I still remember, as an eleven-year-old, reading an article in the local paper about The X-Files. It included a snippet of an interview with Gillian Anderson, in which she confessed that she occasionally had trouble wrapping her mouth around all the technical jargon Scully had to spout.
I was crushed. You mean… the actress who played Scully really wasn’t as smart as her character? But she was so convincing!
Occasionally you see lists of “hot geeks” here and there, but typically they aren’t really geeks; they play them in movies and TV (Zachary Quinto is a prime example; he donned the Spock ears, he must be ‘one of them’!). Below I’ve attempted to compile a short list of selected ‘real’ geeks in Hollywood, completely separate from their roles – though, as you’ll see, this is harder than it seems, as apparently ‘geeks’ tend to seek out roles that, well, geeks would want.
First, a few caveats: most actors and actresses could actually probably be considered ‘geeks’ in some respect, especially if they started out in theater (hey, all those drama kids had to go somewhere). That would be a massive common denominator, and really is it so very unusual for someone to be passionate about their job? So I tried to find people who are at least rumored to be a little more on the nerdy side – even if, at first glance, they’re just another pretty face.
Sure, we all geek out over him, and he probably hears quotes from Ghostbusters wherever he goes, but he actually might not mind – because he’s into ghosts himself (he was a writer on the films, after all). In fact, it’s easy to mention any number of Aykroyd’s hobbies and interests – police memorabilia, UFOs, conspiracy theories… the list goes on. It’s also been rumored that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s. Whatever the reason, it’s clear he’s not afraid to get vocal about what he cares about, whether it’s life from other planets or a band he likes.
She’s been getting a lot of mainstream attention lately, with her role in The Black Swan. However, she’s no stranger to the geek world; one of the few actresses who gleefully admits she plays World of Warcraft, she’s also proclaimed her love for Star Trek. Oh, and she’s a main voice on Family Guy, and has done characters for Robot Chicken – here I’m breaking my own rule, confusing Kunis’ work with her self, but we all know she’s just awesome, all the way around.
When you say “actress who plays World of Warcraft,” Felicia Day is probably actually the first one who springs to mind. Though she, too, has an acting resume that would make most geeks drool, there’s even more – she wrote and produced The Guild, and she has a double major in math and music. What’s not to like?
Rosario Dawson first began to become synonymous with ‘geek’ when she landed roles in movies like Clerks II and Death Proof, but it turns out she’s walked on the nerdy side for quite some time. An unabashed fan of comics, rock, and Star Trek, her geek cred has been raved about by Kevin Smith.
Okay, so I’m not positive I believe this, but I keep reading it so I had to include him. Supposedly Vin Diesel (who was in the fabulous Pitch Black and the decidedly less fabulous Chronicles of Riddick) has been playing D&D for twenty years, and also plays World of Warcraft. Do we believe those muscles have ever been hunched around a table, or over a computer?
Back when I was a wee lass of twelve, I had major crushes on a few actors, who shall remain nameless to preserve my dignity. All my BOP and Teen Beat magazines featured a young Elijah Wood, along with the tidbit that his favorite movie was Star Wars. I remember, back then, thinking that he would make a good friend (aww). Since then, he’s only stayed awesome, in choices both professional and personal – and apparently he’s still a fan of Star Wars. I want to see more collaborations between him and Robert Rodriguez!
Jessica Alba might not proclaim her geek tendencies from the rooftops, but we know she’s at least a little counter-culture (dogs named Sid and Nancy?). She’s gorgeous, but refuses to do nudity, and in fact is often quite self-deprecating about her looks. In interviews and even acceptance speeches, she has a sort of angst about her that is uncomfortably familiar – it’s something that comes from being an outsider. While we don’t know if Alba would ever play a tabletop game, we know she doesn’t live the typical Hollywood partier lifestyle – and with the movie choices she continues to make and the people she surrounds herself with, it’s only a matter of time before she’s ‘one of us’, if she’s not already.
What about you? Would you consider these actors ‘geeks’? Or, tell me about your favorite famous geeks who didn’t make the list.