Though the UK accounts for less than 1% of the world’s population, it has one of the largest creative sectors in the world. Hollywood flocks to the UK for great comic book innovators, film-making talent and stunning locations: for example, HBO’s Game of Thrones was filmed at the Paint Hall in Belfast (one of Europe’s largest and most advanced studios) and amid the rugged Northern Irish countryside. A large portion of Thor: The Dark World was filmed in London and across the UK. The UK’s impact on the arts worldwide is simply brilliant.
3. The Sandman
British comic book legend Neil Gaiman originally published his classic series The Sandman between 1989 and 1996. The Sandman: Endless Nights was the first graphic novel ever to appear on the New York Times bestseller list (another famous graphic novel to appear on that list was Watchmen.)
BONUS FACT: Gaiman also wrote the Doctor Who episode ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ with Matt Smith as the Doctor. The episode won both a Hugo and a Ray Bradbury award.
5. The Dark Knight Trilogy
The Batman comic books are some of the most popular in American comic book history and the recent adaptation of the Batman/Bruce Wayne storyline has received international critical acclaim. But some of the main players in this trilogy are not from Gotham City, or even the United States. In fact, many of them hail from Dear Old Blighty!
Like this chap, for instance. His gruff vocal delivery coupled with his suave-yet-emotionally-damaged take on billionaire Bruce Wayne made Christian Bale, for our money, the definitive Batman. Bale was born in Haverfordwest, Wales.
The series opened with Bruce Wayne’s enigmatic mentor, and later nemesis. Ra’ al Ghul, whose influence stretched across all three films, was played by Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson.
Unfortunately, we can’t claim Aussie Heath Ledger, whose creepy portrayal of the Joker stole the second film, The Dark Knight. But in the final instalment, audiences were thrilled by Tom Hardy’s oddly high-pitched, but somehow perfectly delivered, Bane. Hardy, another London-born actor, modeled his interpretation of Bane’s voice on the bare-knuckled Irish fighter and Romani gypsy Bartley Gorman (1944-2002), who was undefeated in both Ireland and the UK.
12. Marvel’s The Avengers
The Avengers series combines several different superheroes and plot lines across the Marvel universe, including Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and others. Not only are many actors throughout these movies British, large portions of these movies were also filmed in the UK.
London-born Tom Hiddleston has played Thor’s brother Loki, a greasy-haired villain with some serious daddy issues, in Thor, The Avengers and the upcoming Thor: The Dark World. This Fall, he can be seen on PBS as King Henry V in the BBC’s The Hollow Crown, a series of Shakespeare adaptations.
And the aforementioned daddy, Odin, is played by Oscar-winning British actor Anthony Hopkins in Thor and Thor: The Dark World. The film’s other “villain” The Mandarin (pictured) was played by British actor Ben Kingsley, another Oscar-winner.
The Avengers’ richest and most sarcastic member, Tony Stark (Iron Man), faced off against Brit Guy Pearce in this summer’s Iron Man 3.
And what would Tony Stark do without his quick-witted and omnipresent Jarvis? Stark’s artificially intelligent butler/companion is voiced by British actor Paul Bettany in all three Iron Man movies and The Avengers.
15. The Spider-Man franchises
In the Toby Maguire-headlined Spider-Man movies released in the early 2000s, Peter Parker’s surrogate mother Aunt May was played by Suffolk-born Rosemary Harris.
In Spider-Man 2, Parker’s hero-turned-nemesis Dr. Otto Octavius was played by British actor Alfred Molina.
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