Once in a generation, there is born a talent so great, so astounding, that it cannot be stopped. When I think back on the pantheon of actors in the world, one name tops my list…
Zane. Billy Zane.
The bad boy baldy has played some of the most crucial and instrumental roles in the great rolodex of film, gifting us with unforgettable moments that have warmed viewers’ tender hearts on the coldest of nights.
With “Titanic” back in theaters, my mind is not on Leo and Kate (sorry Jack, I totally let go), but on the most inZane man on the planet. In honor of the return of his most iconic role to date, I present to you, the top five greatest Billy Zane moments ever captured on film.
1986: “Back to the Future”
The role that began it all, and what a role it was. Let me guess, you didn’t know Zane was in “Back to the Future,” did you? True, only the most devout of Zanonites remember Zane’s first role, and even now you may be thinking back on the film trying to peg what exactly that role could have been. Well shame on you! Never discount the power of Zane. Billy played the henchman of none other than Biff Tannen, along with two other actors whose careers didn’t go anywhere because Zane totally out-shined them (classic Zane move).
So, what was his best moment? Being covered in a giant pile of cow dung while crying “s—!” in unison with his other cohorts in the original “Back To The Future” film.
1991: “Twin Peaks”
Oh yes, Zane was in “Twin Peaks” too, for those of you who were loyal enough to stick through to the end of season two. He played suave, sophisticated and all around good-guy millionaire John Justice Wheeler in the show, who came to the rescue of the once evil Ben Horne to wrest him from the clutches of bankruptcy. In the process, Wheeler finds himself falling for Horne’s daughter, the witty and not-so-shy Audrey Horne.
His best “Peaks” moment? Finally consummating his relationship with Audrey aboard his private jet that he can fly himself, and then leaving Audrey suffused with enchanting vitality upon the tarmac, flying into the sunset on an ambiguous mission to South America in a true gentlemanly act of worldy pursuit.
1995: “Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight”
Best experienced after a long and grueling hunt through your local 20/20 video, this film stars Zane as the Collector, a demon sent to take “the key,” an ancient holy artifact that can open one of the gates of hell, with the help of Jada Pinkett. Honestly, every scene in this film is Zane’s greatest moment. It’s pretty much the greatest.
The reason why we’re here! Honestly, no list of Zane’s greatest moments would be complete without his tour de force performance, in the role that earned him the prestigious nomination of “Best Villain” by MTV’s own Movie Award committee.
Zane’s best scene in the film? Always a man of resource, he realizes the only way he will get off the doomed Titanic is to kidnap a child and pretend to be her father, thus finding a loophole in the “Women and Children Only” clause and ensuring his survival. Classic Zane.
And finally, art imitates life with a film that nods at Zane’s awesomeness by giving him one of the best cameos ever. After a shouting match between Zoolander and Hansel (in which Derek closes with the unforgettable argument “I can derelick my own balls”), Zane steps in to quell the conflict.
“Don’t do this Derek,” Zane warns his good friend. Hansel’s response? “Listen to your friend Billy Zane. He’s a cool dude.” Truth.
Tell us your favorite Billy Zane moments in the comments or on Twitter!