Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell in Grindhouse

Kurt Russell in “Grindhouse”

What else does Kurt Russell have to prove? He’s a born actor – though sports always clawed at him from the beginning – who has the ability appear as a movie star (when on the red carpet with Goldie Hawn) and then on screen, he’s someone entirely different: he is who he’s playing. Whether it be Elvis, Jack Burton, Wyatt Earp, or badass Snake Plissken kicking shit in New York or L.A., Kurt Russell disappears into the fabric of his characters. He’s a big deal, for sure, and a Hollywood fixture who’s here to stay.

Kurt was under contract to Disney as a child actor in the 1960s, but when it was over, he didn’t attempt to cross the chasm between child star and adult actor – he tried baseball, even playing minor league ball for a while. But in 1968, when he worked on “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band,” Kurt met then 23-year-old Goldie Jeanne Hawn. 15 years later, the two stars teamed up on “Swing Shift” and later “Overboard,” and have been together ever since. Kurt’s own breakthrough role was as Elvis in the 1979 TV movie directed by John Carpenter, and he even voiced the King again in “Forrest Gump.” Kurt and Carpenter began a collaboration that resulted in some of Kurt’s finest work: the Snake Plissken movies “Escape from New York” and its 1996 sequel “Escape from L.A.” (which Kurt co-wrote), “The Thing” in 1982, and “Big Trouble in Little China” in 1986.

In the 90s, Kurt was part of some box office and eventual cult favorites, such as “Backdraft,” “Stargate,” “Tombstone,” and alongside Seagal in “Executive Decision.” In the 2000s, Kurt could easily do anything he wanted, and one of his more memorable performances of the decade was as real-life coach Herb Brooks in “Miracle.” Recently, he’s Tarantino’s Stuntman Mike in “Grindhouse,” a film bound to become one of the leading cult classics in Kurt’s repertoire. His eclectic career has many interesting turns (such as “3,000 Miles to Graceland”), but never has a performance put into question Kurt’s ability. It’s been more than a decade since the last Carpenter/Russell teaming, though, and we’re hoping both are outrageous enough for one last outing.

ALSO: See how Snake Plissken fared in our Badass Bracket!

Kurt on the Screen

Kurt was the lead in his own show by the time he was 12 – “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters.” He’s Dexter Reilly in the 1969 comedy “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes,” plays opposite a chimp in “The Barefoot Executive,” and made it big in John Carpenter’s “Elvis” in 1979. From there, he’s Rudy Russo in Robert Zemeckis’ “Used Cars,” Snake Plissken in “Escape from New York,” and “The Thing” the following year. He teams with Goldie Hawn in “Swing Shift,” is Jack Burton in “Big Trouble in Little China,” part of the triangle that includes Michelle Pfeiffer and Mel Gibson in “Tequila Sunrise,” Stallone’s partner in “Tango & Cash,” William Baldwin’s brother in “Backdraft,” the titular character in “Captain Ron,” Col. Jack O’Neil in “Stargate,” and Jeff Taylor in “Breakdown.” Kurt’s with Kevin Costner in the wacky “3,000 Miles to Graceland,” the psychiatrist in “Vanilla Sky,” a cop in “Dark Blue,” Dakota Fanning’s father in “Dreamer,” The Commander in “Sky High,” and the lead in “Poseidon.”

Kurt Says

On his political beliefs:
“I am by nature libertarian… don’t tread on me, just leave me alone, that’s all.”

On his movie roles:
“I seem to have a knack for picking movies that go on to be cult favorites.”

On performance:
“When you think you’re good, you will play at that level. If you doubt yourself, you will play like crap.”