Last night I found myself in a very odd position, I was being forced to defend Bill Nighy as an actor and all round amazing human being. And this is after his star turn in Page Eight. At short notice it is hard to articulate why you find a particular actor’s performances so appealing, but with time and a trawl of YouTube I have compiled my defence.
Bill Nighy lends his vocal talents to the narration of the best TV series following a group of meerkats ever. Without Nighy the story of these furry creatures would lack much of the drama and emotion that won it critical acclaim. (Let’s ignore the fact that it was re-dubbed by Sean Astin for the US broadcast).
Roughly 2 minutes into this video you can watch Bill Nighy play an evil snake opposite Johnny Depp’s cowardly chameleon. With basic sets and no costume the acting shines on through. In the finished film you can barely tell Nighy is playing the snake, how’s that for versatility?
By all accounts Love Actually is not a good film, but it does have its moments. Amongst the schmaltz is the heartbreaking story between Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, the sweet romance of Martin Freeman and Joanna Page and of course Bill Nighy as the washed up rock star.
Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz
Bill Nighy was arguably the first big name to get behind the Wright/Pegg partnership and his small roles in the two films are amongst the many, many highlights to be enjoyed.
Finally we have one of Nighy’s best roles, as the Gideon in question who is at risk of losing contact with his daughter. The whole TV movie is on YouTube so there’s no excuse not to give it a watch.
If you aren’t convinced of Bill Nighy’s talents by now then I give up.