John Malkovich , born John Gavin Malkovich in Christopher, Illinois, on December 9, 1953, is one of the seminal actors of modern cinema. Of Croatian, English, French, German and Scottish descent, the performer gradually got bitten by the bug of his trade, which is why, in 1976, he became a founding member of the Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago.
Before all that, during his high school years, he appeared in various plays and the musical ‘ Carousel ‘ and was also a member of a folk gospel group. During a summer of 1972, he participated in a local theater project, starring in the play ‘ America Hurrah ‘, by Jean-Claude van Itallie. After transferring from Eastern Illinois University, where he began ecology courses, to Illinois State University, he began his studies in theater.
After moving to New York in the early 1980s, he soon began a prolific career on stage. In 1984, he appeared opposite Dustin Hoffman on Broadway in the play ‘ Death of a Salesman ‘ and shortly thereafter participated in Volker Schlöndorff ‘s television adaptation for which he won an EMMY Award.
Malkovich made his debut as a film actor in 1984 in the film ‘ In a place of the heart ‘ (Robert Benton), in which he played a blind war veteran, a role for which he received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.
12. ‘The Black Sea’ (Peter Berg, 2016)
Disaster film, based on real events, in which we see the 2010 Gulf of Mexico pipeline accident in which eleven workers lost their lives. Malkovich plays a BP representative who doesn’t quite understand that the situation is critical.
11. ‘In the Line of Fire’ (Wolfgang Petersen, 1993)
Clint Eastwood plays a Secret Service agent who will never forgive himself for not having done his job well in Dallas in 1963. Thirty years later, the incumbent president is preparing for re-election and he must protect his life, but a psychotic killer doesn’t let him.
Grade: Grade: 7’2
10. ‘Rounders’ (John Dahl, 1998)
An excellent card player decides to play again to help a friend pay off a debt. In the game he will run into the sinister Teddy KGB, a character played by Malkovich.
9. ‘Death of a Traveler’ (Volker Schlöndorff, 1985)
Telefilm based on the work of the same name by Arthur Miller in which a 60-year-old man, played by Dustin Hoffman, reviews his life discovering that he has had more failures than successes and that his relationship with his wife and children, one of them Malkovich, has been dead for years.
8. ‘In a place of the heart’ (Robert Benton, 1984)
In Depression-era Texas, a mother of two does what she can to pay off the mortgage on her farm. Among the characters who will try to lend a hand is Will, a vision-impaired war veteran played by Malkovich. For this role he got his first Oscar nomination, but Haing S. Ngor, his co-star in ‘The Cries of Silence’, took the statuette.
7. ‘The strong souls’ (Raoul Ruiz, 2001)
In 1882 in the Dróme region, Thérèse, 22 years old, flees the countryside with her boyfriend Fermin and they settle in Chatillon. Shortly after she Thérèse she meets Madame Numance, a woman of extraordinary elegance and generosity.
6. ‘Of Mice and Men’ (Gary Sinise, 1992)
Back in the Great Depression, Lennie (Malkovich) and George (Gary Sinise) find work on a ranch where supporting the boss’s son is the hardest task. Problems with the woman of the house will not make your stay more pleasant and both will have to survive, either together or apart.
5. ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ (Stephen Frears, 1988)
The Viscount de Valmont, former lover of the Marquise de Merteuil, is commissioned to deflower the young Cécile de Volanges, but the Catholic and married Madame de Tourvel seems a much more interesting conquest. Nothing like the palace entanglements in pre-revolutionary France.
4. ‘The Exchange’ (Clint Eastwood, 2008)
A single mother despairs when her son disappears without a trace. Months later, the police inform her that she has found a child whom she does not recognize as her own. She branded crazy, she will ally with Reverend Briegleb (Malkovich) who will help her in the unfinished search for her.
3. ‘Empire of the Sun’ (Steven Spielberg, 1987)
In this tale of an English boy from a well-off family hit by World War II in Shanghai, Malkovich is the cynical trickster who helps the protagonist survive on the streets.
2. ‘Being John Malkovich’ (Spike Jonze, 1999)
A puppeteer discovers a curious passageway that leads to the mind of John Malkovich, the actor, being able to handle the celebrity at will for some time. This madness brilliantly written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by the essential Spike Jonze deserves no further description, but new viewings and praise.
1. ‘The screams of silence’ (Roland Joffé, 1984)
A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during the rise of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Different reporters from around the world seem to be in the same situation, such as an American photographer played by Malkovich who will help the protagonist and his guide to get out of the French embassy where they are besieged.