You might have noticed some posters up for the upcoming movie ‘Priest’, in which a badass hooded figure looks out over a futuristic city:
But who, I thought, could this hooded badass, presumably the titular Priest, be? Surely not Paul Bettany, I thought to myself – hasn’t he played enough tortured, badass religious figures? But yes, indeed it is Paul Bettany under the hood, knife poised to kill vampires.
So let’s just tally this up, shall we? Paul Bettany, the Brit who came on the scene as the scampy, skinny redheaded Chaucer in ‘A Knight’s Tale’, has found a bit of a…specific… niche in the past few years. Let’s review:
1. In 2006’s The Da Vinci Code, Paul Bettany plays Silas, the haunted and hooded monk with fierce fighting skills. He spends a good chunk of his screen time topless.
2. In 2010’s Legion, Paul Bettany plays Michael, a haunted and winged (until he cuts them off) Archangel with fierce fighting skills. He spends a good chunk of his screen time topless.
3. In 2011, Paul Bettany plays Priest, a haunted and hooded Priest with fierce fighting skills. I’ll have to see the movie to see if he is topless.
Interesting pattern, isn’t it? I can just imagine his agent on the phone with casting directors:
“I’m sorry, we’re really only looking for Christian figures. What’s the part? Pope John Paul II? That’s great! Just some questions… does he fight something, like maybe zombies? Yes? He fights zombies? With Krav Maga skills? Perfect. Ooh, but he’s confident and psychologically sound? Hmm, that’s no good. What if he’s carrying guilt from some unspecified past event – yes, that’s right, he is catholic after all!… No, this is all sounding good. If you can assure me that he will be wearing a hood or not wearing a shirt for a good portion of his time onscreen, I think we have a deal!”