3 Times Jude Law was the ultimate villain

Jude Law played a delicious love interest, but it was when he took his first role as a villain that he discovered the role he was born to play.
With his dreamy, classic movie star looks, Jude Law built his reputation playing good-guy roles in dramas (Hugo), romances (Cold Mountain), rom-coms (The Holiday), comedies (I Heart Huckabees) and action/adventure movies (Sherlock Holmes, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) .

Then there were his roles where his character’s natures were ambiguous - half good and half bad (The Talented Mr Ripley, Gattaca).  

But we only really fell hard for him when he went to the dark side... and now we hope he never goes back. Let’s just say Law is having his own McConaussance. So let’s dig beneath the surface and behind those vivid green eyes and reveal just how good Law is when he breaks the law. 

Hey Jude, you’re the arch villain we’ve all been waiting for.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Jude Law in King Arthur

With a character name like Vortigen, you know a character is going to be dripping with evil. 

When asked what it was like playing King Arthur’s nemesis, Law responded: “It is fun; of course the villain doesn’t think he’s the villain necessarily. Having said that, in this case I think it’s fair to say Vortigen probably knows full well that he’s being led by a darker force, but as an actor, yeah, it’s great fun. Playing a villain, and one with immense power, is a kind of interesting marriage to delve into”.

Law sinks his teeth into the role – creating a monster who is barbaric, paranoid, arrogant, selfish, conflicted, swaggering and a coward all at once. He’s one of the most fascinating and complex screen villains to ever appear in a blockbuster, spitting and hissing his lines with pure venom and drunk on power – and yet, the growing stature of Arthur is a real threat to him – and one he must stamp out. 

Film School Rejects summed it up best: “There’s a lot more going on here than any number of godlike super villains, and Law sells it all with a bit of that Young Pope panache we’ve all come to love”

The Young Pope

Jude Law in The Young Pope

As the first U.S. Pope in history, Jude Law delivers “a lacerating performance - his young Pope is brutally calculating, occasionally almost charming and never less than terrifying” claims The Guardian. 

Playing Pope Pius XIII like a cross between Don Draper and Tony Soprano, Law creates an unholy character that is a master of Machiavellian manipulation, scheming and plotting. But when you’re the head of the Holy Roman Catholic Empire, you will go to any lengths to grasp power and reign supreme – and Law does some of the best work of his career in this era-defining TV series.

Road to Perdition

Jude Law in Road to Perdition
Source: DreamWorks

When Director Sam Mendes cast Law as a sadistic mob hitman in this 2002 movie, he had the unenviable task of making Jude Law ugly – both inside and out. 

Law turned in a transformative performance that took everyone by surprise – with thinning hair, sallow skin, a lower gum line and a truly creepy personality. Law threw caution to the wind and relished the chance to kill off his screen heart-throb persona once and for all.

Not quite the villain, but getting there...

Jude Law almost a villian

Both Contagion and Dom Hemingway show Law on a mid-career path to villainhood, playing a pompous A-hole without forgiveness. These roles reveal an actor always keen to push the barriers, striving for roles that are more ‘character actor’ than ‘leading man’ in flavour - and we relish every one of these dark diversions.

What other screen villains would we love to see Jude Law tackle?

Here’s our wicked wish list of potential remakes that could star a bad-to-the bone Law:
Hannibal Lector, The Silence of the Lambs
Roy Batty, Blade Runner
Colonel Kurtz, Apocalypse Now
Khan, Star Trek
Hans Gruber, Die Hard
Don Logan, Sexy Beast
Colonel Zhod, Superman
Ernst Blofeld, Goldfinger

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