I’ve been studying movie characters trying to decide what it is I like (and dislike) about the hero. What is it about them that makes me love them, in spite of their character weakness?You can make them bad . . . but give them something good too.
Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in Pirates of the Caribbean. Jack Sparrow is a cocky pirate and a rogue. He’ll steal, he’ll flirt with the women, and he’ll do almost anything to find the Aztec gold. But he has a soft spot for his reluctant sidekick William Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Norrington (Keira Knightley). And despite his cavalier attitude, in the end he does the right thing, winning the hearts of viewers everywhere.
Give them a cause.
Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) in You’ve Got Mail. Joe is the mega-million franchise book store, Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) owns the small book store on the corner. Despite Joe’s determination to invade the New York market with discounted book prices, he feels bad that Kathleen must close down the store her mother started as a result. He shows sympathy and even gives her business pointers. He does everything he can to convince Kathleen that he’s not as bad as he seems. And, he succeeds!
Give them values that resonate.Navy Rear Admiral Matt Sherman (Cary Grant) in Operation Petticoat. This is one of my top five all time movies. Sherman is determined to have his submarine, the USS Sea Tiger, in the war which means overlooking Lieutenant Nick Holden (Tony Curtis), ability to “scrounge up” whatever supplies they need—and then some. When Holden brings five female nurses on board, Sherman takes it all in stride—even when he’s tempted to do otherwise.
As characters go, I guess I could add that you need to make them all likeable. No person is all bad or all good, so let their character traits stand out.
Your turn: What are some of your favorite movie heroes?