What role do Paul Bettany, Robert de Niro, Rowan Atkinson and Max von Sydow share? Mr. Jennifer Connelly, the Oscar winner, Mr. Bean, and the legendary Swedish superstar all have one part in common; they have all played priests on the big screen.
In this weekend’s post-apocalyptic action horror film, Priest, Bettany plays the title character, a warrior pastor hunting the vampires who kidnapped his niece. Based on Min-Woo Hyung's graphic novels, the movie also features Christopher Plummer as the Monsignor, described by the legendary Canadian actor as “a horrible priest gone wrong — a lovely, stylish villain.”
In the Barry Levinson film, Sleepers, De Niro was Father Bobby, a Hell’s Kitchen priest who lies in court to prevent four of his parishioners from going to jail for killing a sadistic prison guard.
Atkinson played Father Gerald, a new vicar performing his first marriage ceremony in Four Weddings and a Funeral. The tongue-tied priest has some of the film’s funniest lines, including, “In the name of the father, the son and the holy goat. Er... ghost.”
Probably the most famous movie celebrant is Father Lankester Merrin, as portrayed by Max von Sydow in The Exorcist and the Exorcist II: The HereticVon. Sydow is one of the few actors to have played both God in The Greatest Story Ever Told and the Devil in Needful Things. But, it his first film and the iconic line “The Power of Christ compels you!” that is most memorable.