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The Top 50 Actors Countdown - You Casted Your Votes

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
OK, everyone, our project has begun. You may not have realized this but due to shocking anonymous donations a few years ago during one of our fundraisers, we finally have the funding for Talking Time’s true endgame: producing major motion pictures. And if we want to spend money to make money, we better make it a franchise. To this end, we bought the rights to everyone’s 23rd favourite video game company Hudson-soft! That’s right, we are bringing the Hudson-verse onto the big screen. Now, keep this hush hush but now I can finally unveil our major motion picture project we are going to bring to the big screen. But to go toe-to-toe with beloved franchises like 3 Ninjas and God’s Not Dead, we need a heavy hitting cast like the world has never seen! And to this end, we will break the laws of space and time!

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That’s right, I found a picture of a time machine we can base a real time machine off of. I’m hopeful that by putting enough nickels in a wishing well, we may be able to get this done within the next few months. But this isn’t enough: to cast the movie, we had you compile a list of the actors who NEED to be in this movie. I’ll let you know who they are and who we are casting them as! And we are also getting some extra help:
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We’ll get famous actor Master Thespian to explain to other potential investors why this actor is necessary and famous acting coach/caterer enthusiast Carl Weathers to give us some advice regarding this venture! So let’s travel through time to collect the greatest collection of performers as chosen by you for the greatest new cinematic experience. We are bringing to the big screen… well, just take a look at the poster!
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Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
For a second I was wondering where you were going with Hudson Soft.

Of course.

Awesome.

Curious how we're getting 50 characters out of it though!
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
50. H. Jon Benjamin

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AS

Hachisuke

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44 Points, 2 Lists, #13 Octopus Prime

Iconic Roles: Sterling Archer (Archer), Bob Belcher (Bob’s Burgers), Coach McGuirk (Home Movies), Can of Vegetables (Wet Hot American Summer)

H. Jon Benjamin began his career drifting between various comedy groups in the LA alt-comedy scene (most notably David Cross’ Cross Comedy) and became known for his work in animation in series like Home Movies before moving on to lead roles in Archer and Bob’s Burgers. A regular fixture in modern comedy television and film, Benjamin also had his own television series, the wild and weird Jon Benjamin has a Van.



H. Jon Benjamin’s voice is immediately recognizable and his cadence remains unchanged but vocal range isn’t tantamount to great acting. Jon’s characters sound similar but are quite different because while they might be laid back guys who end up yelling a lot, the self-absorbed and easier distracted Archer is a far cry from put upon everyman with a weird streak Bob Belcher. Of course, there are times when he is putting on a voice like for Jason in Home Movies or Jimmy Jr. in Bob’s Burgers. He has a comedic sensibility that allows him to subvert the conventional authority of his deep masculine voice to reveal uncertainty underneath, whether it is open or a poorly guarded secret.
What a delightful asshole… or at least, he plays onemany on TV. He has played several iconic animated roles (including, most notably to me, Coach McGirk from Home Movies and the eponymous Sterling Archer), and I could listen to any of them all day. To say nothing of his hilarious, tragically short-lived experimental comedy show, Jon Benjamin Has a Van. Everyone should do themselves a favour and watch the impossibly clever episode where him boom guy (player by Nathan Fielder of later Nathan for You fame) gets kidnapped.


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No other man could embody the true bee-ness of Hachisuke, the bee who will tie the Hudson-verse together. IMAGINE THE EXCITEMENT of our gentle audience when he comes into frame, promising exciting new franchise possibilities, such as Adventure Island AND Nuts and Milk.

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“If he still has that van, we could use it to car pool and save a bit of money on the side.”

Simpsons or Star Trek?: Both. He played Bob Belcher for a gag in the Simpsons in the episode “My Way or the Highway to Heaven” and “Edward Larkin” in a Short Treks episode about his character called the Trouble With Edward.

ACTING!

 
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Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I had no idea he was also Jason. Huh.

Anyway, I thought I might have put him on my list but apparently I didn't. But I've been going through all of Archer recently and it's good stuff. Home Movies is harder to stick with but he's still great.

The Simpsons or Star Trek? segment is kind of genius. I would totally let it slide if it surreptitiously turned into or Star Wars at opportune moments.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
Kickin' this list off strong with an actor whose work I've been familiar with for ages but whose name I didn't know and whose face I wouldn't be able to pick out in a crowd!

And now I am pondering who we're going to get to play Bonk and that guy on the cover of Star Soldier.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
H Jon Benjamin is just a poor man's Jon Lovitz. Sad he doesn't have any representation on this list.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
H Jon Benjamin is just a poor man's Jon Lovitz. Sad he doesn't have any representation on this list.
Between this post and the picture of Jon Lovitz in the post I feel like a joke is going over my head. Can someone explain?

Anyway, he did the voiceover of the animated version of my favourite McSweeney's article:

 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
49. Hugh Laurie

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AS

Carrot the Hermit

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44 Points, 2 Lists, #8 Kirin

Iconic Roles: Gregory House (House, M.D.), Bertie Wooster (Jeeves and Wooster), George (Blackadder), Hercule Poirot (Spice World)

Hugh Laurie was a rower at university but following a bout of glandular fever left the sport behind instead to try acting. Where once he had been a rower capable of competing on an Olympic level, now Laurie found himself in Cambrige Footlights, a prestigious dramatic club known for producing successful actors and comedians. There he found two people who would play a major role in his life; romantic partner Emma Thompson (the two are still friends) and Stephen Fry. The two would become an iconic comedy team through the 80s and into the early 90s, most notably with the sketch comedy show A Bit of Fry and Laurie and the television adaptation of the beloved novel series Jeeves and Wooster. Laurie continued to work on various smaller film roles, some being serious but many being more comical. Though Laurie was iconic in the UK, he became a big star in the role of Gregory House in House MD, a show the combined the formulas of detective and medical shows, imagining a Sherlock Holmes-esque doctor who plays by his own rules.



In many ways, House was a character very different from Laurie’s more memorable roles leading up to this, where he played buffoons, particularly of the upperclass variety. While his character was often humourous, Laurie also provided him with a cutting edge that matched those scripts and I think a lot of other actors would have been content to be a by wry and smug, a dashing antihero but his House, even when helping or mocking people had a sort of knife in his soul that made him more potent. Perhaps the show went on a little too long for us to by the character being forgiven for some of his actions but where the writing may have slipped, Laurie remained strong. I really do want to see The Night Manager because I could think of no actor more suited to the cynical and often comically inept world of John La Carre’s take on espionage.
As I mentioned above in another entry, range counts for a lot for me, and I love it when a comedian plays a serious role. Back when I was watching the awful, acerbic genius Dr. Gregory House disgnose lupus every week on FOX, I could never have imagined that, A, he was a comedian, or B, that he was British. I was floored when I heard him speak in his natural voice, and later had a lot of fun watching A Bit of Fry & Laurie.


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We need our HERO, Sir Cucumber, to have an unusual ally. Though he is reluctant to help, this carrot motivated by clover juice CAN BE MOVED… and I think Laurie will be the one to convey that transition between bystander and someone who gives our hero some medicine.

Simpsons or Star Trek?: Laurie played a man who may be a killer in a Simpsons Halloween spoof of Dead Calm

ACTING!

 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
He's also a musician, and did a very good rendition of St. James Infirmary (he doesn't start singing until about 3:40)

 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
48. Neil Patrick Harris

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AS

Mr. Simon

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44 Points, 2 Lists, #3 Yorin Trouble

Iconic Roles: Dr. Doogie Howser (Doogie Howser, M.D.), Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother), Dr. Horrible (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog), The Not-Smurf (the Smurfs)

Neil Patrick Harris began his career as a child star, gaining a Golden Globe nomination for the film Clara’s Heart at age 16. The next year, he gained his own television series; Doogie Howser, MD, where he played the title character, about a man who became a doctor at a young age. Following the ending of this series, Harris retained a smaller career on TV and film, including a notable role in Starship Troopers and a short-lived sitcom with Tony Shaloub, Stark Raving Mad (that is a pairing I did not expect). However, it was in the 2000s when NPH started to make a big return to the public consciousness, beginning with work in acclaimed stage productions of Sweeney Todd, Proof, Assassins and Cabaret. Then on film playing a version of himself in the Harold and Kumar series, which lead to him in his iconic role in How I Met Your Mother, playing the womanizing Barney Stinson.



I will fully concede that my memory of childhood NPH is sketchy, save that I remember Howser as a respectful, clean cut kid. And while he is a nice guy in real life, it is clear that playing against type as a creep became very much an important direction for him from sex monster NPH of the Harold and Kumar films to the dudebro Barney Stinson to sympathetic super-villain Dr. Horrible to even more cartoonish villain Count Olaf. I feel like both his comedic and dramatic roles have a sense of sharpness, like there’s a malevolence under his charm AND that there’s a charm to his malevolence. And beyond that, I feel like when I see him, his darkness comes from a powerful yearning which, in the right role, can feel surprisingly palpable. But he’s definitely what I think of as someone who truly loves being the showman.
Best known for his comic sitcom turns, There's a surprising amount of depth and presence in Neil, especially if you get to see him live on stage.
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Yeah, I think he can capture the quiet menace of the duplicitous Mr. Simon, the bookshop keeper and toady to the farmies. But more than that, if he teaches us card tricks, we can win more bar bets and that means more money for catering.

Simpsons or Star Trek?: NPH played himself playing Bart in the early series episode “Bart the Murderer”



Playing “against type” even then.

ACTING!

 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
(He, Him)
Between this post and the picture of Jon Lovitz in the post I feel like a joke is going over my head. Can someone explain?
Took me a minute too but Johnny is cohosting along with one of Lovitz’s SNL characters a terrible actor who calls himself a master thespian

 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Took me a minute too but Johnny is cohosting along with one of Lovitz’s SNL characters a terrible actor who calls himself a master thespian


Ah I haven't seen that one. Thanks!

As for Neil Patrick Harris I only got to see him on stage once as Mark in RENT but he was great. It was definitely annoying to hear so many people making Doogie Howser comments as the lights went down though.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Laurie came in high on my list for hitting the "puts a big smile on my face to see him show up in anything" criteria hard. Like JBear I first ran into him on House and didn't even know he was a Brit comedian because his accents are so damn good. I still haven't actually had the chance to catch much of his older comedy; I should really do that some day.
 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
(He, Him)
Hugh Laurie was the first time I realized male british actors tend to add a bunch of vocal fry when they put on an american accent and now I can never not notice that. Gargling with gravel must be a shortcut they teach you over there.

Well except for Daniel Craig in Knives Out but that accent is it’s own special thing.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
47. Lin-Manuel Miranda

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AS

Mr. Pear

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46 Points, 2 Lists, #11 Olli

Iconic Roles: Alexander Hamilton (Hamilton), Usnavi de la Vega (In the Heights), Gizmoduck (DuckTales), Lamb-Manuel Miranda (Sesame Street)

While a sophomore student at Wesleyan University, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote and starred in (and directed maybe? Wikipedia isn’t clear though he did lots of directing, so likely) the musical In the Heights. After years of revision, the musical eventually made it’s way to Broadway to rave reviews and Tony Awards. But that was nothing compared to his next his, Hamilton, a musical about the career of Alexander Hamilton starring primarily non-Caucasian actors. A rap musical about a founding father sounds like a joke but it was in fact a fun, witty, bracing show that captured the hearts of all audiences and the only punch line was that difficulty in getting tickets to the show. Since then, he’s featured himself in smaller roles (though is still omni-present) while focusing on singing and song-writing.



No question, Lin-Manuel is the hottest name on the list, seeming appearing everywhere to be lavished with praise and awards. And he clearly deserves it because where does he find the time to be friggin everywhere and direct movies and write songs and such. He’s a mere Oscar away from an EGOT (he’s been nominated). Heck, is PEGOT a thing because he also won a Pulitzer. But beyond that… I feel like Miranda just oozes joy and likeability. When he pops up somewhere, it’s pure joy because he seems incredibly grateful to be where he is. It’s a joy and energy that he brings to his characters but manages to give them weight, as in the tragedy of Hamilton.

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ACTORS WHO WRITE ARE MERELY UNCOMMITED TO THEIR CRAFT! However, I feel that Lin-Manuel as Mr. Pear could radiate love for collecting money cats and knick knacks. And he does seem like a man who would ROCK a black turtleneck. I AM COMPLETELY TURNED AROUND! AND MY INITIAL COMMENT WAS ACTING! DID YOU NOT SEE!

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Miranda attends a lot of functions and if we give him pockets and baggies, can definitely collect a lot of cold cuts for us.

Simpsons or Star Trek?: Shockingly neither. Miranda has appeared in AND done music for Star Wars and appeared in some notable franchises but the Simpsons and Star Trek remain among his few mountains left to climb.

ACTING!

 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
LMM was in an episode of How I Met Your Mother, though, so it's 1.
Apparently the site I am using to get those numbers (and the corresponding parlor game / idea it is based on) only consider movies and nothing else.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
Ah I haven't seen that one. Thanks!

As for Neil Patrick Harris I only got to see him on stage once as Mark in RENT but he was great. It was definitely annoying to hear so many people making Doogie Howser comments as the lights went down though.
I enjoyed him greatly when I saw him in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I wish I had gotten to see his Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald in Assassins.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
46. Leslie Nielsen

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AS

Uncle Peanut

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47 Points, 2 Lists, #9 Torzelbaum

Iconic Roles: Frank Drebin (Police Squad/The Naked Gun), Dr. Rumack (Airplane!), Commander John J. Adams (Forbidden Planet), Osama Bin Nielsen (An American Carol… because he’s not a picky actor)

After a key role in the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet, Leslie Nielsen built a career around playing villains and people in authority. A big change came for him when he appeared in the comedy parody Airplane!, in which the deadpan nature of he and various older working actors of the 70s were put to ludicrous use. From then on, Nielsen appeared in many comedy films and series, leveraging presence and subverting it with ridiculousness. Though Nielsen would on occasion return to serious acting, he remained primarily comedic actor and by his death in 2010, he appeared in over 100 movies and 1,500 television episodes.



As a kid growing up in the 80s, Nielsen was the face of comedy. Oh, I would learn of a wider world of comedy but the broad cartoonish films he was in appealed to me. Ironically, despite the intentionally straight-faced performance of older authority, you could feel a warmth from him that reflected in the art. It’s unfortunate that his later films seemed to ask him to mug and make faces for the camera when the strength of his comedy was often the juxtaposition of the words on the page and the delivery, but Nielsen found his calling in a genre and never looked back. On his tombstone was “Let ‘er rip”, a reference to his favourite toy, a fart machine.
My SO reminded me of him, and I'm glad that she did, because he absolutely deserves a spot on my list. Yes, he used to be a serious actor, and yes, that's what made his casting in Airplane so brilliant, and that's great, but this is 100% a vote for all of the dumb comedies that I liked as a kid, including, most notably, The Naked Gun films, which I was probably too young to be watching.
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With this, he may finally be able to top his work in Scary Movie 4. AN AMBITIOUS ENDEAVOUR!

Simpsons or Star Trek?: Neither.

ACTING!

 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
You can count the number of 80s comedies that held up on one hand, and you wouldn’t need all your fingers to do it.

Leslie Neilson was in most of them, playing the same character, if not the same person.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
In addition to the iconic roles that were mentioned I also enjoyed his antagonist role with elements of dark comedy in Creepshow; his roles as goofy, slapstick villains in Surf Ninjas and Mel Brooks' Dracula: Dead and Loving It; and his parts in different 2000s comedies. He was an actor who made me laugh and smile for three decades.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
45. Meryl Streep

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AS

Grapey

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47 Points, 2 Lists, #6 Adrenaline

Iconic Roles: Joana Stern (Kramer Vs. Kramer), Zofia Zawistowski (Sophie’s Choice), Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada), Queen Ant (The Ant Bully, a movie I’m constantly convinced is the same thing as Arthur and the Invisibles)

Meryl Streep was a successful stage actress but things really changed when she watched Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver and she said to herself “That’s the kind of actor I want to be”. Though she still worked on stage, she came to prominence in prestige pictures like the Deer Hunter, Manhattan and Kramer Vs. Kramer, often taking time to add depth to thinly written women. Though acclaimed before and noted for her “obsessive” work ethic, it was the melodrama Sophie’s Choice where she really broke through and Streep felt she became a superstar with Out of Africa. From then on, Streep became one of the most respected actors of her lifetime, a reputation she retained to the present, as well as a beloved film and stage fixture appearing both in drama and comedy.



I feel like Streep has always been kind of a blind spot for me. Looking through her resume is a laundry list of great movies I’ve overlooked with some exceptions. But one thing I can’t miss is that she is someone who is determined to make her characters more human. Look at the scene above, where she in no way tones down Julia Childs’ outsized personality but at the same time loads it with emotions like cheekiness and frustration that make it not a caricature but a character. It is also clear that she’s someone who takes great pains to make sure whatever role she takes isn’t going through the motions, even if she has to fight to make them stronger. It’s funny that despite the fact that she might be among the most respected living actors, people are upset that she keeps losing her Oscar noms. It’s because we respect someone who doesn’t stop working, no matter how high they ascend.

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Do you think those onions are still available? Those would be great for a soup.

Simpsons or Star Trek?: Streep appeared on the Simpsons as Jessica Lovejoy, whom Bart had a relationship with but turned out to be too bad even for him. “Bart’s Girlfriend” is a classic episode but Streep is great and I feel like she not only doesn’t act like she’s above the material but she’s a natural voice actress, really doing the perfect kind of voice for a child character, much in the same way that the regulars do.
ACTING!

 
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Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
I haven't seen a lot of movies with Meryl Streep in them. But, Meryl was extremely kind to one of my cousins who was suffering from a terminal illness. They met a number of times, and Meryl kept up a correspondence with her and sent letters to her family after my cousin died. She's an absolutely wonderful person.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Meryl is one of the best ever at creating a whole new person with her performance, through vocal changes and just how she carries herself. If someone who can't recognize faces watched ten of her movies they would have no idea any two of them were the same actor.
 

Issun

Avarice
I forgot about Leslie Nielsen. He may have even snuck in on my list on the strength of the Naked Gun movies alone (I even had Frank Drebin on my Detectives list). There's a rumor that his dry delivery was so effective because he actually had no sense of humor, though I don't know how true that is.

I wasn't surprised Streep made it. I didn't have her on my list, but her name has become a byword for distinction in acting. If you were to tell me she's the greatest thespian in the history of the Silver Screen, I could not argue against it.
 
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