The New York Times Magazine enlisted Alex Prager to photograph and direct thirteen actors who gave notable performances this year for a video and photo gallery called “Touch of Evil.” She did a fantastic job staging the photos and directing the actors as they channel thirteen villain archetypes chosen from iconic films. The actors were Brad Pitt, Rooney Mara, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Viola Davis, Kirsten Dunst, Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Jean Dujardin, Adepero Oduye, and Glenn Close.
Below each photo you can find a link to the source (which has a quote from each actor), the loose inspiration for the shots, and a link to the eerie, one-minute short film for each of them. Some of the quotes were particularly interesting, such as Gary Oldman talking about using a ventriloquist’s dummy for archery practice and George Clooney saying he picked his character because he “liked his hat” but then taking a serious turn and dropping some insight, “Bad guys don’t think they’re bad guys. In film, the best evil performances are when the actor remembers that.”
We highly recommend watching the videos to get the full effect. Gary Oldman was about to replace the Kirsten Dunst in my nightmares (until I watched the Kirsten Dunst one and all returned to normal).
Brad Pitt as the Madman , based on Jack Nance as Henry Spencer in David Lynch’s ‘‘Eraserhead’’ (1977). [SHORT FILM HERE, if the one below isn’t working]
Rooney Mara as the Sociopath , based on Malcolm McDowell as Alex in ‘‘A Clockwork Orange’’ (1971). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Gary Oldman as the Menacing Dummy , based on The ventriloquist’s dummy Fats from ‘‘Magic’’ (1978). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Mia Wasikowska as the Home Wrecker , based on Dominique Sanda as Anna Quadri in Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘‘Conformist’’ (1970). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Ryan Gosling as the Invisible Man / [SHORT FILM HERE]
George Clooney as the Tyrant , based on Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh in ‘‘Mutiny on the Bounty’’ (1935). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Viola Davis as the Vengeful Caretaker , based on Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in ‘‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’’ (1975). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Kirsten Dunst as the Siren , based on Lana Turner as Cora Smith in ‘‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’’ (1946). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Michael Shannon as the Tycoon , based on Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in ‘‘Wall Street’’ (1987). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Jessica Chastain as the Fire Starter , based on Catherine Deneuve as Carole in Roman Polanski’s ‘‘Repulsion’’ (1965). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Jean Dujardin as the Hothead , based on a still from ‘‘Green Street Hooligans’’ (2005). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Adepero Oduye as the Outlaw , based on Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker in ‘‘Bonnie and Clyde’’ (1967). [SHORT FILM HERE]
Glenn Close as the Vamp , based on The silent film star Theda Bara. [SHORT FILM HERE]
We’re done here.