If there’s one thing that put me off trying acting as a career it was having to learn lines – but what if you didn’t have to? Even better, what if you were offered a starring role in a blockbuster and the dialogue was minimal or non-existent? Here’s a rundown of five actors who, although they weren’t required to be thesps who knew Hamlet backwards on these occasions, nevertheless made a roaring success of such parts.
Richard Kiel – Jaws, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979)
Not the shark but one of James Bond’s most formidable adversaries, Jaws chomped his way through two 007 outings and came close to ending Roger Moore‘s MI6 career several times. His only line came at the end of Moonraker where, having found the girl of his dreams, he utters: “Well, here’s to us.”
Christopher Walken – The Headless Horseman, Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Walken has admitted his fondness for this role in the past purely because there weren’t any lines to learn at all. A world away from his lightfooted turn in the video for Fatboy Slim‘s Weapon of Choice (although that didn’t contain any lines, either), he makes the horseman suitably menacing and, at times, genuinely frightening.
Brendan Fraser – Link, California Man (1992)
One of those careers that seems to have hit the skids over the last decade or so, there was a time when Fraser was regularly hitting the mark in film comedies. Known as Encino Man in the States, this fun flick is notable for being a success at the box-office despite getting a mauling from the critics, due in no small measure to Fraser playing the lovable, grunting Neanderthal to perfection.
Christopher Lee – Kharis, The Mummy (1959)
With his tall, lithe frame and innate ability to create the darkest and most deathly of stares, Lee was perfect for the role of Kharis, the mummified ancient Egyptian high priest. Although being wrapped in bandages for most of the time couldn’t have been much fun – especially as he had to tumble into a lake at the end – it is arguably his most memorable Hammer performance after Dracula, and the film is notable for having a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Arnold Scwarzenegger – The Teminator, The Terminator (1984)
At no point was this list meant to be in any particular order, but it’s almost as if this entry demanded to be saved for last. Nothing can be said here that hasn’t already been mentioned about the genius of the casting, but did you know that Arnie speaks a total of 17 words throughout the entire film? Seven years later he was paid $15m to star in the sequel with 700 words to say – that’s $21,429 a word!
No doubt there are some more than honourable mentions that we’ve overlooked for this shortlist, so let us know if there are any glaring omissions in the comments section below.