What is acting if not a bid to capture a small piece of immortality, to live forever on the silver screen? Sure it’s a little bit more involved than that, but who doesn’t want to avoid death for as long as possible? These six actors have taken it one step further, and made a career of playing characters who can never die. Meet the Immortals:
6. Sean Connery
In Highlander (1986) and Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Sean Connery plays the immortal mentor of Christopher Lambert’s younger, brasher Highlander. You could technically argue that the Highlanders aren’t immortal, as they have a weakness for getting their heads chopped off. But that’s splitting hairs (no pun intended). Then in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), Connery plays the near-immortal Allan Quartermain. Quartermain is getting on in years, but the adventurer — at least in Alan Moore’s original comic — will live forever.
5. Hugh Jackman
Though there have been many, many interpretations of the Canuck with claws, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has proven through three X-Men movies to be invulnerable to nearly every form of attack, including getting all of his skin and muscles ripped off. In the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine, we’ll learn that Wolvie has been alive for almost a century by the time we meet him, with no signs of aging. That spells immortality to me. And then there’s The Fountain (2006), which shows how true love survives through three different eras, thanks in part to the titular fountain (of youth, don’t you know). Though technically not immortal, Jackman does inhabit the reincarnated spirit of the same being through three different lifetimes, so we’ll give him a pass.
4. Christopher Lambert
The B.J. to Sean Connery’s Bear, Lambert has appeared as Connor MacLeod in nearly every iteration of the Highlander series, including the television show, Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994), and Highlander: Endgame (2000). But he’s not just a head-protecting swordsman: Lambert also controls lightning as the Kung Fu-fighting god Rayden in Mortal Kombat (1995). Will Lambert pull a hat trick and play an immortal in a third series? Only time, of which he seems to boast an endless supply, will tell.
3. Bill Nighy
Nighy has had a long career, and is extending it even longer playing some of the most iconic, scene chewing immortals of our time. Despite being killed in Underworld (2003), like any good immortal he comes back for Underworld: Evolution (2006) and Rise of the Lycans (2009) playing Viktor, king of the vampires. Even though the Underworld series is popular, it’s no match for the blockbuster 2006 and 2007 casts Nighy as the villainous half man/half fish Davy Jones, forever cursed to roam the seas. Getting his heart back would cure him of such immortality, but good heavens, why would he want to do that?
2. Brad Pitt
Considering how human Pitt makes most of his characters, it’s surprising that he embraces the unearthly so often. Yet that’s just what he does in Interview With The Vampire (1994), which has Pitt mixing it up with Tom Cruise and a young Kirsten Dunst as the playboy vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac. Then there’s Meet Joe Black (1998), which is all about immortality… Or rather, mortality, as Pitt plays Death, made human for the love of a woman. Though Pitt eventually returns to his immortal state, the movie emphasizes what most good immortality plays do: That with the absence of death, there is no life.
1. Tilda Swinton
With her pale skin, piercing eyes, and bird-like physique, Swinton looks like a creature not of our world — and often takes on roles as such. In Orlando (1992), Swinton plays the immortal who lives so long, she/he occasionally switched gender. Then there’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (2005), which casts her as the White Witch, an immortal being of unspeakable evil — and quite the cool cat at that. And finally, in Constantine (2005), Swinton plays the angel Gabriel, who has lived so long she’s been driven mad. Immortality doesn’t always seem to be a good thing, huh?