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Top 10 Unlikely Action Stars

VO: Rebecca Brayton
There are actors who have immediate action star potential. This video is focused on the other guys! These are the movie actors who defined themselves in other genres or simply don't look the part, but somehow found themselves getting their hands dirty, firing guns and busting heads. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Unlikely Action Stars.
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Top 10 Unlikely Action Stars


Being typecast is for suckers! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Unlikely Action Stars.

Please be advised, this clip contains mature content. And just to be clear, we’re shinning a spotlight on the unlikely movie actors who defined themselves in other genres, but decided to get their hands dirty as action heroes capable of busting heads.

#10- Michael Cera “Scott Pilgrim Vs The World” (2010)


Kicking off our list kid who we all know best from awkward teen comedy roles in “Superbad” and” Juno”. Cera had successfully portrayed himself as a pathetic weakling, so we couldn’t help but be surprised at his casting as the super cool bass playing slacker with major Kung-Fu cred from the comics. Despite his “special” brand of awkwardness, he did manage to showcase major skills.

#9- Seth Rogen “The Green Hornet” (2011)


This chubby and gruff voiced funny man is best known for his raunchy comedies, like “Knocked Up”. However, after dabbling in some outrageous action in the finale of 2008’s “Pineapple Express”, the actor decided to personally reboot the superhero “The Green Hornet”. Of course, he brought his own brand of humor to the fights while playing the classic masked crime fighter.

#8- John Cusack “Con Air”/ Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)


Who doesn’t associate this guy with romance? Best known as the lover holding up the stereo in “Say Anything”, 1997 was the year that Cusack decided to take a stab at the action genre! He did so by playing a gun wielding U.S. Marshal in “Con Air”, and a skilled hit man looking to exit the business in “Grosse Point Blank”. Can’t imagine him in a fight? Well there’s no need to imagine…

#7- Meryl Streep “The River Wild” (1994)


She’s the most talented and critically acclaimed actress’s of all time, and best known for…well…everything. Queue our surprise when she took on this physically demanding gig as a rafter whose family is taken hostage, leading her to navigate rapids at gunpoint, before turning the tables on her captors and showing Kevin Bacon who’s boss!

#6- Liam Neeson "Taken" (2008)


This veteran Irish movie star is unique from others on the list. He had dabbled in the action genre in such films as “Darkman”, “Rob Roy” and “Star Wars”, but his sensibilities and strong acting abilities have always kept us noticing him elsewhere. Imagine our surprise when he completely redefined himself as a marketable action star with “Taken”. Seriously though, who ever imagined that bad guys would be made to fear the wrath of Shindler fist?

#5- Ryan Gosling "Drive" (2011)


This pretty boy from “The Mickey Mouse Club” defined himself as a student in “Breaker High” and as a heartthrob in “The Notebook”. However, it was his role in “Drive” that redefined the man, changing his career trajectory and landing him on “The Gangster Squad.” We bet his female fans never imagined seeing their favorite sweetheart boy do this to another human being! Then again, we doubt they care.

#4- Geena Davis “Cutthroat Island” (1995), The Long Kiss Goodnight” (1996)


This sweetheart actress went from being in a league of her own as a comedy star, to becoming a swashbuckling lady pirate in “Cutthroat Island”, which allowed her to fight alongside the boys, despite it turning into one of the biggest box office bombs of all time. Even more incredibly, the following year she transformed into the deadliest spy in “The Long Kiss Goodnight”, showed Samuel L. Jackson who’s the real bad motherfucker.

#3- Uma Thurman “Kill Bill” (2003)


This actress similarly came from a more dramatic background. While few would have labeled her as actions star material, her quest for bloody vengeance in “Kill Bill” has us wondering how we could have even doubted her! Hacking and slashing her way into our hearts, we can overlook her cringe worthy attempt at getting in on the action with 1998’s “The Avengers”! We’re not surprised you don’t remember that movie…

#2- Michael Keaton “Batman”


Keaton made a career out of lending his twitchy persona to films “Mr. Mom” and “Beetlejuice”. Lacking the handsome features and the height that was required, no one was even close to prepared for director Tim Burton’s decision to cast the physically unassuming actor as the Dark Knight. In fact, comic fans wrote thousands of letters to protest the decision. As it turned out, he had a few tricks in his utility belt!

#1- Matt Damon “The Bourne Trilogy” (2002-2007)


Taking the top spot on our list is the actor who played a genius in “Good Will Hunting”, a poker player in “Rounders” and a golfer in “The Legend of Bagger Vance”. His move to action was especially unexpected, and frankly necessary, as his career stalled and needed a good kick in the rear. Though many thought he was bound to wind up in silly rom coms and melodramas, nowadays it seems that he was Bourne for action.

Agree with our list? Which actor is the last person you ever imagined trying their luck as an action star? For more entertaining Top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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