Standout Roles: 300, The Brothers Grimm, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Reason Underrated: We haven’t seen her much in films on this side of the ocean, which if anything should motivate us all to go watch some UK movies staring Lean Headey. I first saw her as Queen Gorga in the 2007 blockbuster 200. In a film full of steal stealing hero’s and some of the most captivating cinematography in eons, her character stood out amongst all but King Leonidas. Though her role as Sarah Connor only lasted two seasons before the highly underrated show was canceled (I LOATHE FOX) her interpretation of the iconic character was a brilliant adaptation that paid a well deserved homage to Linda Hamilton’s character while bringing her own abilities and take on the character as well. She is beautiful, talented, and exudes a kinetic energy. Hollywood needs to cast her in everything.
Standout Roles: Aliens, Working Girl, Gorillas In The Mist, Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest, Alien, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Copycat, The Ice Storm, Heartbreakers, and the upcoming AVATAR.
Reason Underrated: Though recently has provided cameos in films like Baby’s Mama and Be Kind Rewind, Weaver’s brilliant capacity for emoting the truth of the character’s she plays without over acting is a rare talent. She is my personal favorite actress and with good reason. She has proved that women could be action stars, giving dramatic performances, and still retain their femininity without skipping a beat. Her role as Ellen Ripley broke threw barriers and opened doors to other actresses in the industry. The Buffy’s, Selene’s, and Lara Croft’s owe their existence to Sigourney Weaver (Oh and maybe Ridley Scott and James Cameron). Her journey in film does not limit itself action or drama. Her roles in Heartbreakers and Galaxy Quest exuded her physical beauty while also allowing her to display her brilliance in comedy. Scheduled for a December release, she stars in James Cameron’s newest creation “Avatar” where hopefully other filmmakers will see exactly how brilliant this woman is and start casting her in movies worth watching again. She is the only actress that I will see a movie just based on the fact that her name is on the casting list.
Standout Roles: Stakeout, Twelve Monkeys, Unlawful Entry, The Last Of The Mohicans, and The Generals Daughter
Reason Underrated: Madeleine, while beautiful and a powerful actress, but has mostly been used as a puppet for films that need strong supporting actors to help push their plots along. She has been an incredibly useful tool to support film or other actors, but seldom have we been able to see her really shine in a role that she is the overwhelming star. The object of affection is a role she’s accustomed to playing, but she is one of those rare actresses that can speak more with her eyes than with words. Put her and Robert DeNiro in a room together and one could honestly film a silent film. I demand more Madeleine Stowe.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Standout Roles: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2, The Grudge, Scooby Doo, Suburban Girl, The Air I Breathe, and Cruel Intentions
Reason Underrated: She hasn’t been given the chance to really show her talent outside the science fiction/horror film genre. With a series of horror films that limit her, she has been unfairly labeled a slasher girl, when her talents range far beyond that and the teen movie genre. Her roles in The Air I Breathe and Cruel Intentions show her capacity for diversity and her ability to evoke a sensuality and vulnerability that viewers of Buffy saw on a regular basis, but the film world has not been lucky enough to really indulge in. If given the right role and right opportunity she has the ability to be one of the top actresses working today. Hopefully she can’t break away from the horror girl pigeon holing, and even escape the constant referencing to “Buffy” (though I don’t think she should ever deny the Icon she helped create) and come into her own as an actress. Someone please give her the opportunity.
Standout Roles: X-Files, Playing By Heart, Princess Mononoke, The X-Files Feature Films, and The Last King Of Scotland
Reason Underrated: Much like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gillian Anderson has spent the better part of her career as a television actress occasionally stepping into feature films. The rare cross-overs has resulted in compelling performances leaving me wanting more of Anderson. Unfortunately and fortunately two of her feature films have been adaptations of The X-Files, and while have displayed good performances and two solid movies that were critically and fiscally successful, she has yet to really break away from her character as Scully . With no future X-Files films scheduled in the near future she has the opportunity to wow us in another genre and different role. Hopefully filmmakers will utilize this devastating beauty, who is remarkably strong and talented.
Standout Roles: Babylon A.D., Memoirs Of A Geisha, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Tomorrow Never Dies
Reason Underrated: Across the seas Michelle Yeoh may receive the regard and attention for her tremendous career and talent, but in the United States she doesn’t get the attention or the roles that she deserves. Yeoh has done movies that are Asian and have been widely received in this country like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but her abilities go beyond playing action oriented roles like she has in Babylon A.D. and Tomorrow Never Dies. They were fun roles, but they were fairly one dimensional and focused on show off her physical talents rather than her acting talents. I say it’s time directors push the envelope over here and start casting her in more prevalent films with challenging roles. I have no doubt she’ll rise to the occasion.
Helena Bonham Carter
Standout Roles: Hamlet, Frankenstein, Twelfth Night: Or What You Will, The Wings Of The Dove, Merlin, Fight Club, Planet Of The Apes, Big Fish, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, The Corpse Bride, Terminator: Salvation, and Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix
Reason Underrated: Helena Bonham Carter has a long and accomplished body of work, much including her work with her husband/director Tim Burton. While she has had an accomplished career, and acknowledged as an actress who opts for more avant garde films, we have yet to really see her in mainstream films or her name easily uttered in most households. When I refer to her I often have to say Beatrix from Harry Potter or the girl from Sweeney Todd, without having a clue exactly how talented and how accomplished her career has been. She has done a lot, will probably do more, and hopefully one day will get credit for doing the very special work she does do.
Standout Roles: The Sixth Sense, About A Boy, Little Miss Sunshine, Shaft, Emma, and Muriels Wedding
Reason Underrated: I’m not sure American audiences fully “get” Toni Collette. Her performances do often seem to come from another world, but one that is refreshing, resounding, and palpable. She takes character and fully embraces them while adding something special and unique to each of them. Each of her widely known American film performances are acknowledged critically, but then it seems like she is forgotten about, until she pops up years later and does something else brilliant.Every time I see her in a role I always hope for more. She is amazingly talented.
Standout Roles: Pearl Harbor, Serendipity, The Golden Bowl, Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, The Aviator, Van Helsing, Brokedown Palace, and Click
Reason Underrated: The English actress really made her deput in the film Brokedown Palace with Claire Danes and showed a quiet confidence and dedication to her performance that stole the scenes, even with Danes putting on a pretty brilliant performance herself. Unfortunatley Beckinsale’s career now mirror’s Sarah Michelle Gellar’s with an almost type casting in the horror/action department after sequels to Underworld and her performance in Van Helsing . She brought loads of integrity to each of those films, and gave her characters depth that made, at least The Underworld films (Van Helsing couldn’t have been saved by James Cameron himself.) something far more three dimensional than a simple action or horror film. Her performance solidified her as a force to be reckoned with, though she unfortunately hasn’t done much since then, other than a very badly written role in Click, that was completely forgettable. Beckinsale has it all. She has the beauty, the talent, and the charm. If filmmakers take a step back from the obvious perhaps she’ll start getting cast in worthwhile roles again.
Standout Roles: Sleepy Hollow, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, The Addams Family, Casper, Now And Then, The Ice Storm, Buffalo 66, 200 Cigarettes, Bless The Child, Monster, Black Snake Moan, and Speed Racer
Reason Underrated: I recognize some of her work in the recent years hasn’t been as exciting as her work in “The Ice Storm”, “Buffalo 66″, or 200 Cigarettes, but she’s proven she still has the chops in “Monster” and “Black Snake Moan” to really deliver insanely wild and driven performances that no other actress could do as well as she. Why isn’t she cast more? Maybe there just aren’t enough good roles for women, but I’m not buying that. The wrong women are just being cast in roles. Men are revered for beingedgy , but most of the women on this list aren’t exactly Julia Roberts or Catherine Zeta Jones. Neither have the range or the desire to take a role from the mainstream and do something amazing with it, and all of the women I’ve gathered here do that on a regular basis. Whether it’s SMG in her horror film genres or Gillian Anderson in her science fiction films. Ricci makes everything she’s in better, and a heck of a lot more interesting. She’s a dynamic and stunning actress that I hope continues to tread the path she has and avoids films that give her bland roles like Trixie in Speed Racer. Leave that for the one dimensional actresses that get paid more. She is a gem in the acting community and deserves some respect.