Unlike my previous installment of this occasional series, Toby Kebbell is not someone that I don’t recognize and have to chase down his previous roles to figure out why he seems familiar. On the contrary, I have recognized him instantly since 2008 when he was Johnny Quid, the titular Rocker, in RocknRolla. He plays an incredibly charismatic addict who is, by turns, charming, helpless, manipulative, ruthless, and shockingly violent. When I found out they were making a Game of Thrones series I wanted him to be Daario more than I’ve wanted any other fantasy casting in my life. Tragically, Weiss and Benioff never asked me. But Kebbell has been kicking around in vaguely menacing secondary or tertiary roles in big movies that mostly failed miserably for a while now, and appears on the verge of actually breaking out to be a name. Let’s take a look at where you might have seen him!
For those of you who are fans of Black Mirror, you might recognize him from “The Entire History of You”, where people have “grains” implanted in their heads that allow them to record and playback their memories exactly as they saw them. It was depressing as hell, which should go without saying for Black Mirror.
He’s been in The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time as Garsiv, the 2015 Fantastic Four as Doctor Doom, and as Messala in the recent Ben-Hur. He played goddamned John Wilkes Booth in The Conspirator, which is a movie about Lincoln’s assassination in which John Wilkes Booth is actually not the main character. He was also Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and apparently two characters in Warcraft: The Beginning in which he was mostly unrecognizable. He’s been around, is what I’m saying. Working with extremely famous people in some very big budget projects that mostly seemed to die on the vine, at least domestically.
Things are looking up for Kebbell, though, as he was more recently the dad in A Monster Calls and has what seems to be a prominent role in McConaughey’s next ugly movie, Gold. He’s also in the upcoming Kong: Skull Island, but given his track record with big budget tentpole projects, I’m less optimistic about that. However, there stands a good chance that Tobias Alistair Patrick Kebbell (yes, really) will be hitting your radar one way or another in the near future, if he hadn’t already.