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Underappreciated Actors... Paul Bettany

Updated: May 19, 2023

Paul Bettany is one of those actors that just turns up, steals the show, leaves the audience stunned and leaves without a care in the world. He's a brilliantly versatile performer, who can play every role from the romantic hero to the creepiest villain.

As Geoffrey Chaucer (naked) in A Knight's Tale

His first big role, winning him his first ever award, was as Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight's Tale (2001) alongside the late Heath Ledger. Bettany produced a charismatic and commanding performance as the wordsmith, and it fully deserved more than one award. If you haven't seen it and are a Bettany lover, he walks into the film naked. Just saying.

A more tense naked shot, in The Da Vinci Code

Paul kept rising steadily in film, playing the devoted but brainwashed killer monk Silas in The Da Vinci Code (2006). He was cool, calculated and demonic (ironically), and I think it should be seen as one of his stand out roles. A personal favourite of mine is in Inkheart (2008), as Dustfinger. Inkheart is an adaptation of a fantasy book where story characters come to life when read by certain people. Dustfinger is one such character and his story has a much deserved romantic and heartwarming ending.

Vision, probably his most iconic role to date

2008 also saw Bettany take on what would become probably his most iconic role. He was cast as J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Iron Man (2008-13) trilogy, which would lead into the developing Marvel universe of films, and this would develop his role into Vision in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron.

As Jock Strapp (left) with Depp as Mortdecai

One of Paul's other comedic roles comes in Mortdecai (2015) alongside his close friend Johnny Depp. With Depp in the titular role, Bettany plays Jock Strapp, Mortdecai's valet/bodyguard/assistant/henchman. This tough-man role flexed Bettany again and stepped him up to two rather sinister villain roles as Charlie Richardson in Legend (2015) and as Dryson Vos in 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story.

As Andy Warhol

I really enjoy Paul Bettany as an actor and I think he is often overlooked for his talent. He has real potential to be a Bond villain, and I would like to see him get to expand on his villainous abilities.

He is due to play Andy Warhol in a future film that is yet to get a release date at the time of writing, and this should be really interesting to see him play probably his most eccentric role to date.

Other Selected Filmography

Bent (1997)- First film.

A Beautiful Mind (2001) - as Charles Herman, alongside Russell Crowe in the lead.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) - His most acclaimed role, winning two awards.

Wimbledon (2004) - as Peter Colt.

Creation (2009) - as Charles Darwin.

Transcendence (2014) - a passionate and humane supporting role.

Topless again, as Dustfinger in Inkheart. The man can pull it off... pardon the pun!

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