The Great Performances

Acting is an art form, and behind every iconic character is an artist expressing themselves. The Great Performances is a recurring column in which Jacob Trussell explores the art behind some of cinema’s best roles.

If you are new to reading this column, we suggest starting with these entries:

Browse the archive for The Great Performances below

Louise Lasser in Blood Rage

The Method to Louise Lasser’s Madness in ‘Blood Rage’

By   

As the forlorn mother of an evil twin, she delivers an acting masterclass in this Thanksgiving-themed slasher.

Harold Perrineau in Romeo and Juliet

Harold Perrineau Made Shakespeare Sound Natural in ‘Romeo + Juliet’

By   

His modern approach to tackling the Bard’s dense language helped make one of the world’s most famous plays feel accessible to young audiences.

Naomi Watts In Mulholland Drive

Deconstructing the Duality of Naomi Watts in ‘Mulholland Drive’

By   

Multilayered doesn’t even begin to describe the complexities of her performance in David Lynch’s cryptic classic.

Evil Dead Bruce Campbell Ash

Bruce Campbell is the Ultimate Reluctant Hero in ‘The Evil Dead’

By   

Are you ready to admit how much you identify with the eternal cowardice of Campbell’s iconic character in Sam Raimi’s classic horror film?

Jeff Goldblum in The Fly

Only Jeff Goldblum Could Make Us Fall In Love with ‘The Fly’

By   

Even as his body slowly mutates into a giant insect, we can’t help but be enamored by Goldblum in David Cronenberg’s reimagining.

Sigourney Weaver In Aliens

Sigourney Weaver Subverted Stereotypes as Ellen Ripley in ‘Aliens’

By   

In space, no one has time for sentimentality.

Gene Wilder Willy Wonka Elevator

The Secret Behind Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka

By   

Eccentric and sinister, Wilder masks his iconic character’s true intentions behind a facade of charming cruelty.

Samuel L Jackson Gator Purify

Cannes Revived an Acting Award Just to Honor Samuel L. Jackson in ‘Jungle Fever’

By   

Before his name became synonymous with the acronym BAMF, Jackson delivered a devastating performance in Spike Lee’s sexual drama.

Divine

How ‘Polyester’ Showed Divine’s Incredible Acting Range

By   

Divine was cult film royalty, but his work in John Waters’ 1981 feature proved there was more to the performer than campy coprophagia.