Jeff Goldblum made his name with stellar, idiosyncratic performances in films like Nashville, The Big Chill and The Fly. Then, in 1993, Jurassic Park made him a household name. Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi classic featured Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, a gifted mathematician invited to Jurassic Park as a safety consultant prior to the park’s grand opening.
Malcolm’s laid-back attitude and smoldering charm helped him stand out among Jurassic Park‘s groundbreaking special effects and eye-popping action sequences. Audiences loved him, and Goldblum became a fan favorite. Even with that ground work laid, the past decade has seen his popularity skyrocket in ways no one could have predicted.
Now, more than 20 years after he first walked into Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm is returning to the franchise. Goldblum reprises his role as the fast-talking proponent of chaos theory in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, hitting theaters on June 22. With Goldblum reviving one of his most beloved characters, let’s look back at the best roles in his impressive, decades-long career.
Tricycle Man In Nashville
Jeff Goldblum worked with director Robert Altman on quite a few projects. One of the first was 1975’s Nashville, in which Goldblum appeared as the mysterious Tricycle Man. The small role is all physical charm and distinctive personality. It’s nearly a dialogue-free gig, but the role also stitches together the stories of two dozen other characters. With charismatic encounters and eye-catching magic tricks, Goldblum commanded every scene he was in, turning one of his more obscure roles into one of his most memorable.
Aldo Gehring In Threshold
In Threshold, Goldblum plays Dr. Aldo Gehring, an idealistic heart surgeon on the verge of creating an artificial heart to save his patient, played by Mare Winningham. It’s a different sort of role for Goldblum, and he sets aside his signature personality to convey Gehring’s straightforward demeanor. He finds a compelling dynamic in Gehring’s stoicism, and delivers a gripping performance as a man committed to saving lives. Goldblum garnered acclaim for his work, and was honored with a Genie Award nomination (Canada’s Oscars) in the Best Performance by a Foreign Actor category.
Seth Brundle In The Fly
Not many films are as taxing, physically and emotionally, as The Fly. Goldblum plays Seth Brundle, an avid inventor who, during an experiment, accidentally merges his DNA with that of a fly. With his molecular structure altered, Brundle slowly transforms into a monstrous creature. Goldblum delivers a captivating performance, taking audiences through the harrowing journey of an honest man who transforms into a mindless monster driven only by his primal instincts. His increasingly unhinged personality creates a progressively tense atmosphere, allowing us to understand the overwhelming emotional pain Brundle endures as his condition worsens.
David Levinson In Independence Day
Goldblum went back to sci-fi for this ’90s blockbuster. In Independence Day, Goldblum plays David Levinson, a brilliant scientist who helps the US government fight off an alien invasion. Once again, the actor pours his full charisma into the character to establish Levinson as an arrogant, yet endearing hero. These traits, combined with Goldblum’s impeccable comedic timing, make the fast-talking tech expert one of Independence Day‘s standout characters.
David Jason In Deep Cover
Deep Cover allows Goldblum to get into head space of someone sinister and cruel. He plays David Jason, a ruthless drug trafficker interested in money, power and violence. Goldblum completely immerses himself in the role, crafting a merciless character who’ll go to any length to achieve his goals. It’s a departure from Goldblum’s usual body of work, but the actor masterfully conveys the traits that made Jones scary as hell. He can create a friendly facade, and drop it at the snap of a finger to reveal a sinister criminal with no regard for other people.
Vilmos Kovacs In The Grand Budapest Hotel
Goldblum stretches his comedic muscles in The Grand Budapest Hotel. He’s Deputy Vilmos Kovacs, lawyer to the wealthy Madame D. While Kovacs appears only briefly in the film, Goldblum takes full advantage of his screen time to turn the relatively minor character into an unforgettable presence. Kovacs is unflappable, even in the most dire circumstances, including the death of his beloved cat. Goldblum’s standout performance made Kovacs’s untimely demise at the hands of Willem Dafoe’s character utterly heartbreaking.
Jerry Barnes In Morning Glory
In Morning Glory, Rachel McAdams plays an idealistic and inexperienced producer tasked with improving a failing news show. Jeff Goldblum plays Jerry Barnes, Fuller’s unenthusiastic boss, and the role lets the actor filter his stammering patter through a screen of deadpan indifference. He’s weary and reluctant to take chances – but you can see a glimmer of life through that defensive exterior. Goldblum turns what could be a colorless role into both a stark reminder of the highly-competitive TV broadcasting world and a welcome comedic addition to a thoroughly entertaining film.
The Grandmaster In Thor: Ragnarok
No one but Goldblum could make a character this despicable so entertainingly captivating. In Thor: Ragnarok, Goldblum plays the vicious Grandmaster, who rules a junk planet and oversees a gladitorial slave ring. The actor takes advantage of Ragnarok‘s comedic tone to bring a fascinating nuance to his performance. He disguises the Grandmaster’s psychopathic tendencies behind a warm veil of charm, creating a highly unpredictable overlord. It’s almost impossible to tell how he will react during any given circumstance, which makes him a great foil for Thor and Loki.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will arrive in theaters on June 22, 2018.