The Screen Room
Movie Villain Monday: Stansfield - Leon (1994)
It’s Movie Villain Monday and today’s villain is possibly the most voted for so far. He’s been suggested a number of times this year by a lot of you on Facebook.
It’s Stansfield from Leon (1994)
Who is Stansfield?
Norman Stansfield is a corrupt, murdering and mentally unhinged DEA agent and the main antagonist in Luc Besson’s brilliant but often controversial action/crime/thriller, Leon (or Léon: The Professional depending on where you live). He was played memorably by Gary Oldman.
Despite being a DEA agent Stansfield runs a drug dealing operation in New York City and is paying a guy to hold drugs for him in his apartment. When he learns that some of the drugs have been stolen, he guns down the guy and his family including his 4 year old son.
What Stansfield doesn’t know is that the guy’s 12 year old daughter Mathilda (Natalie Portman) was shopping for groceries during the massacre, and when she returns and discovers what’s happened she seeks refuge with a neighbour who happens to be a professional hitman (Leon). Wanting revenge she asks Leon (Jean Reno) to teach her his trade so she can go after Stansfield.
Stansfield’s motivation is basically greed and arrogance. He’s so deranged and corrupt he believes he can do whatever he wants and get away with it.
Stansfield is foul tempered, unhinged, unpredictable and extremely violent.
A number of times during the film he’s seen taking an unidentified pill which seems to cause an initial spasm, followed by a state of euphoria.
He also loves classical musical.
Throughout the film Stansfield wears a beige suit and white shirt. He’s unshaven, slightly sweaty and often looks unkempt.
The character of Stansfield was devised as a contrast to the title character Leon. Since Leon is so calm and mild, director Luc Besson wanted Stansfield to be the pole opposite and a character where “anything was possible”.
Gary Oldman improvised a number of icon lines in the film, most notably the famous line “EVERYONE!!” which was actually intended as a joke but was kept in for the final film.
The scene where he sniffs Mathilda’s father after asking him where the drugs are was also improvised, much to the discomfort of actor Michael Badalucco, as was the scene where he’s talking to him about his love of Beethoven.
Oldman once said of director Luc Besson, "You share ideas, and if you come up with an idea that he likes, you can bet your bottom dollar that it'll go in the movie.”
Natalie Portman also said that working with Oldman was the easiest acting experience of her life due to the fact that his performance was so terrifying that she didn’t really need to act.
The character Norman Stansfield has been compared to Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Jack Torrance in The Shining (1980) and regularly appears on lists of movies’ greatest villains.
“I like these calm little moments before the storm...It reminds me of Beethoven.”
Another great movie villain suggestion!
I’m after some Christmas movie villains for the next couple of weeks so throw them at me if you have any. 👍