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Settling some scores

The best of the sequels' worst villains

November 03, 2002|Hugh Hart

Equipped with British accents, rotten childhoods, spy-mobiles, super-sized shoulder pads and whipping sticks, a new swarm of villains will try to make life miserable for heroes of the season's big sequels.

Audiences hated Jason Isaacs as cruel Col. William Tavington in "The Patriot"; the English actor hopes they'll feel the same way about Lucius Malfoy in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (Nov. 15).

Lucius, abusive father to nasty Hogwarts student Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), wants to keep Wizard bloodlines "pure" and despises half-mortal interloper Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). Originally, Lucius had short gray hair and a suit. Isaacs wanted to have more fun than that, so he convinced director Chris Columbus to let Lucius have long blond hair, "floor-length ermine and fur and velvet and a walking cane."

"Die Another Day" (Nov. 22) casts Rick Yune as Zao, a political operative trying to unify North and South Korea. Mottled with battle scars, Zao changes his identity, drives a gadget-loaded Jaguar and battles James Bond in Iceland. "This film is about how the world is no longer black and white," says Yune, who also played the heavy in "The Fast and the Furious." "If you look at Taiwan, North and South Korea, Hong Kong, the Middle East, it depends on what side of the fence you're on to say what's right or wrong."

In "Star Trek: Nemesis" (Dec. 13), British Method actor Tom Hardy ("Band of Brothers") plays Shinzon, the Romulan slave-turned-emperor who's been cloned from Picard (Patrick Stewart) and needs a fresh infusion of the Enterprise commander's DNA. "I don't know any clones myself," Hardy explains wryly, "so you hit a dead end with that sort of research."

Adds Hardy: "He's a monster, but he's also a product of circumstances who's deeply in pain."

Christopher Lee returns in "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (Dec. 18) as evil Saruman with a creepy new minion: Wormtongue. Played by Brad Dourif -- he gave voice to the homicidal doll Chucky in "Child's Play" -- Grima Wormtongue weakens King Theoden (Bernard Hill) with his poisonous counsel.

"Wormtongue scratches too much, he's got sores on his face, he's got no eyebrows," says Dourif. "I think Wormtongue's a little bitter because he's secretly despised by everyone."

-- Hugh Hart

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