2.0: From Ranveer Singh to Leonardo DiCaprio, 5 actors like Akshay Kumar who ditched heroic image for villainous role

Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi
Nov 28, 2018 10:31 PM IST

Before we see just how evil Akshay Kumar’s character is in 2.0, here are five actors - from Leonardo DiCaprio to Ranveer Singh - who ditched their heroic image for villainous roles.

Actor Akshay Kumar on Thursday, in addition to making his debut in the south Indian film industry, will also shed his heroic image in favour of a villainous role in 2.0. Touted as the most expensive Indian film in history, the film stars Rajinikanth as Chitti the robot and Dr Vaseegaran. Akshay, meanwhile, plays the evil Dr Richard.

From left: Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained, Akshay Kumar in 2.0 and Ranveer Singh in Padmaavat.
From left: Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained, Akshay Kumar in 2.0 and Ranveer Singh in Padmaavat.

The Bollywood star has found great box office and critical success in recent years with films such as Airlift, Rustom, Jolly LLB 2, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Pad Man and Gold - he played heroic characters in each of them.

In 2.0, directed by Shankar and scheduled for release on November 29, the actor will play a villain. It took him over three hours in the makeup chair to get in his character’s skin. He spoke to the Quint about the gruelling process. “When you are shooting with prosthetics all over your body, the pores on your skin can’t breathe because there is no oxygen since your whole body is packed. So, for the five to six hours that I used to shoot, all the sweat used remain inside my body. When they use to remove the whole thing, I used to smell of sweat,” he said.

It has been reported that while the character has an evil look - he has also been referred to as Crowman and the trailers show him as a terrifying adversary to Rajinikanth’s character - he is not essentially a villainous person. He is an environmentalist who is concerned about the planet. The role was previously offered to Kamal Haasan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Perhaps the character will be more like the grey roles Akshay has previously played in films such as Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara and Ajnabee.

So before we find out once and for all exactly how evil Dr Richard is, here are five examples of actors known for playing heroes choosing to play villains instead.


Known for playing everyday protagonists, Ranveer Singh brought his trademark energy to the controversial blockbuster, Padmaavat. In director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, Ranveer played the villainous Alauddin Khilji, a role that won him the best reviews of his lifetime.

Dhoom 3

Aamir Khan brought his trademark professionalism to his role in director Vijay Krishna Acharya’s Dhoom 3, the third film in the popular action franchise. He reportedly learned tap dancing for the role. He played brothers Sahir and Samar Khan, in a role that has been compared to Christian Bale’s role in The Prestige. Aamir reunited with Acharya in Thugs of Hindostan, a rare failure - both critically and commercially - for one of the industry’s most bankable actors.


Known for playing some of the most iconic movie heroes ever - from Ethan Hunt to Jack Reacher - Tom Cruise played an out-and-out villain in Michael Mann’s Los Angeles crime movie, Collateral. In the film - which also stars Jamie Foxx - Cruise plays a hitman who abducts a cab driver to take him from one job to another through the course of one night.

Django Unchained

One of the biggest surprises of the 2012 awards season was the complete snub of Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as Calvin Candie in director Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. In one famous incident from the film’s sets, DiCaprio was in such flow as the venomously racist Candie, that he cut his hand when he slammed it into a table. Tarantino did not call ‘cut’ and DiCaprio continued. The shot can be seen in the film.

One Hour Photo

The late Robin Williams is known for playing some of the most beloved characters of recent times - from Mrs Doubtfire to Genie in Aladdin. But in One Hour Photo, a psychological thriller, Williams played a crazed stalker, out to destroy the lives of a couple.

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