Happy 38th birthday to Malin Akerman, the Swedish/Canadian actress who has spent the last decade or so becoming the female equivalent of Sam Rockwell. The only difference is, everybody has heard of Sam Rockwell.
She can do drama, she can do comedy, she can take the most underwritten role and make it something substantial — so, as a birthday present, can we all work together and make this talented woman more famous?
Don’t get us wrong, she works steadily and has undoubtedly made a dollar or two to save for a rainy day. But Akerman seems like one of those unique talents that Hollywood doesn’t really know what to do with. Below, we examine five key roles in her career thus far — and how they illustrate her struggle.
‘The Heartbreak Kid’
Akerman’s first major role had her playing a “Blind Date”-like character in this Farrelly Brothers remake of the 1972 Neil Simon film. The idea was that she was easy to fall in love with — but difficult to wake up to the next morning.
The problem with the film — and perhaps, one of the reasons it didn’t do so well — is that Akerman’s fully-invested performance made it hard for the viewer to not fall in love. She belted out songs, did crazy things during sex scenes, acted sunburnt and psychotic and balanced her disarming smile with the admittance that she was a longtime cocaine addict. By the time that the infamous final act arrived — which involved her urinating on Ben Stiller and a very-unflattering shot of her supposed genitals — it was difficult to imagine 99.9 percent of Hollywood actresses being brave enough to do half that stuff on camera.
Ben Stiller’s Eddie may have ultimately chosen Michelle Monaghan in that film, but viewers had to be more impressed with the gorgeous woman whose selfless performance — in the post credit scene, she’s having sex with a donkey! — was willing to go anywhere for a laugh.
Say what you will about Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen,” but the smartest thing he did on that film may have been casting Akerman as the butt-kicking Silk Spectre II. Her relationship with Patrick Wilson’s Nite Owl carried over perfectly from the comic, and she trained hard for scenes like the one below — showing once again how gung-ho she can be when she lands a role. Sadly, with all the Marvel and DC superhero films being greenlit these days, nobody has ever cast her in another one.
First off, let’s just get this out of the way: “CBGB” is a really bad movie about a really ripe topic. You don’t need to watch much more than this clip below, which shows how impressive Akerman can be as a real-life character. Before you press play, think about Debbie Harry and the way she talks — then listen to how Akerman nails it.
Akerman had a brief music career as lead vocalist for an alternative band — somebody needs to find her a great musician biopic, and let those untapped talents shine.
RIP to this ABC sitcom, which starred Akerman as the hot mess third wife of a middle-aged lawyer. Although it got positive reviews and decent ratings, the show never seemed to gain much momentum, and didn’t do a good job of promoting Akerman as a breakout talent. Funny, sincere and sweet, it’s another role that Akerman clearly attacked with everything she had, but ultimately this “Trophy” ended up on the shelf.
Currently, Akerman is starring on another too-little-seen project, the Showtime series “Billions.” She’s playing a character who could best be described with another word that starts with “b,” and it also rhymes with rich.
Honestly, watching just these 5 clips back-to-back makes you wonder how Malin Akerman isn’t more of a household name. Somewhere out there, perhaps some screenwriter is finally penning something that can tap into all these diverse talents of hers (we didn’t even mention “Children’s Hospital!”) and give her the role of a lifetime — what a wonderful birthday present that would be, to all of us.