Being a leading man in Hollywood is no easy task. These elite few must be able to sweep any sexy co-star off their feet while also convincing audiences that they are the manliest of men. Most of these performers have always been chiseled-jawed Prom Kings, but every now and then, we get a leading man that’s a little more like your average geeky Joe.
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10. Tobey Maguire
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I know that Peter Parker was a wimp before he became Spider-Man, but I don’t think any of us ever looked at Tobey Maguire as the ultimate leading man before or after the release of Sam Raimi’s action blockbuster. Even though movies like Spider-Man and Ride with the Devil put him in that category, Tobey’s natural dorky demeanor has always made him a bit unique for even being up there in the first place.
It’s a no-brainer that when casting Peter Parker you need an actor with a large slice of wimp in his repertoire to play the role correctly. That’s why Maguire was a great look for the role. Why? Answer: Because Maguire and Parker are two of the biggest geeks around.
9. Gene Wilder
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Easily one of the greatest comedic actors of all time, Gene Wilder somehow became a legitimate leading man back in the ‘80s with flicks like Stir Crazy and The Woman in Red. Again, I’m not knocking Gene when calling him a wimp, I’m just pointing out that he’s wasn’t your average macho male lead hitting screens during his heyday. Wilder was a class act all the way and charmed his way to the top with natural skills instead of a chiseled Brad Pitt-like jawline. If Wilder was acting today, I don’t see him even coming close to making it as big as he did in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Most audiences these days care less about talent just as long as their favorite leading man has a perfect face and bod.
8. Elijah Wood
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Elijah Wood is absolutely not your average leading man. When really looking at it, it’s actually pretty amazing to believe that Elijah has been able hit the heights he has based on some of the roles he’s taken on. Even though Frodo Baggins was a reluctant hero in Lord of the Rings, he’s still a hero as far as the audience is concerned. His character in a film like 9 also seems to have this recurring theme. That’s what makes Elijah so unique as a leading man. He’s a leading man without really being a leading man. I mean the guy is 5’6” for cryin’ out loud.
7. Roger Moore
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Look, Roger Moore was a damn good James Bond, but when looking back on his seven films as the legendary spy, there is no doubt that Mr. Moore is the wimpiest of them all.
First off, there is no way he would ever be able to physically beat up anyone. It’s easy to believe that Sean Connery or Daniel Craig could scrap if their lives depended on it, but based on his fight scene moves, Roger seems to have little to no natural athletic skills. Even watching Moore try to fake ski in front of a green screen for The Spy Who Loved Me is hilarious.
To me, Moore has always been funniest James Bond. His one-liners are always classic and he always has a way of pulling off the ridiculous. That’s what made him special.
6. Robert Pattinson
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Do I really have to go hard on this one? Not really, y’all. Due to the fact that girls around the world unanimously adore him, almost every single male teenager on the plant probably has some kind of animosity towards Pattinson. With this said, I’m sure their first complaint about him is that he’s more of a dork than a vampire badass. I’m not talking trash on the guy, I’m just saying that it’s his soft, vulnerable character that attracts most of the female attention from crazed Twilight fans.
5. Freddie Prinze Jr.
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How in the hell did this guy even get pegged as the next big thing in the first place? In starring as a stud with roles like Wing Commander and She’s All That, Freddie Prinze Jr. tried to come off like a legit leading man. Most of us were not fooled though. I find it funny that studios tried to pass this guy off as the new Tom Cruise or something. At least Tom Cruise made you think he could effortlessly get the girl while saving the world. I’m sure Freddie’s long division skills were much better than his skills as the ultimate male helping stop an unspeakable evil trying to take over the planet.
4. Seth Rogen
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I love Seth Rogen to death, but he’s is the perfect anti-leading man. As far as the definition goes in a classic sense, Rogen is the polar opposite of what a leading man is supposed to be. Rogan’s not especially good looking, seems pretty out of shape, and he has more of a keg than a six-pack in the ab department. Either way, he’s still really interesting as a male lead.
Take Knocked Up for example. For being the lead in a romantic comedy that could have starred a Matthew McConaughey-like stud, Rogan made the outrageous plot seem completely realistic with his hilarious stoner attitude and adolescent one-liners. The character fit him perfectly and it wasn’t a stretch at all for him to fit right into the wimpy character. Will he be able to do the same in The Green Hornet? We sure do hope so.
3. Michael Cera
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Michael Cera has single-handedly cornered the market when it comes to landing roles as the geeky/wimpy male lead. I’m guessing that any quirky coming-of-age comedies made since his success in Superbad list Michael Cera as the perfect actor to play the role that they’re looking for. He completely changed the game overnight on the big screen as well as on the Internet. Michael Cera has kinda become the 21st century version of Woody Allen. He’s hilarious, goofy lookin’, and he always gets the girl.
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Purple Rain. What a classic. For those who have yet to view this 1984 landmark, Prince gets smacked around by his dad, tricks Apollonia into stripping off her clothes, and pumps out some the greatest pop jams ever written. For a guy that’s only 5'2" and doesn’t really speak all that much, Prince kinda knocked this one outta the park. Although for a natural leading man in a movie, Prince Rogers Nelson was anything but normal. His extremely short stature and ridiculous femininity are the two main standouts when watching this film. I feel like this is the reason why he’s acted in so few movies. Only in the ‘80s could you make a man like Prince the hero and romantic lead of a feature film. Under the Cherry Moon, anyone?
1. Woody Allen
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Over the years, in an endless string of romantic comedies, we’ve seen Woody Allen between the sheets with some the cutest female faces in Hollywood. Based on Woody’s dorky looks and zany personality, this is quite impressive. Not only is it impressive, it’s kinda unbelievable.
Allen’s endless talents in the writing and directing field helped catapult him to superstardom and somehow made him a legitimate leading man. Like most of the people on this list, I’m not making fun of Woody. It’s great when there are "normal" guys landing leading roles in movies based solely on their charisma and natural talent instead of square jaw and eight-pack abs. Seeing Woody pull chicks like Diane Keaton in a films like Annie Hall is inspiration for wimps worldwide who never thought brains would ever get them laid and/or adored by a large number of the female population.