You know the stars of 'The Avengers'... but we bet you forgot that stars like Ellen Page once played superheroes, too!
-Lucia Peters, BettyConfidential.com
The Avengers poster
Bettys! You know what happens on Friday? The long-anticipated release of The Avengers! Marvel's latest superhero flick has been a long time coming; indeed, they've been planting the seeds for it in the secret scenes hidden at the end of every recent Marvel movie from Iron Man toCaptain America. Written and directed by the almighty Joss Whedon, The Avengers will see Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assemble Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) into a superhero super group to fight a new enemy that is threatening the safety of the entire world. Awesome? Oh yes!
By now, you're no doubt incredibly familiar with all of the actors who play the characters involved in The Avengers. But there are plenty of actors who have played superheroes over the years that you've probably forgotten about. So, in honor of the Avengers finally assembling, we've brought together a list of our favorite actors we bet you've probably forgotten have played superheroes. Up, up and away!
1. Ben Affleck as Daredevil
You know, I actually remember finding Daredevil pretty entertaining when I saw it in theaters way back in 2003, though it hasn't really stood up to time terribly well. Ben Affleck played Marvel character Matt Murdock, mild-mannered lawyer by day, heroic crime fighter by night. The catch? He's blind. Furthermore, that very trait is what earns him the name Daredevil: Because he can't see, he's not afraid to do potentially dangerous things.
2. Jennifer Garner as Elektra
Ninja assassin Elektra as played by Jennifer Garner made her first film appearance inDaredevil before getting a spin-off of her own-which unfortunately was pretty terrible. But hey, at least the Daredevil/Elektra pairing brought Ben and Jennifer together!
3. Ellen Page as Kitty "Shadowcat" Pryde, X-Men: The Last Stand
One year before Juno catapulted Ellen Page to stardom, she appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand as Shadowcat, a mutant with the ability to phase through solid matter-that is, she can walk through things. Neat-o. She also, however, ended up being Rogue's (Anna Paquin) rival for the romantic attentions of Iceman (Shawn Ashmore). Homewrecker? Not quite, but close. Ah well.
4. Eric Bana as The Hulk, Hulk
Before Mark Ruffalo took on the role in The Avengers… before Edward Norton tried his hand at it in The Incredible Hulk… Eric Bana played Marvel's Jekyll/Hyde character, Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Unfortunately, Ang Lee's 2003 film was pretty bad; though to be fair, 2008's attempted reboot wasn't great either. We have faith that The Hulk will finally get his due in The Avengers, though!... At least, we hope so. He might get angry if he doesn't. And trust me-you wouldn't like him when he's angry.
5. Janeane Garofalo as The Bowler, Mystery Men
Mystery Men is sort of like Superuseless Superpowers: The Movie, though notably both Mystery Men and the comic it's based on existed long beforehand. There are a lot of "hey! It's you!" people in it-William H. Macy, Hank Azaria, etc.-but my personal favorite of our not-so-intrepid heroes is Janeane Garofalo as The Bowler. Her power? Her dead father's skull is embedded in the center of a bowling ball, which allows her a) to communicate with his spirit, and b) to throw it with uncanny accuracy and force. Or so she says, at least. Whenever she has arguments with Dad, it just looks like she's yelling at a bowling ball. Classic.
6. Thomas Jane as The Punisher
On the way to Hung, Thomas Jane dipped his toes into the superhero waters with 2004's The Punisher. A classic anti-hero, The Punisher isn't a nice guy: He's a vigilante who's not afraid to kidnap, murder, extort, coerce, and torture during his war on crime. In some ways, he's not unlike Batman, though without the whole dressing-up-as-a-nocturnal creature thing.
Post-Frasier and pre-Real Housewives, Kelsey Grammer tried his hand at a lot of things, one of which was superheroing (is that a word? It is now, because I've just invented it). Dr. Hank "Beast" McCoy joined everyone's favorite mutants in the fight for freedom in X-Men: The Last Stand, and Kelsey was the one who brought him to life. Did anyone else just have a really hilarious mental image of Beast taking on Camille?
8. David Hyde Pierce as Abe Sapien, Hellboy
Hey, look! Another Frasier cast member! The former Niles Crane jump into the skin of aquatic sidekick Abe Sapien in Guillermo del Toro's first Hellboy film in 2004. Or rather, he jumped into the Abe's throat: David only voiced the character. Doug Jones, perhaps best known for his terrifying and amazing work in Pan's Labyrinth, did the motion capture for Abe, then took over the voice as well in Hellboy 2.
9. Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, Batman and Robin
From Beverly Hills to Gotham City: What a change! Most of us like to pretend that Batman and Robin never happened, because it's AWFUL; but it's kind of hard to forget who starred in it.Alicia Silverstone joined Chris O'Donnell (Robin), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Mr. Freeze),Uma Thurman (Poison Ivy) and-gasp!-George Clooney (Batman) in director Joel Schumacher's schlockfest. Thank goodness Christopher Nolan took over the Dark Knight's reigns after that!
10. Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler, X-2
The X-Men movies really had a lot of fabulous people in them, didn't they? I guess that's what happens when your universe encompasses roughly a billion different characters. Alan Cumming, aka Boris from Pierce Brosnan's first James Bond film, Goldeneye, played Nightcrawler in the second X-Men film; interestingly, the character's ability to teleport behaves somewhat similarly to Kitty Pryde's ability to phase through objects. Also, his backstory is heartbreaking, and Alan Cumming played it beautifully.
11. Laurence Fishburne as The Silver Surfer, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
So, hey, that Doug Jones guy that I mentioned back in connection to Abe Sapien? He also did the motion capture for The Silver Surfer in the second Fantastic 4 movie. Laurence Fishburne(who will forever be Morpheus from The Matrix to me) provided his voice, though-and a memorable voice it was, indeed!
12. Rainn Wilson as The Crimson Bolt, Super
Though Super was a pretty recent release-it came out in 2011-I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't seen it, or even heard of it. An indie film first shown at the Toronto Film Festival, Super follows the story of Frank D'Arbo (aka Dwight Shrute from The Office ), a short-order cook who goes on a vigilante quest for justice after his wife, a recovering drug addict, leaves him for a bad-news strip club owner. Things don't work out quite the way Frank is hoping, though… but that doesn't stop him from trying. Guess who plays his sidekick? Surprise! It's Ellen Page in her second superhero role!
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