One of the most ego-boosting privileges of the modern celebrity is seeing your name in glittering lights aboard a marquee, or among the fancy opening credits sequence of a major blockbuster. To some it's a birthright.
Marlon Brando insisted he get top billing for his 20-minute role in Richard Donner's Superman, even before the lead and title character performer Christopher Reeve. Then there's the case of The Towering Inferno, for which Paul Newman and Steve McQueen not only insisted on equal billing, but also demanded to have the exact same amount of lines of dialogue throughout the two-hour plus disaster flick.
Fame is a drug, as has often been said, and what better high than having the power, wealth and street cred to know that the very syllables that comprise your name may be enough to draw millions of people to a darkened theatre?
But save your envy for the humble, the few brave souls who knew to put art before vanity. To them, the project is a pure, chaste creature and slapping their name over it would only tarnish its intangible beauty. Their appearances in certain films is less distracting and more a pleasant surprise.
10. David Hyde Pierce - Hellboy
As far as director Guillermo Del Toro and comic creator Mike Mignola were concerned, no living actor was more suited to play the hulking, red demon-cum superhero than Ron Perlman. There are few roles suited to Perlman's grizzled masculine features that lend themselves to a lead (for this writer's money, cast him as Tom Waits now).
The strange, faithful Hellboy adaptation may not be the best, but given its 2004 release date, it's among the first serious comic films before Marvel Studios ruled Hollywood. David Hyde Pierce's gentle, polite tone perfectly encapsulates the role of Hellboy's psychic fish-man sidekick Abe Sapien, granting him a humanity that otherwise could have been lost. The physical role was played by motion capture legend Doug Jones.
Pierce, reportedly every bit the gentleman of Niles Crane, demanded he be unbilled - claiming that the brilliance of the role belonged entirely to Jones. In the film's sequel, his voice was gone and Jones was allowed to use his own - turning in an acceptable substitute.