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TWC: Brian Thompson

While acting ability is essential to any actor or actress having a long career in the ever-changing and increasingly dynamic world of film, having a particular look is perhaps even more important. I mean really, when we watch someone perform what is the first thing that we recognize? Is it their ability to transform into their character or is it how their actual look fits that character? It evens out a bit as the performance goes on but that initial reaction goes a long way for the audience to accept it and, more importantly, go along with it. For instance, it would be kind of tough to envision Nathan Lane as a serial killer because that just isn’t the type of look that he brings to the table. Robin Williams is a good example of an actor that faced this dilemma and still brought it home. It’s definitely possible to avert an audience’s expectations with a worthwhile performance, but most of the time it is just plain easier to cast a guy that looks like a serial killer to play a serial killer. On that note, not many actors look more like a serial killer than the man we’ll discuss today, Brian Thompson
Here he is while not performing, looking only slightly less serial killer-y…
Despite looking like he would eat your children, Thompson started his career in theater performing in various plays, musicals, and operas. He eventually got his Master’s of Fine Arts and started auditioning for film roles. In his first role he played one of the three punks (along with Bill Paxton) that the Terminator encounters after being sent back, and it was actually Thompson’s character whose clothes are stolen and Arnold wears for the rest of the movie. That’s a pretty awesome introduction to the Hollywood scene right there. It became immediately apparent that with his intimidating physique and look that Thompson could find consistent work.After being featured in a few television shows he landed one of his largest roles to date, as the psychopath antagonist in Sylvester Stallone’s action “film” Cobra. Thompson played The Night Stalker, a cult leader who kidnaps women and murders them with an axe or a fancy knife. He was probably the most memorable part of the movie besides Bridgette Nielson’s robot lust commercial and Stallone’s never-ending product placements. Really though, this was the role that has been getting him work ever since.Next up was The Three Amigos, where he played one of the German fancyboys that are a lot tougher than they initially seem, especially after they shoot up a full bar. I’m not even sure if he said a word but it still sticks out in my mind as one of his more memorable roles. Again it says a lot about how much an actor’s look and presence can present to an audience even if they don’t have a lot of dialogue to work with.He has been in a ton of stuff, usually either playing a main bad guy, a main bad guy’s lackey, or some other role that needs a huge scary dude. I suppose I have to bring up his disappointing role as Shao-Khan in the sequel to Mortal Kombat, the utterly terrible Annihilation. I’m not sure the blame for that one can be put on Thompson’s shoulders though as he seemed to be the only person in the entire production to actually want to make a real movie. God that movie sucks. It still doesn’t change the fact that this guy will always be one of the go-to guys if you need someone to scare the crap out of you by simply being there, and god bless him for that.-Kevin Merryman