In Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson plays a seductive alien who drives a van around Scotland picking up and dispatching of unsuspecting males in enigmatic ways. To mark the release of the Blu-ray and DVD on 14th July, we reflect upon ten other beauties to have played beasts at some stage throughout their career. Spoilers abound!
Scarlett Johansson – Under the Skin (2014)
Acclaimed auteur Jonathan Glazer opted to adapt Michael Faber’s novel of the same name, instead making a film which represented a sole female alien’s perspective of the human world, bravely casting the recognisable Scarlett Johansson in the film’s only lead role. The much-spoken about hidden camera angle (Johansson drove a van around Scotland, luring unsuspecting men into her trap with the promise of sex) provides a talking point, but Johansson’s (literally) naked performance highlights not only the flaws of her alien actions, but the flaws of the world that we live in today.
Uma Thurman – Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief (2010)
Starring amongst an all-star cast in young adult novel adaptation Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief, Uma Thurman goes full on mad woman as mystical villainess Medusa, fit with her head full of snakes. One look at Uma in all her beastly glory and you’ll turn to a petrified slab of stone!
Michelle Pfeiffer – Stardust (2007)
Lamia, one of three witches in Matthew Vaughn’s fantasy Stardust, is played with relish by actress Michelle Pfeiffer. Her villainess antics include eating the remains of a heart her fellow witches had cut from a star years previous, murdering innocent folk using voodoo dolls, and setting a trap to ensnare Yvaine (Claire Danes), herself a fallen star.
Natasha Henstridge – Species (1995)
Species stars Natasha Henstridge as Sil, a killer alien seductress who must be stopped before she mates with a human male. A spawn of scientific merging of alien and human DNA, her violent outbursts begin at a young age and continue all the way through the film as the body count increases. Sil was created by the late H. R. Giger. Henstridge headed up Species II, and had a cameo role in straight-to-video third film Species III.
Nicole Kidman – Batman and Robin (1997)
Despite its critical panning and box-office bombing, Batman and Robin features a memorable turn from Nicole Kidman as Poison Ivy, a botanist transformed into the villainess when murdered with animal-plant toxins and chemicals. Teaming up with Batman’s nemesis Mr. Freeze (infamously played by Arnie), she vows to use her new-found powers to establish botanical supremacy over the world.
Kate Beckinsale – Underworld (2003)
A primary character throughout all Underworld films to date (4 in total, despite only briefly appearing in Rise of the Lycans (2009), Kate Beckinsale plays the avenging warrior Vampire with such a committed panache, participating in brilliantly-choreographed fight scene after fight scene. She soon becomes a Death Dealer, fighting against the Lycans for crimes she believes they committed against her family.
Megan Fox – Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Megan Fox plays a possessed cheerleader in Jennifer’s Body, a black comedy horror film from screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno). Killing her male classmates, it is down to Amanda Seyfried’s best friend Anita to stop her in her tracks as Jennifer goes about the film spewing black fluid and disembowelling corpses as the victim of a virgin demonic sacrifice gone wrong – the problem being, at the time of sacrifice, she wasn’t a virgin.
Naomie Harris – Pirates of the Caribbean (2006-2007)
Tia Dalma doesn’t appear in Gore Verbinski’s first film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, but makes her initial appearance (albeit briefly) in Dead Man’s Chest with a more enhanced role following in third film At World’s End – in which it is discovered she is actually the sea goddess Calypso. With Skyfall’s Naomie Harris playing the Jamaican-accented creature, if anger is roused, her fury knows no bounds…
Mila Kunis – Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)
When James Franco’s small-town magician Oscar Diggs arrives in Oz following a tornado, he is introduced to the Emerald City’s inhabitants, witches Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams). Set 20 years before the 1939 classic, the tale follows the true wicked witch Evanora who manipulates Theodora into believing their new arrival has betrayed her for Glinda, and thus bringing around her transformation into memorable villainess (and very green) Wicked Witch of the West we all remember so well.
Angelina Jolie – Maleficent (2014)
Fleshing out the back story of one of Disney’s most well-remembered villainesses (she appeared in 1959’s Sleeping Beauty), Angelina Jolie was the actress tasked with adding a humane-layering to the strong and powerful fairy, Maleficent. Befit with horns and wings (burned off at a young age), Maleficent shields her kingdom with an impenetrable field of thorns.
Under the Skin is available on digital platforms on July 7th and on Blu-ray & DVD on 14th July, 2014.
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