Coming up with a lead character for a film can be tricky business. While they don’t have to be likeable, more often than not if you’re looking to make an audience relate to your protagonist, it’s sensible to give them some redeeming qualities at the very least, and a heroic arc to keep the viewers on board.
As such, lead characters can be a little dull, especially your out and out heroes. For that reason, the more colourful supporting cast can often steal the film away from the top names. We’ve seen a lot of great side characters over the years, many of which are more than worthy of a film of their own.
Whether these are charismatic villains, brief appearances that leave you wanting more, or plucky comic relief that manage to elevate otherwise less than thrilling films, all of the following deserve their time in the spotlight as the lead of their own project.
These characters may play smaller parts, but they can leave by far the biggest impact on the film, and have star quality written all over them.
10. Winston Wolf - Pulp Fiction
Harvey Keitel’s fast talking fixer has been given the chance at another life in a sense, but Tarantino’s creation deserves a life beyond some mildly amusing insurance adverts. Though he only makes a brief appearance towards the end of Pulp Fiction, the character is given such a breath of life by the writing, acting, and reactions to his presence that there’s scope for far more exploration.
In Pulp Fiction, he turns up, scrubs a crime scene, teases John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson, then disappears, but the impact he leaves is indelible. Harvey Keitel exhibits a lightness of touch here that his career choices rarely allow for, and he sells the superheroic Wolf perfectly - if you’d accidentally murdered a criminal associate, you’d call him too.
Keitel has proven that he can slip back into the role, and age would be no obstacle were he to rehash the character (indeed Keitel has looked the same age for about 30 years now). A series of light hearted caper films in which the wisecracking man of mystery saves the bacon of various inept hitmen could be just what we need.