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Why Wilson Fisk From Daredevil Looks So Familiar

Netflix's Daredevil series proved Marvel could be just as successful on TV as it is in cinemas—and one of the best things about the show is its complex portrayal of our hero's nemesis the Kingpin, a.k.a. gangster Wilson Fisk. Bringing depth, relatable motivation, and even some heart to his cruel character, actor Vincent D'Onofrio makes an outstanding villain—but Daredevil is far from his first screen appearance. If he looks familiar to you, it's for very good reason: D'Onofrio has worked steadily since the '80s playing an insane range of characters. Here's a look at some of the most distinctive roles from an impressively eclectic filmography.

The First Turn On! (1984)

D'Onofrio made his film debut in 1984's The First Turn On!, a teen comedy about a group of campers telling stories about their made-up sexual exploits to pass the time while they're stuck in a cave. It was made by Troma, the studio famous for low-budget cult classics like the Toxic Avenger series, which means you can expect a low budget and big acting.

D'Onofrio appears as a camper named Lobotomy, and his big scene involves emerging from a lake to tell the counselor he couldn't find a dead body. (This movie's obviously a little darker than your average sex romp.) D'Onofrio's performance is short, but he finds a way to be weird and funny with little more than one line. You may not have picked him out as a big star from this debut, but it was clear D'Onofrio was an actor who'd make interesting choices.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

D'Onofrio was 27 when he scored his breakout role in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. Though he inhabits the character of Leonard "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence fully, it took a lot for him to transform for the part. First, he gained 70 pounds and shaved his head; then, he had to go through military boot camp with all the extra weight and suffer through the exacting filming style of Stanley Kubrick. The shoot was so intense, he suffered a knee injury that required surgical reconstruction.

But all the arduous work paid off and D'Onofrio started to get noticed for the first time in his career. In an interview with the New York Times, he recalled, "Until I got Full Metal Jacket I was doing Off Off Broadway plays with three people in the audience. I couldn't get arrested then.” With amazing reviews and a transformative performance, D'Onofrio wouldn't have to worry about three-person audiences ever again.

Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

After playing an overweight private driven to insanity in Full Metal Jacket, D'Onofrio took a sharp left turn with his next project—the 1987 comedy Adventures in Babysitting, in which he plays Thor. Yep, before Chris Hemsworth ever got a chance, D'Onofrio donned some flaxen locks to play a well-muscled man mistaken for the Marvel legend by a Thor-worshiping young girl.

If you haven't seen it and you think the guy who played Kingpin couldn't possibly be a convincing Thor, think again: he's not as insanely ripped as Hemsworth, but D'Onofrio pulls off the blond hair and muscled arms pretty well. Maybe they could use some Tron-type CGI to make a movie where young D'Onofrio as Thor fights current D'Onofrio as Kingpin.

JFK (1991)

Oliver Stone's JFK seemingly starred just about every notable actor of the early '90s. We all remember Kevin Costner chanting "back and to the left," but he was joined by a supporting cast that included John Candy, Wayne Knight, Kevin Bacon, Laurie Metcalf, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, and Gary Oldman—and that doesn't even count roles by Tommy Lee Jones and Joe Pesci, both sporting hideous, character-appropriate wigs.

Not to be left out, D'Onofrio earned a spot in the star-studded cast as Bill Newman, a witness to the Kennedy assassination. In real life, Newman and his family saw the shooting from the closest distance of any civilian and spent many years recounting their story to hordes of people desperate to hear more about that horrible day in Dallas. Since Newman claimed that the shots came from the hill behind them, his account spurred grassy knoll rumors for years to come.

Ed Wood (1994)

In 1994's Ed Wood, D'Onofrio played renowned director Orson Welles, appearing in a vital scene during which Welles offers encouragement to Wood—a real-life filmmaker who, as movie buffs are no doubt aware, had a far less impressive reputation. To this point, D'Onofrio had looked completely different in every role, so it's both surprising and completely expected that he made for a pretty perfect young Welles. Unfortunately, his vocal performance didn't quite match up with the real thing.

According to Maurice LaMarche, the incredibly prolific voice actor behind Brain of Pinky and the Brain and many, many, many more, director Tim Burton loved D'Onofrio's look, but wanted to dub over all his lines. LaMarche was flown in to record the lines; sadly, both actors were slightly shortchanged. D'Onofrio was unhappy about having his performance overdubbed, and LaMarche received no credit for his flawless Welles impression. If you'd like to hear how D'Onofrio might have sounded in the role, check out his self-made short film Five Minutes Mr. Welles.

Men in Black (1997)

When D'Onofrio played the big bug inhabiting Edgar's body in Men in Black, he didn't just do a couple of weird faces and play a basic villain. He truly thought the character through, bringing hilarity and menace to this sci-fi comedy hit. When D'Onofrio auditioned for the role, according to Backstage, he took inspiration from John Huston's character in Chinatown. Since the Huston character was utterly evil but trying to present himself as a normal family man, D'Onofrio thought it would be a good fit for the alien Edgar.

But the character really came to life when he saw the concept art for the big bug. Edgar's role didn't have much to it when D'Onofrio was cast, since the script was still undergoing tweaks. When he saw what the alien villain looked like, it all came together; D'Onofrio imagined this huge bug squeezing himself into such a small body and how that constant discomfort could shape Edgar's entire personality. D'Onofrio nailed the physical comedy, taking a character that could've been a bit of a throwaway and turning it into a complete scene-stealer.

The Cell (2000)

The Cell got points from critics for its beautiful visual style, but that's about it—which is a shame, because D'Onofrio delivered a memorably creepy performance as a psychotic killer who selects women at random, kidnaps them, and lets them slowly drown in a glass-enclosed cell. The killer is caught, but suffers a seizure; since he's the only one who knows where the cell is and where his last victim is slowly awaiting her death, a psychologist (played by Jennifer Lopez) has to go inside his mind to find the answers.

D'Onofrio was reluctant to take on a serial killer role, although to his credit, he refused to have any sympathy for his bad guy. Asked if they wanted to make his character sympathetic, D'Onofrio replied, "If we had had it our way, there would have been no pity at all. I'm totally against that. I hate the idea of bad guys walking away at the end of movies—because I have a family and stuff. It just bothers the s*** out of me."

Steal This Movie (2000)

After playing a serial killer in The Cell, D'Onofrio pulled another 180 and starred in Steal This Movie as Abbie Hoffman. The real-life founder of the "Yippies" and counterculture leader in the late '60s, Hoffman led a stranger-than-fiction life: after he was busted for selling coke to a cop (which he claimed was a setup), he abandoned his family, changed his name, and became an environmental activist. Unfortunately, most critics agreed that the film failed to capture its controversial subject.

Playing Hoffman was a big challenge for D'Onofrio. As he said, "I know one of my tasks as an actor was to bring my own charisma up as high as I could to match Abbie's. That was an immense task for me because I'm a bit introverted. That's why I'm not at the political convention...I'd get up in front of the microphone and I'd feel like a fraud. I'd feel shameful, and I'd feel like a fraud." For an actor with such an impressive range, it's surprising to hear he'd be afraid to speak to a crowd without a character to hide behind.

The Break-Up (2006)

Taking a break from playing murders and political radicals, D'Onofrio appeared as Vince Vaughn's high-strung brother Dennis in the 2006 comedy The Break-Up. Though the movie has a few funny scenes and D'Onofrio finds a way to make the underwritten brother character into something really interesting, critics were less than impressed.

Still, it's fun to see D'Onofrio play off of Vince Vaughn. Reuniting after working together in the very different The Cell, it's safe to assume they enjoyed the chance to collaborate on a comedic change of pace.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2011)

When D'Onofrio joined the cast of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, it was obvious he wouldn't be playing some everyday detective—and sure enough, his character Det. Goren was an incredibly intelligent cop who struggled with manic depression. The schedule behind the long-running drama took its toll on the actor, however; D'Onofrio collapsed twice on set due to exhaustion and ended up in the hospital. He ended up taking a year and a half break from the series, and when he returned, it was only for a limited arc. Would he ever consider doing a full 23-episode series again? "I will never ever," he vowed to the Los Angeles Times, "no matter what kind of money they offer me, ever do that again."

Jurassic World (2015)

Never one to rest on his laurels, D'Onofrio came out with another massive hit right after his brilliant turn as Wilson Fisk in Daredevil. Playing another villain of sorts, D'Onofrio appeared in Jurassic World as Hoskins, a man who wants to militarize raptors. Though Fisk and Hoskins may have similarly malicious plans, D'Onofrio plays them in completely different ways. Where Fisk is calm and calculated, Hopkins is cocksure and a little mouthy. Plus, we bet Fisk would have found a way to get off that island with a raptor in tow and not end up as dino food.

Unsurprisingly, D'Onofrio was thrilled to be in a big blockbuster. When asked how it felt when he first read the script, he replied, "Amazing. Amazing. You have to take your time with it, because you have to make sure you are getting the whole thing." Plus, he was glad to take the part to finally make something his kids could watch. "I think it's the first time that I've ever done movies they can actually see, except for Adventures in Babysitting, but that was a long time ago," he told Collider. "Now, my 22-year-old can see everything I've done, but my 15-year-old hasn't been able to see anything at all. But yeah, I hope I'm a super cool dad."