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Back in the 1980s, Harrison Ford became an international superstar by headlining two of the biggest franchises of all time, "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones." And in the '90s, it was Samuel L. Jackson who became a ubiquitous presence in just about every major blockbuster, from "Pulp Fiction" to "Die Hard with a Vengeance." So which of today's stars can boast a similar resume?
Would you believe Bill Nighy?
Yes, it's hard to believe, but the respected and respectable 63-year-old British thespian has somehow become one of the hippest, coolest and most bankable stars in Hollywood. Case in point: He's about to appear in the upcoming fantasy epic "Jack the Giant Slayer." Unlike Ford and Jackson, however, he's managed to keep his ascendance on the down low, to the point where you may not even be aware that he is in literally every movie you like.
Don't believe us? Then check out some of these clips — and see why Bill Nighy has become the most unexpected superstar in film.
"Pirates of the Caribbean:" The franchise that really put Nighy on the pop culture map, "Pirates of the Caribbean" may be best known for the leading trio of Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, but it's safe to say that some of the most memorable moments actually came courtesy of Nighy as the villainous Davy Jones. Take a look at this rare clip showing just how they added all those creepy face tentacles:
"Harry Potter:" of course, any hardcore Potter fan worth their salt knows that Nighy played the part of doomed Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour, who pops up in the seventh film to lend a helping hand (well... sort of...) to Harry and company. Here's one of his most iconic scenes, as the embattled Minister attempts to calm the magic world in the wake of Lord Voldemort's latest attacks:
"Shaun of the Dead:" One of the rare efforts where Nighy isn't buried under makeup or hidden behind animation, in "Shaun of the Dead" Nighy plays Simon Pegg's curmudgeonly step father Philip. The two don't see eye to eye until Philip's last few moments of life, where they finally have a touching heart to heart. And then, since "Shaun of the Dead" is a zombie movie, this happens:
"Love Actually:" This cult classic 2003 romcom nominally stars Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Yeah, whatever. The real star, of course, is Nighy, who steals the show right from the opening scene as an aging rock star selling his soul to get one last big hit. Here's the opening scene, complete with Nighy dropping some very choice and ungentlemanly words. We love it:
"Flushed Away:" Perhaps impressed by Nighy's ability to inhabit a character completely covered in octopus goo, DreamWorks hired Nighy to voice the character of the thuggish mouse Whitey in the 2006 animated hit "Flushed Away." Once again, Nighy is more than up to the task, as you can see in the trailer for the film:
"Underworld:" Reviews for the goth vampire series "Underworld" pretty much follow a simple arc: The films that prominently feature Nighy get decent reviews and the ones that marginalize Nighy get crappy reviews. Much as we love Kate Beckinsale's slinky killer Selene, we have to say that Nighy's complex and creepy vampire lord Viktor is out favorite. Here he is explaining why the fact that he murdered Selene's entire family was basically just an early Christmas present:
"Rango:" In 2011's "Rango," Nighy re-teamed with "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski and co-star Johnny Depp for an old fashioned Western that happens to feature talking lizards. And the chemistry between Depp and Nighy was a great as ever, as the two once again went head to head. Here are some of the top moments featuring his sinister serpent, Rattlesnake Jake:
"Wrath of the Titans:" Okay, so 2010's "Clash of the Titans" was an epic stinkbomb. But if you haven't checke dout last year's sequel, "Wrath of the Titans," you might be surprised to hear that it's not all that bad. Why? Well, most of the credit goes, naturally, to Nighy, who plays the deranged god Hephaestus with a twinkle in his eye. Yes, that's right: Nighy is so amazing he even managed to save this horrible franchise: