My Movie Alphabet Blogathon – Actors/Directors Edition

Thanks to Mettel Ray for starting this Movie Alphabet as part of her 400th Blog Post celebration! Her original list consists of movies, directors, actors and actresses, but to switch things up, I’d like to just focus on actors and directors for my list as I’ve done the film version in this Cinematic Alphabet a year ago. So for each letter in the alphabet, I choose to highlight those whose work and performances have become my favorite over the years. I might add honorable mentions later on but it’s taken me much longer than I thought to even just coming up with these, so without further ado, here we go:

A  – Audrey Hepburn

The epitome of beauty and class. I love Audrey ever since my mother brought My Fair Lady from her trip to Europe when I could barely speak any English. She’s such a captivating actress beautiful inside and out, I really admire her charity work outside of her iconic performance in many delightful films.

B – Ben Affleck

I never thought I’d  put Ben Affleck on any of my favorite list, but the only reason I’m putting him here is for his DIRECTING work, especially Gone Baby Gone and ARGO. I think he’s become one of the most talented directors working today.

C – Cate Blanchett

I love this beautiful and massively talented Aussie actress. I haven’t seen her in anything all year so I’m so looking forward to seeing her reprise her role as Galadriel in The Hobbit! I’m also excited to see her in Terrence Malick’s upcoming film Knight of Cups with Christian Bale! I think she might be in two films with Terrence Malick next year.

D – Denzel Washington

I just love how dignified his name sounds and he certainly is a classy actor, not to mention gorgeous. There are some films that don’t appeal to me until he’s cast, and even in so-so movies, Denzel is still great to watch. I think one of his best roles is Philadelphia and American Gangster (I have yet to see Training Day yet).

E – Ewan McGregor

Clearly I have a penchant for Scottish guys, especially the cute ones who can sing 😉 I haven’t seen too many of Ewan’s work but I LOVE him in Moulin Rouge and boy, he could’ve easily have a singing career! He also sang in Velvet Goldmine in his earlier days but his role as the romantic poet Christian stole my heart. His duet with Nicole Kidman is just lovely!

F – Frances O’Connor

I just saw this Aussie actress in Lumpy at TCFF screening and was pleasantly surprised to see her in that film. I think she’s so massively underrated, I wish she had gotten more roles in Hollywood. I absolutely love her in Mansfield Park and also in the time travel adventure Timeline.

G – Gerard Butler

Speaking of cute Scots who can sing 😉 Well I think it’s obvious who I’d pick for G right, he..he.. Seems like a lot of my crushes’ names start with G… Gregory Peck, Gabriel Byrne… but I think Gerry is the only one I’m most consistent on. It’s been interesting following his career over the years and even though he hasn’t got a hit yet lately, I think he’s a charismatic and talented actor, not to mention versatile! So yeah, I think I’ll be a GB fan for years to come.

H – Harrison Ford

It’s amazing how he almost quit acting after American Grafitti! Can’t imagine a more successful actor with so many lucrative franchises under his belt. I like him in action films, but he also shines in dramas like Regarding Henry. My all time favorite role shall always be Indiana Jones though, I mean, he’s the epitome of effortless machismo.

I – Ian McKellen

I was flabbergasted that Sean Connery turned down a high-paying job playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings franchise, but now I can’t imagine anyone else by Sir Ian McKellen in that role. His gravitas and THAT voice that can be both authoritative and soothing makes his performance so iconic. I also love his villainous turn as Magneto in the X-Men films, as well as his super creepy role in Apt Pupil.

J – Judi Dench

One of my three favorite British dames – along with Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith – the 77-year-old thespian has such a strong screen presence and an un-inimitable voice to boot! As I said in my Skyfall review, it’s the best casting decision ever to have her play M. She made the usually forgettable character so much more interesting, no wonder Mendes gave her so much more screen time in the latest Bond flick. I also love her softer side in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

K – Keanu Reeves

I love Keanu… or Chuck as my friend Mark calls him. Yes he’s not the most expressive actors but he’s got quite a screen presence and that certain unique-ness that separate him from the pack. He’s great in action flicks surely (The Matrix, Speed, Constantine, etc.), but I also love him as a romantic lead in A Walk in the Clouds. I just rewatched Point Break recently which was done 21 years ago, and seeing him in the 2012 documentary Side by Side, it’s amazing how this guy practically doesn’t age!

L – Lee Pace

Ok I just realize there are like five Hobbit-related people on this list, ahah, trust me it’s not intentional but clearly Peter Jackson has a keen eye for casting. I’m truly hoping that this highly-anticipated LOTR prequel will launch a few actors’ career, one of them is this super talented Oklahoma native who wowed me in The Fall and also Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day. How this guy is not more famous than Ryan Gosling is beyond me!

M – Michael Mann

For someone as accomplished as Mr Mann, I’m surprised he’s not as prolific. He’s only got ten feature films under his belt, and out of the seven I have seen so far I’ve only been disappointed with this one. I’ve been watching his work as executive producer of the Miami Vice TV show which was one of my favorites growing up. But he’s done at least three that I’d consider a masterpiece: Heat, The Insider and The Last of the Mohicans; whilstthe other three are very, very good.

N – Nicole Kidman

I don’t always seek out every movie she’s in but she’s definitely a darn good actress. It’s quite interesting to see her transformation from a freckled-face redhead to a glamorous porcelain-skinned doll much like her character in The Stepford Wives. I really think she needs to lay off Botox or whatever it is she’s using, as I think she’s already very beautiful. She can be quite fierce if she wants to be, like in To Die For, but one of my favorite roles is the tormented courtesan Satine in Moulin Rouge.

O – Olivia Williams

There are two Olivias I was going to include here, the other one was Olivia de Havilland who played Melanie in Gone With the Wind. But I decided to go with the one I’ve seen more of. I’ve only seen the London native’s work in supporting roles (The Sixth Sense, An Education), but they’re all very good. She was particularly good in a scene-stealing role in The Ghost Writer as the wife of a retired UK Prime Minister. I’m not too fond of the film but she was memorable.

P – Peter Jackson

He hasn’t made many films, but the Lord of the Rings is one of my all time favorite franchise, hence my anticipation for The Hobbit. I’m also one of those who likes King Kong, so I might still give The Lovely Bones a try one of these days despite the dismal reviews. Even when he’s not making films, he’s indirectly contributed to major hits like X-Men: First Class, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Prometheus, etc. through his visual effects company WETA Digital.

Q – Quentin Tarantino

As I’m not a fan of violent movies, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of QT’s films but I can’t deny his talent and brutal honesty for ‘copying’ other filmmakers work whilst still making them his own. Out of the three of his films I’ve seen, I think I like Inglourious Basterds the most. It’s one of those films I never thought I’d enjoy but it was definitely a pleasant surprise despite my nerves being stretched to its snapping point in more than one occasion.

R – Richard Armitage

I think if you’ve read this blog you should notice this tall, dark and handsome Brit gets a lot of mentions. In fact, I dedicated a post when he was cast in The Hobbit as Thorin! I fell for him in the BBC miniseries North & South, but he also wowed me in other series since – The Vicars of Dibley, MI-5 and Strike Back. I sincerely hope this role in The Hobbit will (finally) catapult his career in Hollywood. He’s far too gorgeous and too talented to only be confined in TV world!

S – Sean Connery

Ok, even as a Bond aficionado, I wasn’t exactly planning on putting two Bond actors back-to-back on this list, but hey, why not? Sir Sean was perhaps the most famous Scottish movie star when he was cast as 007 and having seen Dr. No recently, he certainly has the looks and swagger like nobody’s business. The former body builder is more than just a Bond actor though, he’s great in various roles such as The Untouchables, The Hunt of Red October, Just Cause, The Rock, and of course, his scene-stealing role in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!

T – Timothy Dalton

Here’s another Bond actor who’s sooo much more than his most famous role. In fact, even though he’s my favorite Bond (yes Daniel Craig is a close second), I absolutely adore him in a role that’s as far away as 007 as you can get: Mr. Rochester in BBC’s 1983 Jane Eyre. He’s wonderful in larger-than-life heroic roles like Julius Caesar, but I also love him as a baddie in The Rocketeer and the made-for-TV thriller Framed with David Morrissey. I’ve already covered how criminally underrated he is and how much I’d love to see him in a romantic thriller with the likes of a fellow seasoned Brit Helen Mirren, so I think my feelings for him is clear.

U – Uma Thurman

I haven’t seen Uma in anything lately but I quite like her in some roles. Her Oscar-nominated performance in Pulp Fiction made her a star and a cult classic status. Seems like QT knows how to tailor a role for her as she was memorably bad ass in the Kill Bill movies. She’s going to co-star with Gerry Butler in his upcoming soccer dramedy Playing for Keeps but curiously absent from all the promos for the film as they seem to only feature Catherine Zeta-Jones or Jessica Biel. Does that say something about her current star power??

V – Vanessa Redgrave

Did you know that Vanessa Redgrave was in a relationship with Timothy Dalton for fourteen years? Apparently they met on the set of Mary, Queen of Scots and were both passionate about Shakespeare, natch! I have been seeing her in a few films lately and she’s certainly a force on screen, from her younger years starring in Camelot all the way to her spectacular supporting role in Coriolanus. I love her in Letters for Juliet where she actually co-starred with her current husband Franco Nero.

W – William Wyler

Every time I go through his filmography, I’m always amazed at Mr. Wyler’s varied work. He’s one of those directors who can’t be confined into any genre as he could do tackle any one of them. Three of my favorite films of his are a Biblical epic (Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ), a western (The Big Country) and a romantic comedy (Roman Holiday). I still need to see the war drama Mrs. Miniver, amongst a plethora of his other work.

X – Professor X

Ok, I don’t know of ANY actor/director with this name so I broke the rule a bit and feature one of my favorite characters instead. Professor Charles Xavier of the X-Men franchise was played by two brilliant actor: Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the prequel X-Men: First Class. I LOVE both of their performances and the character itself is inherently intriguing and his relationship with his friend-turned-nemesis Magneto is the most compelling part of that franchise.

Y – Yul Brynner

Ok, there are very limited names that starts with Y so I chose Yul Brynner for his iconic performance in The King and I and The Ten Commandments. Apart from those two films I haven’t seen anything else he’s done. The Russian actor (his real name was Yuli Borisovich Bryner) has one of those ‘exotic’ look that made him quite versatile playing all kinds of ethnic characters. He’s also an accomplished photographer and often take pictures of the sets of the various projects he worked on over the years.

Z – Zhang Yimou

I had just become acquainted with his work a few years ago when I saw House of Flying Daggers and was treated to such a visual feast of vivid colors and breathtaking cinematography. His distinct visual style is legendary, which you might have seen in the Jet Li movie Hero or if you saw the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games Opening Ceremony in which he directed. His latest work was Flowers of War which I still need to see one of these days.

Well that’s my Movie Alphabet, folks. Hope you enjoy my list. If you haven’t done one already, I invite you to join in on the fun!

65 thoughts on “My Movie Alphabet Blogathon – Actors/Directors Edition

  1. Frances O’Connor! I love her work in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, and she was fun in The Importance of Being Earnest.

    G and T are quite shocking. 😉

    Audrey Hepburn, Harrison Ford, William Wyler…terrific picks all around, Ruth! 🙂

    1. Oh right, she was in AI too! How could I forget her in ‘Earnest’? I have to rewatch that again. He..he.. as for G and T, well with this kind of list, one can indulge a little bit, right?

  2. what a fun meme!! I’d love to do it too…but C will be problematic, 3 of my fav people has C as their first name.

    hahaha you know Keanu will be in my list too 😉

    I think I will do this on the end of the month.

    1. Yeah that was my problem with ‘G’ ha..ha.. I LOVE Keanu, it was an easy choice. Do this one Nov, it takes a while but it’s quite fun actually.

  3. Brilliant choices in this list, love to see that we have so much in common in which actors/directors we love. Something that is obvious with this list as I could have easily picked so many of your choices myself. 🙂

  4. I’m in love with over 90% of the people you’ve listed her. Nice shout-out to Frances O’Connor… I first saw her with Brenden Frasier in Bedazzled. Most people didn’t enjoy that film but its one of my guilty pleasures!

  5. Great list Ruth. I liked this a lot. Four Scots making the cut and a mention for myself as well? Haha, superb!

    Nice to see you include ‘Chuck’ 😉 and your inclusion of Zhang Yimou at the end was very clever. He’s a fantasic director yet i’d never have thought of him.

    1. He..he.. well when I said I have a penchant for them I wasn’t kidding, right? Yes, I do like Chuck very much! Oh glad to see you like Mr. Zhang too, I still need to see a few more of his work though.

        1. I haven’t either Mark, but you should check out House of Flying Dagger, it’s a bit on the romantic side but the fight scenes and cinematography are spectacular.

  6. Interesting choices Ruth, especially Yul Brynner.
    Like you I’ve only seen him in two films, both were westerns, the classic Magnificent Seven and little known sauerkraut western Romance of a Horse thief.
    I’m glad you share my appreciation of Michael Mann too, like you I grew up on Miami Vice and I’ve enjoyed revisiting the complete box set of the series over the last couple of years….Heat was awesome too!

    1. Hi Paul! Well there isn’t much of an option for Y but Brynner was so iconic in some of his performances. Oh that’s cool that you have the Miami Vice box set, I do love that show growing up.

  7. Patricia T

    Great list! I think I’ll definitely give this A-Z a go too.

    Peter Jackson’s a great choice. Though I never liked King Kong and just a warning, The Lovely Bones is barely OK, but I have such a soft spot for Lord of the Rings and The Frighteners is such a good film, so I can’t help liking him too!

    1. Hi Terry. I think Nicole is beautiful and talented, I just wish she doesn’t have to strive too hard to be perfect looking. Ha..ha.. well, I actually thought of Q’orianka Kilcher as well for Q as I like her in The New World 🙂

  8. Cool idea to spin this into actors & directors only! I remember doing the Cinematic Alphabet a couple years ago, too, and I like the idea of doing one focused on people instead of film titles. I may have to get in on this 😀

    Nice work, Ruth!

    1. Yes, do so Eric! I figure since I’ve done the cinematic list, it might be easier to focus on actors/directors but it still took me a long time to choose ’em 🙂

  9. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth and company:

    Very interesting list!

    Intriguing write up on Michael Mann. I tend to agree with you on ‘Public Enemies’. Depp does more than due diligence for his role as John Dillinger. Though Christian Bale seems and feels a bit miscast in an otherwise solidly cast film. I still don’t understand the hoopla and attraction of Marion Cottilard. Outside of her spot on role as young Coco Chanel. All she projects to me is well packaged beauty without a requisite balance of talent.

    Pleasantly surprised with your choice of William Wyler. Who could easily handle a full blow, big budget epic like ‘Ben Hur’. Touching, very human melodramas like ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’. Light hearted comedies like ‘How To Steal a Million’. To 1970s message movies, like ‘The Liberation of L.B. Jones’.


    1. Hello Jack! Yeah I wasn’t fond of Marion in Public Enemies either and you’re right Bale didn’t seem right either.

      Oh you put me to shame that I haven’t seen those other three films by Wyler, I need to get on that 🙂

      Thanks and hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, my friend!

      1. jackdeth72

        Hi, Ruth:

        Had a great Thanksgiving on Friday with my older brother, sister, niece and way too much food. Going to drop by Sunday to pick up large quantities of left overs.

        May I suggest Wyler’s ‘How To Steal a Million’ for an in-home date night. A neat, often elegant comedy with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole.

        1. I’m sure tons of people are enjoying leftovers for days now, enjoy Jack!

          Oh that sounds like a good one, I’m definitely up for ‘How To Steal a Million.’ Fantastic suggestion, my friend!

  10. Ted S.

    Good work Ruth, I don’t think I can come up with this kind of list, too much work. LOL.

    I agree that Frances O’Connor get more roles but she doesn’t have that Hollywood look so she probably got turned away by producers and studio executives. She’s good in AI and a small part in John Woo’s very bad WW2 film Windtalkers. Apparently her part was heavily edited out of the film.

    1. Ahah well it took me 3 days to finish, I mean coming up with the pictures alone took some time. Yeah Hollywood is so into cookie-cutter type of actress, I think Frances is beautiful but not bimbo-ish, y’know. She was great in AI now that I look at some of her clips again.

  11. Yay for William Wyler! I’ve been filling out some of the gaps in his filmography that I had lately. I just saw Dodsworth and The Heiress, and they were fantastic. This is a very nice list! Yay for Olivia Williams, too.

  12. Nice to see Frances O’Conner, Olivia Williams and some love for Michael Mann’s Miami Vice.

    I remember first seeing Frances playing a bad girl in the Australian indie Kiss or Kill. The movie’s not too bad if you don’t mind a barrage of jarring jump cuts like in The Limey and Godard’s films.

    I’ve been rewatching Olivia in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse on Netflix. She’s very good on that although I’ll always remember her from Rushmore. I’ll have to watch that again.

    I was a big Miami Vice fan too. The show had me at Jan Hammer’s theme song. It was just so… cool. In the 80’s Michael Mann (Crime Story also) and David Lynch really paved the way for directors coming over to TV. Of course Hitch started it all back in the mid 50’s but TV never seemed to catch on for Hollywood directors.

    1. I had no idea Olivia was in ‘Dollhouse,’ I wonder if Whedon would give her a small part in The Avengers sequel? She’s so underrated.

      Oh yeah, Miami Vice theme song is practically iconic. I even love the Universal Studio theatrical play of it, definitely a fun action series. The film was decidedly darker, I kind of like the campiness of the show, ahah, what with Crockett’s alligator pet and all 🙂

    1. You should do one too if you haven’t already, Jaina. Yeah, so many actors I’m looking forward to in The Hobbit, and Lee Pace is high on that list! 😉

  13. Glad Kidman got a mention here, and i do think Uma isn’t being viewed as a box office draw since she hasn’t had a commercial hit in a while

    Good list. I may try to do a actors/directors edition alphabet myself, but i’m not sure i could think of enough people to fill it

    1. Hi Julian, long time no ‘see.’ 🙂 Yeah that’s what I think about Uma, but who knows she might have a come back one day. Hey, I think you should join in on the fun and do your own list!

    1. Thanks Morgan. I actually thought it’d be easier to limit the list to just actors/directors but it still took me a while to finish, ahah. Wow, none that you’d disagree with? I’m happy to hear that! 😀

          1. Them and a few others — William Wyler, Zhang Yimon, Olivia Williams — heck, although I’ve seen Ben Affleck act, I haven’t seen his directorial work. Of course, a lot of times I’m familiar with the name but just haven’t seen them in anything (or just don’t remember doing so).

            1. Oh man, you should check out at least one of them. Gone Baby Gone remains the best one I think, though ARGO is excellent! I also recommend Ben-Hur from Wyler of course 🙂

    1. Why thank you T, glad you like my list. I try to include a mix of classics & contemporary and also some underrated ones. I’d love for you to do this list too but I understand that you are super busy 😀

        1. I think you can do whatever you want with the list, T. I just chose to focus on actors/directors as I’ve done the cinematic version before. Take your time, I’ll be sure to visit when you have it done! 🙂

  14. Awesome choices! I love Vanessa Redgrave – she is still so beautiful and she is such a class act! My favorite on the list is Lee Pace – I love Pushing Daisies and he was actually in new Twilight movie and my God, was he hot in that. Made the film very enjoyable ^^

Join the conversation by leaving a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s