Bill Nighy is now one of the greats of British cinema, having achieved fame late in his career. This high school drop-out tried being a writer first before attending acting school at the urging of an old girlfriend. He eked out an acting career for decades doing some fairly prestigious stage work. And then came Billy Mack...
|Bill Nighy as Billy Mack in Love Actually|
If you are like me, you got to know Bill as the rather eccentric over the hill rock star Billy Mack in Love Actually.
Billy Mack: When I was young and successful, I was greedy and foolish, and now I'm left with no one. Wrinkled and alone.
Billy Mack: Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!
|Laura Fraser and Bill Nighy in He Knew He Was Right|
As the seemingly lecherous Colonel Osborne in He Knew He Was Right, Bill Nighy is spot on, reveling in the attention he receives when perceived as a womanizer. Poor Laura Fraser's character Emily Trevelyan, does not realize that her father's friend is not acting in her best interest.
|Bill Nighy in I Capture the Castle|
As the father of two girls played by Romola Garai and Rose Byrne in I Capture the Castle, Bill Nighy is a novelist in 1930s England with long term writer's block after a first successful novel.
Cassandra: Father. 'Jacob Wrestling' was a wonderful, groundbreaking book. There was never going to be a sequel overnight!
James Mortmain: Meaning?
Cassandra: Meaning, it will come!
James Mortmain: How old are you?
James Mortmain: And you still believe in fairy tales.
|Bill Nighy and Romola Garai in Glorious 39|
In the thriller Glorious 39, again playing the father of Romola Garai's character (typecasting?) Bill Nighy is a member of the House of Commons in 1939, on the cusp of WWII. I haven't yet seen this one but it looks fascinating. Written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff, this one also has a fantastic cast including Jenny Agutter, David Tennant, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Christie and Jeremy Northam among others.
|Bill Nighy in The Boat That Rocked (Pirate Radio)|
The Boat That Rocked (known as Pirate Radio on this side of the pond) is about a bunch of DJs in the 1960s running a pirate radio station off the coast of Britain in order to get around the British censors. Who better to play Quentin, the eccentric head of the floating radio station than Bill Nighy?
Quentin: So... expelled?
'Young' Carl: That's right.
Quentin: What for?
'Young' Carl: I suppose smoking was the clincher.
Quentin: Drugs or cigarettes?
'Young' Carl: Well, both.
Quentin: Well done! Proud of you. So your mum sent you here in the hope that a little bracing sea air would sort you out?
'Young' Carl: Something like that.
Quentin: Spectacular mistake.
I loved this one, directed by Richard Curtis by the way. Emma Thompson makes a great cameo as Young Carl's mother. And Jack Davenport and Kenneth Branaugh are quite memorable as the stiffs at the BBC.
|Bill Nighy in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel|
We finally get to see Bill Nighy as a true nice guy in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Not eccentric, not evil but just a really great guy. How refreshing! As Douglas Ainslie, a retired government worker who has invested his entire next egg in his daughter's dot-com start-up and hence has to live cheaply, he and his wife played by Penelope Wilton move to India. Yes, it's far fetched, but just enjoy the film and don't look too closely for plot holes. It's a wonderful film.
"Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not the end."
Now I had to leave a lot of Bill's best films out of this list or my post would have been really long! Did I miss one or more of your faves?