Alpha male actors

Daniel Craig in Spectre (2015, above).
Daniel Craig in Spectre (2015, above).PHOTO: SONY PICTURES
Vin Diesel in Xander Cage in the xXxmovie franchise (2002 and 2017, above.
Vin Diesel in Xander Cage in the xXxmovie franchise (2002 and 2017, above.PHOTO: UIP
Tom Hardy.
Dwayne Johnson.
Dwayne Johnson.PHOTO: UIP

Idris Elba is often called the definitive man's man. Is it because of his bulging muscles, his towering 1.9m-tall frame or his deep baritone voice? Or, perhaps, it has to do with the many tough guy roles that he has played, such as drug kingpin Stringer Bell in The Wire (2002-2008) and detective chief inspector John Luther in Luther (2010-2016).

He tells The Straits Times, however, that he does not consider himself all alpha male, despite having filmed 2015 documentary series Idris Elba: No Limits, in which he broke an 88-year-old land speed record in a Bentley, as well as Idris Elba: Fighter, where he trains to become a professional kick-boxer.

He says: "Would I like to do something that wasn't so aggressive? Well, Bake Off not so much, but something like extreme knitting might be good. That could be an interesting comeback show."

The Straits Times looks at other alpha males dominating Hollywood screens.


Most manly role: James Bond in Quantum Of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015)

There is the sleek, Pierce Brosnan-type of James Bond, and then there is the rugged, superbuff Craig-type of James Bond.

Craig was initially a very unpopular choice for the iconic spy role, as fans felt he was not dapper enough, but he has since won them over with his ubermacho ways. His James Bond does not just wrestle baddies on top of moving trains or hang from helicopters in the air- all Bonds do that. His Bond does all that while his biceps are threatening to burst through his suit jacket.


Most manly roles: Xander Cage in the xXx movie franchise (2002 and 2017) and Dominic Toretto in the Fast & Furious films (2001 - 2017)

With his deep voice and ultra buff body - often shown off in white singlets - Diesel is the blockbuster action movie leading man of choice, playing stoic musclemen in the Fast & Furious franchise and The Chronicles Of Riddick film series.

He is now seen in the movie xXx: Return Of Xander Cage, where he reprises the titular role of an extreme sports enthusiast-turned-reluctant spy.

In April, he will be seen playing professional street racer Toretto again in Fast & Furious 8, the latest instalment in the Fast & Furious racecar movies.


Most manly role: Max in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Hardy is the strong and silent type of alpha male. He has convincingly portrayed dark and sometimes vicious leading men multiple times in films such as Warrior (2011), where he played a troubled boxer, and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), where he took on the role of supervillain Bane.

When he played the brooding Max in Mad Max: Fury Road - the iconic role formerly played by another famous alpha male, Mel Gibson - he reportedly stayed in character throughout, which made him difficult to work with. That did not take away from his popularity - it arguably made him only more mysteriously sexy.


Most manly roles: The demigod Hercules in Hercules (2014) and tough security service agent Luke Hobbs in the Fast & Furious movies

Just one look at his gigantic muscles and you know you should not mess with him. The former professional wrestler has made a name for himself as a box-office king, playing security service agent Luke Hobbs in the Fast & Furious franchise and saving his family in disaster movie San Andreas (2015).

In May, he will get to show off those biceps again in Baywatch, the reboot of the iconic television series about an elite group of lifeguards.

Unlike other alpha male actors, such as Tom Hardy, Johnson is not afraid to make fun of his beefy self. Besides playing himbo roles in comedy action movies such as The Other Guys (2010) and Pain & Gain (2013), he is known to be witty and self-deprecating in interviews. Last year, he was named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.

Yip Wai Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'Alpha male actors'. Print Edition | Subscribe