10 Crush-Killing Film Roles, from Willy Wonka to Aileen Wuornos


We’ve been excited about Hesher ever since we first heard about the film, which debuted at Sundance last year. So we’re definitely planning to see it when it makes its theatrical debut this weekend. But despite our anticipation, we do have one worry: that we’ll never be able to look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt the same way again. You see, he plays Hesher‘s title character, a greasy, ratty-haired, tattooed metal guy with bad teeth and penchant for farting. Thankfully, Gordon-Levitt is hardly the first actor to sacrifice beauty or likability for a good role. After the jump, we recall ten more roles that killed our crushes, on everyone from Charlize Theron to Christian Bale.

Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

It’s not easy to make the transition from 20-something pin-up to serious actor, but Johnny Depp has become the poster boy for doing it right. And Tim Burton, who first cast Depp in 1990’s Edward Scissorhands, has been instrumental to the process. Since then, Depp has played a lot of weird dudes, from Hunter S. Thompson to Captain Jack Sparrow, but none of his creations have weirded us out quite as much as his Willy Wonka, in Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Whereas Gene Wilder’s take on the character was funny, mysterious, and slightly dark, Depp took Wonka into an entirely different realm of creepitude. If goth pedophile was what he was going for, we’ll be the first to admit he nailed it.

Charlize Theron in Monster

Charlize Theron was the belle of Hollywood in 2003, when Monster hit theaters. In the film, Theron portrays Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer and former prostitute. And, because the hard-living Wuornos didn’t exactly look like an A-list movie star, the actress gained 30 pounds, wore prosthetic teeth, and hid her beautiful face under pounds of makeup. Even if you could deal with that transformation, there was still the sociopathic killer aspect of the character. Of course, Theron won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance, which we have to imagine is ultimately more rewarding than thousands of anonymous crushes anyway.

Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire

In 2011, we see Tom Cruise more as a punchline than a crush-worthy star. But in 1994, fresh from studly roles in A Few Good Men and The Firm, and before we knew the extent of his involvement in Scientology, he was still a perfectly acceptable dreamboat. So, when he popped up as the cruel, vaguely effeminate Lestat in Interview with the Vampire, it was perplexing, to say the least. While we are the last ones who will object to a bit of androgyny, Cruise’s blonde mop and puffy blouses seemed more like drag gone wrong.

Christian Bale in The Machinist

In case you’re still living by Wallis Simpson’s well-worn chestnut — “You can never be too rich or too thin” — we guarantee that Christian Bale’s disappearing act in The Machinist will at least dissuade you from that second point. (As for the “too rich” part of that quote? Exhibit A: Donald Trump.) To play the role of an insomniac who’s slowly wasting away, Bale lost a staggering 62 pounds, eventually weighing in at 120. Think that’s crazy? The method actor wanted to get his weight under 100 pounds, and would have if his bosses hadn’t stopped him amid fears for his health.

Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette

Kirsten Dunst made the perfect Marie Antoinette in Sofia Coppola’s criminally underrated, rock ‘n’ roll biopic. And although she looked awesome in those humongous 18th-century dresses and powdered wigs, it’s hard not to squash a crush or two when you’re playing history’s most infamous spoiled brat.

Benicio del Toro in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

The first time we watched Fear and Loathing, it took us a good several minutes to realize that the actor playing Hunter S. Thompson’s “attorney,” Dr. Gonzo, was none other than the generally smoldering Benicio del Toro. And that’s not surprising, considering del Toro packed on 45 pounds for the role and spent most of his screen time slobbering, wild-eyed, and incoherent — which, as those who have read Thompson’s book know, means he did an excellent job with the character.

Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich

If you ever mistook Cameron Diaz for your standard, vain starlet, Spike Jonze’s nuttily brilliant 1999 film Being John Malkovich should have changed your mind. Catherine Keener was that movie’s undisputed sex symbol; Diaz, however, played the pathetic, pet-crazy wife of John Cusack’s sad-sack lead. Lotte Schwartz sported a mane that looked like it hadn’t seen a comb in a good decade, and her face and wardrobe clearly belonged to a woman who had given up — not just on looking good, but on living life. As Malkovich‘s makeup artist, Gucci Westman, recalled in Australian Vogue, “That was a challenge, to make her look homely.” We bet it was.

Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men

Some people find villains attractive — the deeper the evil, the hotter the character. And that’s a perfectly fine fantasy life. But Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh, in the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, isn’t just a sociopath; he also has one of cinema’s all-time worst hairdos. We’re pretty sure we get why no one bothered to clue him in, though.

Jared Leto in Chapter 27

Yes, Jordan Catalano gained 70 pounds to play Mark David Chapman, the psycho-killer (are we sensing a theme, here?) who murdered John Lennon in 1980. Aside from the obvious crush-destroying elements of this role, perhaps you should know how Leto managed to put on so much weight: he drank melted ice cream mixed with soy sauce and olive oil. Sadly, unlike Monster, the film was both a critical and box office failure, earning only $56,215 in the US. And yet, some would argue that 30 Seconds to Mars is still the ultimate Jared Leto crush killer.

Julianne Moore in Game Change

The film that has Julianne Moore starring as Sarah Palin isn’t actually out yet — but we feel pretty safe making this call ahead of time. You betcha.