In some instances, supporting movie characters steal the show from the lead, proving there is no such thing as a small part. From a few minutes of comic relief to being someone the film is based on, like Anthony Hopkins’ 16 minutes being Hannibal Lector, some minor characters hold a special place in moviegoers’ hearts because they totally own their role.
Gary Cole In Office Space
Sooo, yeaaa, for those who have seen Office Space, it’s obvious why Gary Cole steals the show as Bill Lumbergh, the main antagonist and Vice President of Initech, the soul-sucking corporate job of the main character Peter Gibbons.
Even though he is the epitome of an eye-roll-inducing micromanager, Cole’s lines as Lumbergh are the most quotable. They completely make fun of what the stereotypical boss of the office was back in the late ’90s.
Anthony Hopkins In The Silence Of The Lambs
The 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs might feel like it’s about the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lector, but the character is hardly in the movie. Even though Jodi Foster kills her part, Anthony Hopkins’ creepy, sinister, and brilliant portrayal of the cannibal was enough to make his more memorable and show-stopping.
Not to mention that apparently, a whopping 16 minutes was plenty of time for Hopkins to snag an Academy Award for Best Actor. That’s pretty insane.
Sean Astin In 50 First Dates
Sorry Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, even though you’re the stars, it’s Sean Astin’s lisping and fishnet shirt-wearing character of Doug Whitmore who we remember best from 50 First Dates. With an inferiority complex that rivals Tony Stark, Astin dove into the role in a remarkable way that made it a classic.
Astin made home movies in his driveway as Doug, which helped him get into the over-the-top eccentric character, unlike anyone he’s portrayed before. Honestly, the out-of-character character might have been what made it so memorable.
Will Ferrell In Wedding Crashers
He might be crude, rude, and one of the worst people on the planet, but the fact of the matter is that Will Ferrell’s character of Chazz Reinhold in Wedding Crashers kind of steals the show.
Seriously, a guy who lives with his mother orders her to bring his meatloaf (of all things) while wearing a kimono on a couch can go one of two ways: cringe-worthy or hysterical. Thankfully, Chazz was the latter.
J.K. Simmons In Whiplash
He’s mean, ruthless, and a tad on the cruel side, but it’d be a lie to say it was hard to look away from J.K. Simmons’ role of Terence Fletcher in Whiplash. A jazz teacher at an elite music conservatory, Fletcher’s bigger-than-life personality, crudeness, and affinity for yelling first and yelling later, steal the movie from lead actor Miles Teller.
His show-stopping performance was wildly praised and even earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Melissa McCarthy In Bridesmaids
Hot take: Bridesmaids wouldn’t be nearly as funny if the comedic expertise of Melissa McCarthy were not included. From her amazingly horrible outfits to stealing a van-full of puppies and seducing a stranger on a plane, McCarthy’s character of Megan is hands down a fan favorite.
It’s not even the character’s wedding story, and yet she’s the one pulling the viewers’ attention away from the leads and keeping it on her and her crazy funny antics.
Evan Peters In X-Men: Days Of Future Past
In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Evan Peters plays Quicksilver, a young man with superspeed who is tasked with getting a young Magneto out of a high-security prison under the Pentagon!
Peters is hardly in the film, but the scene of Quicksilver running in slow-motion through a kitchen, rearranging bullets and maneuvering bad guys’ arms so they wind up punching themselves, all while having an absolute montage to “Time in a Bottle,” is arguably one of the best scenes in the movie.
Anne Hathaway In Les Misérables
Anne Hathaway is in Les Misérables for a whopping total of 15 minutes. Evidently, that was long enough for her to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Fantine, a working girl in Paris.
Not only did Hathaway go all-in for the role, dropping 25 pounds and cutting off her long locks, but her shining moment came when she gave the emotional performance of “I Dreamed a Dream.”
Jeff Goldblum In Jurassic Park
No matter how famous they are or what movie it is, It’s hard for characters not to be upstaged by the comedic dead-panned acting chops of Jeff Goldblum. In this particular case, his character of Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park, a mathematician with an affinity for leather jackets and sarcasm, steals the show.
While Malcolm is in a handful of scenes, the film doesn’t center around his character, even though he has some of the most iconic lines in the movie.
Nick Swardson In Benchwarmers
The sports comedy Benchwarmers might have some memorable actors in its line-up, but no one comes close to the genius that is Nick Swardson’s character, Howie. Anxious of everything from the sun to the grass to outsiders to just plain old outside, Howie is the comedic relief people didn’t know they needed in a comedy.
Swardson’s portrayal of the recluse is a breath of fresh air compared to the main character’s “I’m trying to be serious and win this baseball game” attitude.
Ken Jeong In The Hangover
For many fans of the Hangover films, Ken Jeong’s eccentric character, Mr. Chow steals each scene he’s in, even though his character only shows his face in a few, and one is him popping out of a trunk in nothing but his birthday suit.
Chow is such a fan favorite that he was brought back in the subsequent films, even waking up hungover in a hotel with the Wolf Pack, a great honor!
Rajiv Surendra In Mean Girls
While there are many minor characters throughout Mean Girls, there is one that deserves an award for little to no screen time, Rajiv Surendra as the mathlete Kevin Gnapoor.
He makes dirty jokes, shows up at inappropriate times, and performs a jaw-dropping rap that gave us the infamous verse, “…On my grades, on my lines, you can’t touch Kevin G…I’m a mathlete; I’m a nerd…But forget what you heard I’m like James Bond the third…Shaken not stirred, I’m Kevin Gnapoor.”
Taika Waititi In Thor: Ragnarok
Thor, Loki, and even the Hulk are in Thor: Ragnarok, but they have nothing on Taika Waititi’s character Korg, the lovable alien made of rocks. Only in a few minutes of the overall narrative, Korg proves that’s all he needs.
In a short amount of time, Korg makes a rock, paper, scissors joke, explains that he became imprisoned due to a lack of pamphlets for a revolution, and becomes the comedic relief when Thor’s home planet is destroyed, spoiler alert!
Heath Ledger In The Dark Knight
It only took Heath Ledger’s Joker character 25 minutes to completely steal the spotlight from Christian Bale’s Batman in The Dark Knight. Considered one of the best versions of the Clown Prince of Crime, Ledger’s Joker was “the anarchist,” wanting to do nothing more than to see what would happen if everything was utter chaos.
The laugh, posture, and overall embodiment of the iconic character earned Ledger an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Doug Bradley In Hellraiser
The 1987 supernatural horror film Hellraiser is known for the iconic villain Pinhead, played by the one and only Doug Bradley. Clad in leather, chains, and more than one pin that would give an acupuncturist a run for their money, Bradley’s character is only on screen for a solid 10 minutes.
Even with the minimal screen time, Pinhead became a fan-favorite, gracing more than one of the franchise’s many promotional posters.
Tom Cruise In Tropic Thunder
Tropic Thunder might have an all-star cast, but Tom Cruise’s ridiculously over-the-top studio boss character takes the cake. Playing true to the character’s name, Les Grossman is hard to forget because he’s so, well, gross.
Over-weight, balding, and greasy-looking to the point of moviegoers wanting to throw a bucket of water on him, Grossman is one of those characters that’s hard to forget. Especially since he does that iconic dance while drinking the faux energy drink “Booty Sweat.”
Octavia Spencer In The Help
Emma Stone might be the face of the period drama The Help, but it’s Octavia Spencer’s talent that steals every scene her character Minerva “Minny” Jackson is in. A scrappy lady who’s not afraid to speak her mind, care for those who show her mutual respect, and take revenge on those who do her wrong, Spencer deserved every ounce of praise she received.
She even went on to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress!
Brad Pitt In Fight Club
Edward Norton might be the top-billed actor in Fight Club, but it’s Brad Pitt’s soap maker character of Tyler Durden that really steals the show. Cocky, egotistical, and way more confident than The Narrator, Pitt plays the character so well that it makes the plot twist at the end even more unbelievable.
Empire probably said it best, stating that “Norton is as fine as ever, but Pitt is the standout, lending Tyler a beguiling sense of glamour and danger.”
All Of The Minions In Despicable Me
There are a lot of them; they don’t speak a known language, and yet they steal the show from Steve Carell’s lead character, the supervillain Gru. Yes, the minions in Despicable Me.
The little yellow sidekicks were so popular upon the film’s release they became promotional characters for each sequel film, earned their own solo spin-off movies, and even became a popular Halloween costume. If that’s not showing the main character who’s boss, we’re not sure what does.
David Hasselhoff In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
While the kids who watched The SpongeBob SquarePants probably didn’t think much of his cameo, David Hasselhoff playing, well, David Hasselhoff is both memorable and very clearly steals the show away from the talking sponge (much to adults delight!).
He might be playing himself, but his “character” is actually a nod to one of his iconic roles, as a lifeguard in Baywatch. Only in one scene, Hasselhoff has said that being the film’s only human brought him a whole new generation of fans.