Woody Harrelson has one of the most interesting and varied film careers in Hollywood. He managed to make the successful transition from beloved television actor to successful movie star and has now become one of the most reliable character actors in the business.
Harrelson is one of those rare actors who can make the seamless transition between outrageous comedies to complex dramas. He is always one of the most compelling people on screen no matter what role he is in and he makes every project he's a part of more interesting. Here are some of Woody Harrelson's most memorable roles.
Venom wasn't everyone's favorite superhero film, but it managed to be a wild and entertaining movie if only for Tom Hardy's unhinged performance as the titular antihero. However, Harrelson had one of the most memorable and enticing parts of the film even though he only appeared in the post-credit scene.
As soon as Eddie Brock travels to prison to conduct an interview, comic book fans knew what was coming. Harrelson, sporting a ridiculous red wig, is revealed to be Cletus Kasady and teases his eventual transformation into the villain Carnage.
9 The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games series are the futuristic adventure films based on the hugely popular young adult book series. The films take place in a dystopian world where those in power force the young children of their society to take part in an annual fight to the death.
Harrelson plays Hamish, a former winner of the games and the mentor to Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence). Hamish is a drunken mess of a man but proves to be an essential person for Katniss and a valuable member of the rebellion in later films.
8 War For The Planet Of The Apes
It might not have seemed like a good idea to make a prequel series to the Planet of the Apes which focuses on the apes, but this has proven to be a surprisingly great franchise. While there may still be more films to come in the series, War for the Planet of the Apes ended the arc of Cesar (Andy Serkis) in a satisfying way and with a great villain.
Harrelson plays The Colonel, one of the few remaining human military leaders in the world. It's clear that the struggles of their new reality have damaged The Colonel and turned him into a cold, ruthless murderer. Harrelson is effectively frightening in the role.
7 The People Vs. Larry Flynt
Larry Flynt is a very eccentric character and one whose life seems tailor-made for an outrageous Hollywood biopic. Flynt was the controversial publisher of Hustler magazine, a pornographic publication. However, he became an even more interesting political figure thanks to his outspoken and publicized fights for the freedom of speech.
Harrelson plays Flynt, not as a crusading hero for a just cause, but an obnoxious and vulgar man-child who doesn't like being told what to do. It is an extremely entertaining performance and it earned Harrelson his first Oscar nomination.
6 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one of the most hard-hitting Best Picture nominees in recent years. The film by Martin McDonagh tells the story of a woman whose daughter was brutally murdered. Frustrated with the inactivity of the local police, the woman rents three billboards in the town to advertise her displeasure.
While Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell are the main focus of the film, Harrelson has a very memorable supporting role as the town sheriff who is dying of cancer as this controversy begins. Harrelson is funny, relatable, and heartbreaking as a man who is watching is life slip away.
5 Solo: A Star Wars Story
Solo: A Star Wars Story is one of the few disappointments in the Star Wars series. The origin story of the famous intergalactic smuggler Han Solo was met with a lukewarm response from audiences and critics and failed to make an impact at the box office.
The movie is far from perfect but remains a fun adventure thanks largely to the cast. Harrelson plays Beckett, the roguish outlaw who becomes an early mentor to Han. Harrelson fits well into the world and plays the space cowboy persona to perfection.
4 Natural Born Killers
Natural Born Killers is one of the few Quentin Tarantino-written films that the iconic filmmaker wants nothing to do with. Tarantino was publicly upset with the rewrites and changes Oliver Stone made to his original script and disowned the final film which follows a violent pair of lovers on a bloody road trip across America.
Harrelson stars as Mickey Knox, the wild and cold-blooded male half of the infamous duo. Along with Juliette Lewis, Harrelson gives us a terrifying image of a man who is pure evil and will kill without provocation. The film was extremely controversial in its time and showed Harrelson could show a much darker side.
3 True Detective
Woody Harrelson made a name for himself on television and, after becoming a star, he returned to the small screen for one of the most acclaimed seasons of television in recent memory. True Detective is the dark and bleak crime series which has followed a new case and new set of detectives in each of its three seasons.
Harrelson and his pal Matthew McConaughey starred in the first season as a pair of mismatched detectives investigating and later revisiting a ritualistic murder. The two stars are amazing as the tortured and complex cops hoping to find redemption.
Cheers was the show that introduced the world to Woody Harrelson. The iconic sitcom was set in a friendly Boston bar and followed the zany lives of the colorful characters who worked and drank there.
Harrelson joined the show in its fourth season as a character coincidentally named Woody. He is a dim-witted but kind young man who becomes the bar's newest bartender. His innocence and oblivious nature made for some of the show's funniest moments and he became a beloved member of the cast in no time.
After Shaun of the Dead showed that zombies could be funny, Zombieland followed that film's lead with this highly entertaining and hilarious comedy set in a world overrun with the undead. The film finds a small group of survivors forming a pseudo-family as they try to stay alive in this dangerous world.
Harrelson plays Tallahassee, a cowboy who seems to enjoy this new world a little too much. Harrelson gets to be a badass as well as a goofball as this man who loves finding new and inventive ways to kill zombies.