The Screen Room
Movie Villain Monday: Mr. Benedict - Last Action Hero (1993)
It’s Movie Villain Monday and today’s movie villain was suggested a few weeks ago in the comments on Facebook.
It’s Mr. Benedict from the underrated 90s action comedy, Last Action Hero (1993).
Who is Mr. Benedict?
Played by the excellent Charles Dance (OBE), Mr. Benedict is the head henchman of Mafia Boss Tony Vivaldi in the movie, set within the movie of Last Action Hero - “Jack Slater IV”.
He soon becomes the main antagonist when he steals a magical golden ticket that grants the owner the power to transport into and out of movies and kills his former boss. He then escapes into the real world pursued by the movie’s hero and protagonist Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Confused yet..? 😳
Mr. Benedict is a well spoken, well dressed and well groomed villain. He wears a striking, all white linen suit for most of the movie but his defining feature is his glass eye that he changes several times throughout the film.
Director John McTiernan (Die Hard) wanted the different eyes to show the character’s different moods (the most notable being a white one with a yellow “smiley face”).
As with a lot of these characters Charles Dance wasn’t the first actor originally intended to play Mr. Benedict.
The role was apparently written for Alan Rickman who allegedly turned it down due to the pay.
There are conflicting reports but it would seem that both Timothy Dalton (Hot Fuzz) and William Atherton (Ghostbusters) were also considered to play the character before Dance was eventually chosen.
Personally I think he nailed it, and as much as I could imagine either of those other actors playing the part, Charles Dance brings a sophistication and charm to the roll that I think only he could do.
Unfortunately Last Action Hero was a critical and commercial disappointment. This has been attributed to the studio putting pressure on production to have the film ready for its deadline despite falling behind schedule.
The movie was rushed out with minimal editing causing some critics to say it had an “uneven structure” and even calling it a “confused, chaotic mess”. It was also released the same week as Jurassic Park which wouldn’t help any film!
Personally I really like this movie. It’s funny, doesn’t take itself seriously, has a tonne of cameos and it also has a great soundtrack!
Mr. Benedict totally deserves his place in the Movie Villain Monday hall of fame! 👌
“If God was a villain, he'd be me!”
Who should I feature next week..? 🤔