If you ask me, there is a collection of actors around at the moment who are doing stellar things. One of them will always be James McAvoy for the impressive and visceral turn in Jon S. Baird’s Filth. The other would be Scarlett Johansson, a glorious heroine who can transform herself into every role. The final and most important one is Toby Kebbell. Vital because now I’ve said that name and a lot of you have shrugged, wondering exactly why this actor is garnering an article a month before his latest film. Yes, the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes movie is indeed upon us, but Kebbell is a vital, crucial and outstanding actor that you need to fall behind early as his star is rising.
Let’s give you some education before all of that though.
Sam Riley did a rather impressive job as Joy Division front-man Ian Curtis, which may have solidified his name in fame, but it was Kebbell’s stirring and comedic performance as Rob Gretton, the band’s manager, that made it work. Directed by music video director turned cinematic intellect Anton Corbijn, Control was a biopic told from Curtis’ point of view as he battled mental illness and epilepsy. Kebbell, however, was the scene-stealing manager who would gob off at every chance he got. Earning Kebbell a BIFA award for Best Supporting Actor, this is a triumphant performance from Kebbell.
Guy Ritchie has become famed for two things. One of those things is boinking the now leather-faced Madonna and becoming a somewhat trophy husband for her supposed music career. The other is for his realistic and gritty gangsta movies (appropriate spelling for cockney accents, by the way). With the success of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Ritchie birthed several South London epics including this guilty pleasure gem starring Gerard Butler and Tom Hardy. Though, Kebbell is the real diamond her as rock star heroin addict Johnny Quid. Able to level the insanity of the film with the degradation, Kebbell is astonishingly scary and entertaining.
It was either this performance or those of Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans and seeing as I have no interest in the adventures of gods and more, I’d rather focus on the almost underrated Disney classic. Starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel, it revolves around everyday geek Dave finding out he is the heir to Merlin and wizarding mentor Balthazar has to train him up. Though, it’s Kebbell’s swaggering cockney performance magician, as little as it is, that makes us feel insanely giddy. Playing opposite Alfred Molina, Kebbell as Drake Stone is ingeniously well done and enough to rival David Tennant’s similar role in Fright Night.
Again here is another cheat that we just couldn’t resist plopping in. When Charlie Brooker penned an impressive futuristic television series for Channel 4, the entire world sat up and gasped. After all, the epic series and second instalment were adequate comment on the technological lives that we lead for means of entertainment. Kebbell took the glorious lead as a man who is enabled to review his memories thanks to technology recording them. When he discovers his wife is having an affair, he enters a turmoil where his thoughts and recordings may open up to more dangerous possibilities. Kebbell is astonishing and poignant here. (On a television note, also see Kebbell as the psychopathic Liam Foyle playing opposite David Tennant in BBC's The Escape Artist).
You probably have watched this sterling and stirring movie and thought nothing of the actor who preciously played Anthony here. After all, Shane Meadows' revenge thriller sees Paddy Considine on stellar form, forced to defend his tortured brother from a gang who bullied him. While it is pretty much Considine’s film, Kebbel excels as Anthony. Not only accurately portraying a character with learning difficulty, he emphatically and intellectually gives his role life that could easily be used as plot fodder. Earnestly realistically, this is Kebbell’s best role, giving a powerful performance that is shattering and heart-wrenching.
Get on the Kebbell express now before his stellar role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes out July 17th!