Actors Who Are Bigger Badasses Than the Characters They Play


You know how cool Xena: Warrior Princess is, with her armor and her circle boomerang? Well, although Xena is just a character, actress Lucy Lawless is very much a real person, and after hearing that she was recently arrested for her involvement in a Greenpeace protest, we were impressed by her courage. But she’s not the only actor who’s done some pretty amazing stuff to rival her famous character’s exploits, so in honor of Lucy’s criminal record, we’ve rounded up some of the most iconic thespians who’ve participated in the most awesomely absurd experiences imaginable. Seriously, why are these people in movies? There should be films made about them.

Lucy Lawless

So, why did Lawless get arrested, exactly? She and five other Greenpeace activists climbed onto an oil rig and camped out there to protest the drilling of oil in New Zealand. Did we mention that their spot on the tower was 174 feet above the ground, and that they were constantly in danger of falling off due to unexpected wind gusts? Wow. Let’s hope she had Gabrielle up there to keep her warm.

Sean Bean

While filming the first season of Game of Thrones, Sean Bean got into a fight at a London bar with a man who’d made lewd comments at his girlfriend. Even though he was punched in the face multiple times and stabbed in the arm with a piece of broken glass, he refused to go to the hospital. Instead, he went back inside and used the bar’s first aid kit. And then? He ordered another drink. Damn, man. They don’t mess around in Winterfell.

Samuel L. Jackson

Now he’s Nick Fury, a tough-as-nails military-hero-turned-spy who recruits superheroes for the US government, but back in the day Samuel L. Jackson involved himself with a military group of a different kind — namely, the Black Power Movement. In 1969, he and a group of students from Morehouse College actually held members of the school’s board hostage while demanding reform, and though the changes they wanted were made, Jackson was convicted of a second-degree felony for unlawful confinement. His group was in the process of preparing for armed struggle when his mother pulled him out after receiving a phone call from the FBI.

Audrey Hepburn

Who could be cooler than the incredibly classy call girl Holly Golightly, whose incredible presence has continued to inspire the fashion sense of many a pretentious young hipster chick? How about Audrey Hepburn herself, who as a child was part of the Dutch Underground, which secretly opposed the Nazis? That’s right — when she lived in the Netherlands, Hepburn would dance in secret performances to raise money for the resistance, and several times she was actually caught by SS officers and managed to escape. And remember, she was around 15 at the time. Could Holly have done that? We doubt it.

Dolph Lundgren

Lundgren is pretty well remembered for his buffness, due to his roles as He-Man, Ivan Drago, and the Punisher. The thing is, those weren’t really roles; he actually is a third degree black belt, as well as a former ranger for the Swedish Marine Corps and a pentathlete (a pentathlon, by the way, is an event that involves cross country running, freestyle swimming, show jumping, pistol shooting, and even fencing). He also has a reported IQ of 160, a Master’s in chemical engineering, and the ability to speak five languages. Remind us how Rocky beat him again? Because we’re not sure how that could possibly have happened.

Harrison Ford

Han Solo is one of the greatest pilots in the galaxy and uses his clunky spaceship to rescue rebel leaders, blow up enemy star fighters, and plow through asteroid fields. Harrison Ford is one of the greatest action heroes in film history and uses his helicopter to rescue hikers lost in the woods, transport Special Olympics athletes to events and relief supplies to impoverished disaster areas like earthquake-stricken Haiti, and polices the Hudson River for polluters. No, seriously. Next time we look up and see a helicopter over New York, we’re definitely going to assume it’s him.

Bill Murray

Murray always plays the cool, collected smart-ass in his movies. Peter Venkmen, Carl Spackler, Phil Connors — hell, even his cameo in Zombieland is super-chill, and he’s dying in that scene. The real Bill Murray is apparently just as relaxed about life, to the point where if you invite him to a party, he will come. It literally does not matter how you invite him or if he even knows you — he just shows up, has a couple of drinks, and even washes your dishes. Phil wouldn’t have been caught dead doing that — not until after an infinite lifetime of saving people from choking and learning to play the piano, at least. Props, Bill.

Danny Trejo

Fun fact: Did you know the lovable uncle character Danny Tejo plays in the Spy Kids series and the ruthless killing machine he plays in Grindhouse and Machete are the same character? Well, maybe not, but he’s called Machete in all of those movies, and IMDb seems to think they’re the same. Odd that Trejo would be featured both in a kids movie and in a gory action thriller, because as a kid his own childhood was apparently filled with all kinds of illegal activity, including thievery and heroin addiction. He ended up serving 11 years for drug and robbery charges, and while doing his time, he was the Pennsylvania State Prison boxing champion in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions. Definitely not someone you’d want to mess with.