films on a regular basis, you've undoubtedly seen a bunch of Vincent D'Onofrio movies. But did you always know it was Vincent D'Onofrio you were watching? The actor has had a phenomenally successful career by not only being wildly talented, but also having a chameleon-like quality. Sometimes you immediately recognize him and sometimes you don't. He happily alters his appearance and personality to fit whatever character he's tackling. This rare ability allows him to take on a diverse range of roles in every genre, from heroes to villains. Somehow the guy who played Pvt. Pyle in Full Metal Jacket is the same actor who played the alien in the "Edgar suit" in Men in Black.
D'Onofrio may not have won an Oscar, but everyone always loves what he does on-camera. At the same time, he doesn't limit himself to the big screen. He's made intermittent forays into television, most notably in his starring role on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. No matter the screen size, he consistently surprises audiences with inventive, dedicated performances. No two are alike.
This continually amazing actor's most notable roles reveal what makes him such a special performer. In every case, Vincent D'Onofrio's TV shows and movies showcase the creativity he brings to each project, both in terms of how he appears and how he makes a fictional person come alive.
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'Daredevil' - As A Powerful Yet Anguished Comic Book SupervillainPhoto: Netflix
It's a testament to how good D'Onofrio is in Netflix's Daredevil series that most people agree the second season - i.e., the one in which he only appears half the time - is the weakest of the three. He plays Wilson Fisk, also known as Kingpin. In Marvel Comics, the character is a major supervillain, a bald man of immense muscle who typically wears a white suit jacket and carries a diamond-tipped cane. The actor replicates that look on the show.
There's a long history of performers chewing the scenery when playing a comic book bad guy, from Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's Batman to Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-Man: Far From Home. D'Onofrio does something remarkable by making Kingpin a suitably grandiose villain while also making him feel like a guy who could exist in real life. Writing for Grantland, Alex Pappademas accurately praised D'Onofrio's work when he said the actor turns Wilson Fisk into "a fully realized human - a man of wealth and taste who has cultivated elegant manners to hold his rage and sorrow in check."Awesome performance?
- Photo: New Line Cinema
Movies about serial killers were all the rage after Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs and David Fincher's Seven. Truth be told, a lot of them were kind of cheesy, with generic, unrealistic villains. In 2000's The Cell, D'Onofrio plays a maniac with a twisted psychology that feels legit - and he does so within a completely fantastical story.
He portrays Carl Rudolph Stargher, a lunatic with a penchant for drowning his targets. When he falls into a coma, psychologist Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) uses a special device to enter his mind and find clues about his latest mark's whereabouts. What she encounters is phantasmagoric, to say the least. D'Onofrio is hidden behind creepy makeup, outlandish costumes, and sometimes even horns on his head. Nevertheless, he potently suggests the dangerous psychopathy that fuels Stargher. He's not just playing a character, he's playing derangement itself.Awesome performance?
- Photo: Touchstone Pictures
Adventures in Babysitting was one of D'Onofrio's first film roles. His character is essentially a punchline, or at least it would have been had he not brought something more real to the part. He plays a mechanic named Dawson who, because of his long blonde hair and giant hammer, is mistaken for the comic book character Thor by a little girl.
The gag is that Dawson is a mean guy who abruptly melts when the girl calls him her "hero" and gives him a Thor helmet. It would have been a stupid bit, except that D'Onofrio makes the transition from grump to softy look sincere. And he does it with just a glance and a smile.Awesome performance?
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D'Onofrio only has a cameo role in Tim Burton's Ed Wood, but he makes a huge impression. He plays Orson Welles, the legendary actor/writer/director who gave the world masterpieces like Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil. In his big scene, Welles offers advice to Johnny Depp's title character, a fellow filmmaker with lots of passion but no actual talent.
The trap when playing a real person - especially one as iconic as Welles - is to merely imitate that person. D'Onofrio shrewdly avoids that pitfall. Aside from looking like the man he's portraying, the actor perfectly captures the mysterious, larger-than-life aura that Welles possessed. That gives his scene with Wood a real punch.Awesome performance?