English character actor who began his career mostly typecast into "foreigner" roles due to his Spanish and Italian heritage. Nevertheless, Molina has carved out a career spanning more than three decades on stage and in film. His turn as Doctor Octopus
in Spider-Man 2
was arguably his biggest mainstream breakout, but before that he had racked up a steady array of memorable performances: in Frida
as legendary Mexican painter Diego Rivera, Boogie Nights
as Rahad Jackson, Prick Up Your Ears
as Kenneth Halliwell, Boris the Butcher in The Man Who Knew Too Little
, Dudley Do-Right
as Snidely Whiplash and even his debut film performance in Raiders of the Lost Ark
as Sapito, Indy's treacherous assistant at the beginning.
He also has a distinguished theatre career, playing Tevye in the revival of Fiddler on the Roof
and originating the role of the great abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko in the play Red.
among other things.
He also holds the record for most LEGO
minifigures made out of a single actor, at six (there are four different Lego figures for Dr. Octopus, plus one for Satipo
and one for Sheik Amar
This actor provides examples of:
- As Himself: In Coffee and Cigarettes, Molina played an exaggeratedly Woobie version of himself, in contrast to his scene partner, Steve Coogan, playing a heightened Jerkass version of himself. This was nearly unanimously regarded as one of the standout vignettes in the film due to an epic reversal at the end of their scene.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows
- Dyeing for Your Art: Willing to change his physique for roles. However, it can be taxing, and he was really annoyed when he had to lose a lot of weight for Spider-Man 2 only to have to gain it all again for Fiddler on the Roof.
- Evil Brit: In real life, no, but he's often typecast as one.
"I love being added to that list of English actors playing villains. I guess somewhere in the history of American film and television someone decided that the English accent sounded somehow villainous."
- Fake Nationality: He is one of the reigning kings of this trope in Hollywood, along with perhaps Ben Kingsley and Erick Avari.
- I Call It Vera: Molina had pet names for his four mechanical tentacles as Doc Ock. Harry and Larry were the bottom two, Moe was the top right one and Flo was the top left one.
- May-December Romance: His wife is 16 years older than he.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: By all accounts a modest and funny gentleman who can also be called upon to play abusive husbands, resentful murderous lovers, comic book villains, and characters who are simply crazy.
- Plays Great Ethnics:
"I'm very proud of the fact that I can play all these different nationalities. I've done it with varying degrees of success, but at least with the best of intentions. I think at some point you run the danger of becoming everyone's favorite foreigner."
- Type Casting: Often as foreigners and/or villains, which he's noted but does not mind. He feels he's suited to these parts.
"I've been acting now for over 30 years... certainly you get a better idea of what suits you or what you think is within your capabilities. I mean, if someone sent me the part of a 30-year-old romantic lead I'd have to say, 'I'm sorry, and that's very sweet of you, but let me play his dad.'"