History Repeating: Part 2

Here’s part two of the series comparing a British, Irish, or Australian actor of the 1960s to a contemporary counterpart. To revisit part one, click here.

Michael York

Best known for: Logan’s Run, Cabaret, The Three Musketeers

York appeared on the scene in the late 60s. Though he was limited to a lot of pretty boy roles, he showed real depth in his turn in Cabaret and true star quality in my favorite sci-fi adventure Logan’s Run. He’s also an accomplished stage actor, and many younger film lovers may recognized him from the Austin Powers series.

Robert Pattinson

Best known for: Twilight, Water for Elephants, making tabloid headlines.

He’s more than just a pretty face. Pattinson may be best known for his personal life and relationship with Twilight costar Kristen Stewart; however his recent forays into serious drama (Cosmopolis, Bel Ami) have shown that he has potential.
Full Circle Moment: Pattinson’s most famous character, Edward Cullen, is fond of reciting Shakespeare, in particular Romeo and Juliet. York first gained real attention for his performance as Tybalt is Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.

Tom Courtenay

Best known for: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Billy Liar, Dr. Zhivago

Courtnenay didn’t fit the mold of a movie star, but his slim frame contained a combustible and volatile spirit that really connected with British youth at the time. In the intervening decades he has focused more on stage work, but his early film work helped usher in the British New Wave movement.

Andrew Garfield

Best known for:The Social Network, The Amazing Spiderman, Never Let Me Go

Garfield comes off quiet, a little gangly, and shy and that is what made him so interesting as Spiderman. He captures the heartbreak and anger of losing a loved one amid the sweetness of a lovestruck teenager while kicking a lot of ass.

Full Circle Moment: In 1968 Courtenay played Romeo at the University of Manchester Theatre, a precursor of Manchester’s Theatre Royal Exchange, where Garfield played Romeo in 2007.

Rod Taylor

Best Known for: The Time Machine, The Birds, The V.I.P.s

Taylor came to Hollywood from Australia in the 50s and worked his way up from supporting roles to dashing leading men. His performance in The Time Machine made him a star and showed his skill in the somewhat new genre of big budget sci-fi epics.

Sam Worthington

Best known for: Avatar, The Debt, Clash/ Wrath of the Titans.

Worthington’s tough guy demeanor works well in sci-fi and action adventure fodder, but he also has the ability to play real down-to-earth characters with ease. He is particularly good in Last Night and The Debt.

Full Circle Moment: They’re both Australian… That’s all I got.

Richard Harris

Best known for: This Sporting Life, The Molly Maguires, Unforgiven

Harris really came to prominence with his electric performance in This Sporting Life. He personified the angry young man generation and continued to play tough guys throughout his career. One late change of pace was his work as Dumbledore in the early Harry Potter films.

Idris Elba

Best known for: Luther, The Wire, Takers

A fascinating actor who can slip easily from gangster to detective to space ship captain, Idris Elba is just beginning to come into his own. His acting elevates cheesy or trashy stuff (like Takers and Obsessed) and his performance on Luther is just breathtaking. He is such a tough guy, but he also has such vulnerability.

Full Circle Moment: Ridley Scott had the good sense to cast Harris in Gladiator and Elba in Prometheus.

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