The Seven Types of Roles Older British Actors Can Always Sell Out With, From Priest to Pagan God


For generations, British actors have prided themselves on their rigorous classical training and flawless elocution, qualities valued by Merchant Ivory and the Hollywood Foreign Press. But as our most esteemed Anglican actors reach late middle age, there inevitably comes a time when they decide that the Bard and Jane Austen aren't gonna buy a summer house, so why not put breeding aside and make a blockbuster or four? Luckily, it’s easy for them to make a quick buck: Hollywood studios are always trying to recruit an Oscar-nominated Brit to lend some class to their four-quadrant fare, whether it's a shameless sequel (Jeremy Irons in Pink Panther 2) or a video-game adaptation (Ben Kingsley in Prince of Persia). The Harry Potter franchise has been the ideal annuity plan, as it's both well-paying and respectable, but with the final film bowing this year, these thespians need to know their other options. So in honor of Anthony Hopkins's role in this week's horror release The Rite, here's a quick guide to the seven best cash-in character types for older British actors (a catch-all, we should note, that includes Scots and Irishmen). And remember: There’s no need for shame in a world where Peter O’Toole once took second billing to Lassie.