Hugh Jackman is one thing, but Wolverine is another.
We tend to praise the sexy stars who make themselves totally unfuckable on film — as if they're courageously facing off, David-like, against the overwhelming force of their own attractiveness. (See Charlize Theron in Monster, et al.) But what about the actors who somehow deliver sexy performances, when in real life we wouldn't let them near our beds no matter how many drinks we've had? Here are five movie characters who are way sexier than the actors portraying them.
1. Jerry (Colin Farrell), Fright Night
Colin Farrell was widely considered to be a pretty sexy guy, until his messy personal life started getting headlines. His trip to rehab was obviously a good choice for his own life, but it's not a turn-on. Then there was the sex tape he made with Playboy model Nicole Narain, which was more uncomfortable than arousing. But his role as vampire-next-door Jerry in the 2011 remake of Fright Night was great proof of the sexiness of evil. Jerry was dangerous and seductive, and unlike Farrell, he seemed to take showers. Farrell seems to be moving past his status as a tabloid mainstay, though, so maybe soon he'll start seeming more doable than a bloodthirsty vampire with amazing eyebrows.
2. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Zombieland
Yes, some people are attracted to Jesse Eisenberg in real life. But their reasons have more to do with his intelligence, his talent, and his adorable awkwardness. These are all great things, but they don't scream "raw sexuality." (They kind of mumble it under their breath and then go stand in the corner.) But as a survivor battling his way through a zombie apocalypse, Eisenberg actually starts to get straight-up hot. For most of the film he keeps up his usual young-Woody Allen air, but by the ending — in which his character kills the crap out of some zombies to save the girl he loves — Eisenberg captures a bit of action-hero swagger that's normally missing in his cerebral roles. I wouldn't want him like that all the time, but I definitely want him to revisit it. Soon.
3. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), X-Men
This is kind of like shooting musical-theater fish in an Oscar-host barrel. (Metaphor. Nailed it.) Few knew who Hugh Jackman was before seeing him as Wolverine, the hairy, cocky, fuck-not-giving mutant who stole the show in X-Men. Were they in for a surprise! Because the real Hugh Jackman is a hammy, jovial, Broadway-loving imp. He smiles a lot, and he takes on stage roles as one of Liza Minnelli's gay ex-husbands. (I think she had, like, nine.) The real Hugh Jackman doesn't cage-fight and steal motorcycles and have crazy sideburns that you think are gross but also sort of hot. Jackman is a whiz at hosting Oscar ceremonies, but Wolverine is a prototypical asshole with a heart of gold, and the latter tends to inspire more passion.
4. Maximus (Russell Crowe), Gladiator
Gladiator hasn't aged very well, but Maximus was the role that really cemented Russell Crowe as a bona fide star, and justifiably so. Couple his noble qualities with his impressive physicality (and his revealing Roman outfits), and Maximus becomes a guy who can really get your blood pumping. Too bad, then, that in real life Russell Crowe is a hard-drinking, fight-picking, phone-throwing jerk a lot of the time. While Crowe has almost always apologized for his less than gentlemanly behavior, and while he's done some good work since his days of swords and sandals, the bloom is pretty much off the rose after you assault a hotel employee.
5. Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Ferris Bueller is a righteous dude, the kind of high-school crush object who's rebellious but not scary, snarky but not mean, exciting but not a speed addict. And it's probably because of Broderick's boyish good looks that Ferris's antics come off so well. (Imagine Charlie Sheen's character running off with someone's car. Not as charming.) But the thing about Matthew Broderick, now a forty-nine-year-old father of three, is that he never stopped being boyish. Even with gray creeping into his hair, he still looks shockingly like his iconic high-school character. And while his well-to-do Manhattanite father aura is certainly sweet, thinking of him in a sexual way makes me feel like a babysitter who's getting hit on by the father giving me a ride home.