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Bill Hader's 9 greatest roles: celebrating the IT CHAPTER TWO scene-stealer


Horror blockbuster IT CHAPTER TWO throws a lot at the audience over the course of its 165-minute running time. Yet the  one element that has consistently earned praise is the hilariously funny, and ultimately moving, performance from Bill Hader.

The ubiquitous Saturday Night Live comedian steps up to the mark with one of his most substantial and impactful movie roles so far, playing the older Richie Tozier (portrayed as a youngster by Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard).

When we pick up with Richie 27 years later in IT CHAPTER TWO, he's still recognisably loud-mouthed and quick with the jokes. Yet there's a sense of melancholy brimming beneath the surface, further highlighted via the inevitable conflict with Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) and a surprise plot development courtesy of director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman.

Hader is superb at both punctuating the horror with his comic timing, and giving the sense of a haunted individual attempting to atone for his past. So we've decided to celebrate the actor's nine greatest roles to date – scroll down beneath the image to discover what they are.

Bill Hader as Richie Tozier in IT CHAPTER TWO

1. Superbad (2007)

This is only a brief role for Hader, and yet he appears within the context of Superbad's most famous scene, so we have to include it. The actor's famously dry humour is on display as he portrays Officer Slater, a cop who questions Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) over possible underage drinking.

The latter presents his fake ID, bearing the name McLovin. The gag is already brilliantly absurd, but even funnier is the delighted reaction of Slater and fellow policeman Michaels (Seth Rogen, who also co-wrote the screenplay). Plus, Hader later cuts a rug brilliantly to The Coup's 'Beef and Pork'.

2. Tropic Thunder (2008)

Actor-director Ben Stiller's raucous spoof, a movie about the making of a war movie that spins wildly out of control, is stuffed full of memorable appearances. 

The most famous of course, is the Oscar-nominated Robert Downey Jr. as Kirk Lazarus, a white method actor who takes his job so seriously, he undergoes surgery to become black.

Then there's an unrecognisable Tom Cruise, brilliantly foul-mouthed, paunchy and hairy as aggressive Hollywood mogul Les Grossman. However, watch in the background of Grossman's scenes – Hader's appearance as his dorky sidekick, particularly in the Flo Rida dance scene, is a sign of how this actor can do an awful lot with a little. (Kudos also to Matthew McConaughey for somehow managing to keep a straight face during this scene.)

3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Hader's signature delivery translates brilliantly into this oddball animated adventure. Before they made The LEGO Movie (and attempted, unsuccessfully, to chart a course for Solo: A Star Wars Story), quirky film-makers Phil Lord and Chris Miller fashioned one of the most enjoyably strange family movies in recent memory, one based on the book of the same name.

Hader voices Flint Lockwood, a scientist who invents a machine that can transform weather into food. When the machine develops a mind of its own, Lord and Miller's imagination runs riot as delicious cuisine rains from the heavens – imagine The Day After Tomorrow by way of Jon Favreau's Chef.

And the surreal scene involving Lockwood and the chickens is worth watching all on its own.

4. Adventureland (2009)

Superbad director Greg Mottola reunited with Hader for this underrated and affectionate coming of age story. Shirking the standard gross-out comedy, this is instead an authentic depiction of adolescence, as Jesse Eisenberg's geek falls for Kristen Stewart's tomboy against the backdrop of a 1980s theme park.

Hader plays Bobby, the manager of Adventureland whose acerbic wit masks a caring side. The actor forms a winning duo with Kristen Wiig as his on-screen wife Paulette, subdued and introverted where he's outspoken and brash. Plus, that pornstache deserves a credit itself.

5. Paul (2011)

In his third collaboration with Greg Mottola, the versatile Hader delivers a poker-faced role as Agent Haggard. He's one of the humourless government suits in pursuit of geeky losers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who are determined to return rude and raucous alien Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) back to his home planet.

Again, it's a small role that threatens to get overlooked, but Hader's deadpan channelling of Buster Keaton is very funny, particularly when the extraterrestrial scenario becomes all-the-more ridiculous.

6. The Skeleton Twins (2014)

Hader's path crosses with that of fellow SNL alum Kristen Wiig again in this affecting comedy-drama. The Skeleton Twins allows Hader to dig deep into that sense of melancholy that would later flower in IT CHAPTER TWO.

He plays one half of an estranged sibling duo (Wiig is the other), both of whom decide to reunite upon cheating death. This blackly comic yet tender indie charmer won rave reviews for its leads, with Hader in particular congratulated on his prickly yet humane portrayal.

7. Trainwreck (2015)

For an actor who so often plays scene-stealing second fiddle, Hader is more than capable of leading a movie. Case in point: this Amy Schumer-scripted, Judd Apatow-directed comedy hit about the messiness of 21st century relationships.

Schumer takes the lead role as the committment-phobic Amy, who after a string of failed hook-ups (including a priceless John Cena) unexpectedly finds love with Hader's doctor character, Aaron. Ditching the quirks and mannerisms that have defined so many of his roles, Hader demonstrates he has the charisma to stand as a memorable rom-com leading man.

8. Inside Out (2015)

Disney-Pixar's Oscar-winning odyssey Inside Out is nothing short of miraculous: a coming of age movie that takes place almost entirely within young girl Riley's head. Abstract becomes physical, as we meet embodiments of the character's emotions, and as they individually come to terms with their place in the 'world', Riley is able to approach her own emotional catharsis.

Hader provides much of the big laughs as the crisis-ridden Anxiety, the manic ball of energy who is the cause of doubt and hesitation within Riley's head. The actor's brilliantly expressive vocal turn effectively plays off the other cast members, ensuring this Oscar-winning classic is funny and heartbreaking by turns.

9. The BFG (2016)

Hader's appearance in this adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic novel traverses his flesh and blood and animated roles. He dons the motion capture suit to portray feared giant Bloodbottler, sworn enemy of Mark Rylance's loveable, vowel-mangling Big Friendly Giant.

On its release, Spielberg's take on this Dahl classic was criticised for being too soft-centred, lacking the creepy darkness of its source. And while it's true that Spielberg's giants aren't as scary as those in the 1989 animation, Hader still brings something scary to the part.

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