Last week, Pajiban Sbrown pointed me towards this Guyism list of 8 Actors That Most Personify Manliness. She wrote, “Can you fix this? Can you rip apart the terribleness of the current list and make it better? I understand you may have other things to do…but, please ask yourself if they are really (really?) more important than allowing the world to think Arnold Schwarzenegger is the epitome of manliness?” Well, listen, there are a few things wrong with the Guyism list and I’m not going to waste a lot of your time pointing them out. But the list is a) a little dated b) comprised of far too many Planet Hollywood owners and c) has a really confusing, antiquated definition of manliness. If you were to make the female version of this list, I feel like it would be comprised of women who are dainty onscreen and then go home to whip up a crackerjack chocolate soufflé for their husband and kids. No cool.
This is the Guyism stipulation: “Not every actor is a man. And not every actor that is a man acts with manliness both on and off the screen. But, these actors encompass what it means to be hard working, ambitious heroes in the manliest ways possible; in fiction and reality.” While I don’t disagree with every actor on their list, this is my Pajiba version. No, I’m not going to populate this list with the slim-hipped and boyish men we so often praise. The following are the beefiest of steaks. But there’s a little brain to go with the brawn. After all, intelligence is pretty f*cking manly.
On Screen: Hardy is known for playing rough and tumble, muscle bound chaps. He’s also been smooth, tortured, and several times bewigged. A phenomenal actor and a real heir to the Macho Action Star Throne, Hardy is the entire package.
Off Screen: Hardy claims to have kicked alcoholism and crack addiction because of his son. Stepping up to the plate as a father? That’s pretty manly.
On Screen: The man is a f*cking samurai. I don’t care what role he’s playing, it’s always tinged with samurai. You think that’s racist? Tell me a role John Wayne played where he wasn’t a cowboy. Exactly.
Off Screen: He beat cancer. To a pulp.
On Screen: Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen need only squint his eyes (and usually only one eye) in your general direction to send chills up and down your spine. He’s played a Bond Villain, a Greek Warrior, a Knight of The Round Table and a Norse Warrior, all tent poles of manliness. Also? His name is Mads. That may be the Danish equivalent of “Matt,” but in English it’s spectacularly badass.
Off Screen: The man is a real life Danish knight, a motorcycle enthusiast who cites Steve McQueen as an inspiration. He also has this delightful thing to say about whiskey, “I’m a beer man. I tried to drink whiskey and Scotch but I don’t get it. It smells like a girl who didn’t shower and just splashed a lot of perfume on.” My kind of man.
On Screen: Clooney has a load of impressive credits to his name, but it speaks volumes that he was able to take on a role made famous by Frank Sinatra without anyone blinking an eye. In fact, I would say, most people think of Clooney first when they hear “Danny Ocean.”
Off Screen: Clooney could have sex with your mother, your sister and your wife without even trying. Hell, if he tried, he could probably score with you. Yet he doesn’t act like it. Always grinning, never smugly smirking. Clooney is a class act sex god.
On Screen: Despite being really really ridiculously good looking (and a former male model) Honsou is known for playing fierce and rough characters on screen. Although he’s often cast as a slave (Gladiator, Amistad, The Tempest, WTF), Hounsou has other plans in mind. He said, “America has this understanding of Africans that plays like National Geographic: a bunch of Negroes with loincloths running around the plain fields of Africa chasing gazelles. Meanwhile, we have Africans and African-Americans, contemporary men, with great stories, great integrity, great heroes and nobody wants to see or hear about those African heroes and those African-American heroes. One day, I will be in a position to play those great human beings on-screen.”
Off Screen: Did you see that? What he said above? That’s pretty boss.
On Screen: Olyphant’s career hinges on two portrayals of one of the manliest of American screen stereotypes: The Cowboy. While he’s had success in other roles (drug dealer, hit man, seducer of Jennifer Garner) it’s his morally superior glower as Seth Bullock and Raylan Givens that has made him a household name.
Off Screen: Olyphant served as an unpaid sportscaster for LA radio station Indie 103.1 for two years. During the height of his “Deadwood” fame. Sports are manly, right?
On Screen: Bardem vibrates with a rare quality: machismo. It shines out of him from head to toe. Though he spends much of his time playing tortured, thoughtful individuals in independent and foreign films, he impressed himself on the American consciousness as one of the great monsters of cinema when he played Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men. He followed that up with a Woody Allen movie where he boned Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Rebecca Hall. That’s machismo.
Off Screen: He impregnated one of the most beautiful and talented women in all of cinema. That’s virile machismo.
On Screen: As Captain Jack Harkness, Barrowman was the most sexual being in all of time and space.
Off Screen: He has sex. With men. I can’t think of anything manlier than two dudes having sex. Can you?