John Malkovich’s biographyOne of the most mysterious Hollywood residents, John Malkovich, has created numerous unforgettable characters. The actor himself states that it comes to him effortless, all he has to do is release inner energy and put it in the desired shape. John doesn’t believe in the Stanislavski’s system and prefers to improvise on the set, what is more, he’d never accept a role he’s not highly interested in.
ChildhoodJohn Gavin Malkovich was born on December 9, 1953, in Illinois. He is of Serbian descent. John’s father, Daniel Malkovich, was an environmentalist and worked as a conservation director and his mother was a production editor at a publishing house.
Beginning of the acting careerIn 1982, Malkovich received an Obie Award (an annual award is given to off-Broadway theater artists) for his performance in True West. Two years later he was invited to one of the Broadway theaters, where he performed in Death of a Salesman alongside already famous at the time Dustin Hoffman.
Following such a successful debut, Malkovich was literally showered with offers. Casting directors could sense endless creative energy, which could turn any mediocre film into a masterpiece, in this tall awkward balding man with a heavy lower jaw and a short turned-up nose.
RecognitionTwo films, starring John Malkovich, came out in 1987 and instantly received a cult following. Drama film The Glass Menagerie, a replication of production of the Tennessee Williams play of the same title is considered to be one of the best adaptations of a celebrated memory play. The film was directed by Paul Newman and starred Joanne Woodward and Karen Allen. John Malkovich’s exquisite portrayal of Tom Wingfield is considered to be unsurpassed.
The charm of evilJohn Malkovich portrayed Vicomte de Valmont, who was killed in a duel with Danceny, portrayed by Keanu Reeves, in a historical romantic drama Dangerous Liaisons. Malkovich embodied a conflicted character, both cynical and romantic, and overall very multifaceted, which chose death instead of living without love and hope, to perfection. The brilliant actor duo was joined by Glenn Close and very young Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman.
By the end of 1990 a drama The Sheltering Sky directed by no other than Bernardo Bertolucci was released. John played a rich man, cynical and satiated with his own prosperity. While the American audience due to certain cultural contexts did not truly understand the big takeaway of the film, European viewers, always reflecting on the immortality of one’s soul, welcomed the drama with much more enthusiasm.
Best rolesRarely does John Malkovich’s name appears first when the credits start rolling, however, it was his name that became the title of the film, which gained the cult status. The fantasy comedy-drama Being John Malkovich follows a puppeteer who finds a portal that leads into Malkovich's mind, where you can see everything he thinks about and can even partly control it.
Malkovich appeared in a French television series Les Misérables, where he played a police inspector Javert, pursuing Jean Valjean and his adopted daughter Cosette. The series boasted a star-studded cast: Gérard Depardieu portrayed a former convict, Cosette was portrayed by Virginie Ledoyen, while Asia Argento, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Christian Clavier appeared in supporting roles.
Malkovich was surprisingly cast against type and for once portrayed a decent character and not a villain in a mystery crime drama film The Changeling, the plot of which revolves around a mother trying to prove that she’s raising someone else’s son. John portrayed Reverend Briegleb, one of few people who believed Angelina Jolie’s character and helped her escape a psychiatric ward.
Between 2010 and 2015, Malkovich appeared in a supernatural western action Jonah Hex, where he tried to create the army of the dead and seize power, and inaction comedies RED and RED 2, where he portrayed a former CIA agent forced to go back to his old days, alongside Bruce Willis, Brian Cox and Morgan Freeman.
The most memorable movies of 2017, starring John, are a crime thriller Bullet Head, where he co-starred with Adrien Brody and Antonio Banderas, a romantic comedy The Wilde Wedding, where Malkovich appeared alongside Glenn Close, and a British thriller film Unlocked, where the actor portrayed the CIA Europe Division Chief.