Athletes & Celebrities

Five Surprisingly Bad-Ass Actors

From careers built on comedies and romantic leads, these stars went bad -- and did it very well.

by

Edward Norton

An actor's actor, Norton made his breakthrough when he played a weedy psychopath in Primal Fear, exhibit A (above).

Since then, he has gone on to play cub scout leaders, a lawyer for Larry Flint, a greasy, cheating card sharp and a lovesick, singing sap in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You. But along the way, he made two movies that redefined his image into a bad-ass—heck, one of them arguably redefined the entire definition of a "bad-ass." In 1998, he bulked up tp play a terrifying, head-on-curb-stomping neo-Nazi in American History X. The following year, starred alongside Brad Pitt in the cult classic Fight Club, where he got to do what many of us have only dreamed of—pound Jared Leto's pretty face into a bloody pulp.

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