Summary

  • Despite the challenges faced by the film industry, many actors starred in multiple movies in 2023, showcasing their versatility and talent.
  • Big hits like “Air” and “Oppenheimer” featured ensemble period films, and Matt Damon effortlessly embodied the traits of different eras.
  • Willem Dafoe, Robert De Niro, and Tilda Swinton were among the actors who appeared in numerous films in 2023, delivering memorable performances in a variety of genres.


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Despite the fact that the film industry experienced a lot of turbulence this past year, there were many actors who starred in multiple movies in 2023. After recovering from the effects that the Covid-19 pandemic had on Hollywood, 2023 proved to be a banner year, with huge blockbusters like Barbie and Oppenheimer, as well as smaller dramas and genre films by artistic visionaries, like Ari Aster’s Beau is Afraid and Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City. There were plenty of Marvel films in 2023, and familiar actors vacillating between starring roles and being part of large ensembles, with the Writer’s Strike and the SAG-AFTRA strike delaying some productions into the following year.

In some cases, having films like Dune: Part Two and The Bikeriders pushed back meant that some of these stars only had one film out in 2023, or if they’re Austin Butler (who stars in both), then they had no releases in 2023 at all. Some actors, like Willem Dafoe, have seemed to be in everything, or if they were Margot Robbie, may have had their smaller films eclipsed by a blockbuster’s success. Chances are, fans got to see these performers in some of the best films of the last 20 years, and even after a year that was precarious for writers, actors, and producers, there were plenty of hidden gems at the movie theaters in 2023.


Nicolas Cage

Renfield, The Old Way, The Flash, Sympathy For The Devil, The Retirement Plan, Dream Scenario

It’s not surprising for Nicolas Cage to release multiple films annually, but in 2023 he released six. In Renfield, he portrays a narcissistic Count Dracula, in The Old Way he plays a gunslinger on one last ride, and in The Flash, he finally plays a version of Superman dreamed up by Tim Burton in an unfinished project. Sympathy for the Devil is a slow-burn two hander that will keep fans guessing if Cage is Satan himself, The Retirement Plan sees him playing a crook trying to go clean for his daughter, and in Dream Scenario, he’s an average joe who finds himself going viral when he appears in everyone’s dreams.

Matt Damon

Air, Oppenheimer

Matt Damon as Leslie Groves in uniform in Oppenheimer

Matt Damon starred in two big hits in 2023, Air and Oppenheimer. Air follows the ideation and manufacturing of the famous Air Jordan shoes that developed out of the relationship between star basketball player Michael Jordan and Nike, while Oppenheimer focuses on the invention of the atomic bomb, and Damon plays General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project where Cillian Murphy’s J. Robert Oppenheimer created the “Destroyer of worlds.” Both were ensemble period films, and Damon’s skill allowed him to move effortlessly between the ’40s and ’90s and embodying the traits of each era.

Robert De Niro

Killers Of The Flower Moon, Tin Soldier, Inappropriate Behavior, About My Father

Robert de Niro has been something of a maverick this year, appearing in four releases in 2023 that have a little something for everyone. In Martin Scorcese’s Killers of the Flower Moon he plays a lascivious cattle baron looking to acquire the headrights of the Osage tribe by any means possible, while in Tin Soldier he helps Scott Eastwood go after a charismatic but deadly cult leader played by Jamie Foxx. In the dramedy Inappropriate Behavior, he plays the father of Bobby Cannavale’s struggling stand up comic, and ironically in About My Father, he plays the father of Sebastian Maniscalco, an actual stand-up comic in his first starring role.

Tilda Swinton

Asteroid City, The Killer, Problemista

the killer tilda swinton bear hunter joke

Chameleon actor Tilda Swinton appeared in three films in 2023; two were comedies, and one was an action film. In Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, which had a sprawling cast including Tom Hanks, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, and more, she played Dr. Hickenlooper. In The Killer, she played a fellow assassin to Michael Fassbender’s professional hitman. In Problemista, she helps a young toy designer played by Julio Torres to stay in America and realize his dreams, and although the film premiered at South by Southwest on March 13th, the film has been delayed in a wider release due to the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Joaquin Phoenix

Beau Is Afraid, Napoleon

Joaquin Phoenix wearing a crown in Napoleon

Joaquin Phoenix has two drastically different 2023 releases, with Beau is Afraid and Napoleon. In the former, he plays a neurotic man who is forced to confront his fear of the world when his mother dies unexpectedly, and he must travel across the country to attend her funeral, while the latter is a bombastic historical epic about the rise and fall of one of France’s most famous figures. Napoleon is likely to guarantee Phoenix gets nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, a category he’ll face some very stiff competition. with in 2024 thanks to some of the other actors with films out this year.

Margot Robbie

Barbie, Asteroid City

Close up of Margot Robbie as Barbie wearing pink jumpsuit and smiling

Margot Robbie dove into satire in 2023 with both Barbie and Asteroid City. In the former, she plays the titular character who journeys from Barbieland to the Real World in order to find the person playing with her, learning about what it means to be human along the way, while in the latter, she’s a part of the surreal plot of Wes Anderson’s comedy involving a play within a play within a movie, all based around the Junior Stargazer convention in an alternate 1955. Robbie has been submitted for consideration in the Best Actress category for her role in Barbie.

Willem Dafoe

Inside, Asteroid City, Poor Things, Finally Dawn, Pet Shop Days, Gonzo Girl

The ever versatile Willem Dafoe appears in six films in 2023 as both a lead and supporting player. Inside is entirely devoted to his art thief who gets trapped in the smart house of his mark, in Asteroid City he plays a famous acting teacher involved in the play within a play within a movie, and in Poor Things he’s the visionary scientist who restores Emma Stone’s brain. In Finally Dawn, he stars alongside Lily James in 1950s Rome, in Pet Shop Days he’s part of a romantic crime thriller, and in Gonzo Girl, he plays Walker Reade, an eccentric author who takes a graduate student under his wing.

Adam Driver

65, Ferrari

Adam Driver as Enzo Ferrari wearing sunglasses

In-demand actor Adam Driver appears in 2 films in 2023 that couldn’t be more different from one another. In science fiction action adventure 65, Driver plays a pilot transporting colonists who crash lands on a planet filled with rampaging dinosaurs. In Ferrari, he disappears into the role of Enzo Ferrari when his company is on the brink of bankruptcy, and only winning the 1,000 mile Mille Miglia race can prove the supremacy of his elite cars. Driver is expected to be nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Enzo Ferrari.

Alexander Skarsgård

Infinity Pool, Lee, Eric Larue

Alexander Skarsgård wearing a leash in Infinity Pool

Alexander Skarsgård appears in three films in 2023 that reveal his range as an actor. In Infinity Pool he portrays an author taken to a mysterious island without repercussions for even the most savage behavior, and the depravity that once made for a good story threatens to ruin his life. In Lee he plays the future husband of Elizabeth “Lee” Miller, a pioneering war photographer brought to fiery life by Kate Winslet, and in Michael Shannon’s directorial debut Eric Larue, he plays one half of a couple whose teenager shoots several of their classmates and faces life imprisonment.

Florence Pugh

A Good Person, Oppenheimer

Florence Pugh in a A Good Person movie

Florence Pugh continues her meteoric rise to stardom with two dramas in 2023 – A Good Person and Oppenheimer. The former is a small-scale film that focuses on Pugh’s central character, a woman struggling with substance abuse and grief over an accident she caused that resulted in the death of her friend. Oppenheimer saw Pugh’s role greatly reduced among a huge cast as the beguiling lover of J. Robert Oppenheimer, but as usual, even with a small part, Pugh proves that in the hands of a capable performer, the role will be memorable.

Michael Shannon

The Flash, Little White Lie

Michael Shannon as General Zod in The Flash movie

Unfortunately, The Bikeriders has been delayed beyond its 2023 release date, but Michael Shannon still had two films come out in 2023. In The Flash, he returned to the role of General Zod, who had previously been killed by Henry Cavill’s Superman in Man of Steel, as part of an alternate apocalypse that The Flash needed to stop. In Little White Lie, Shannon played Shriver, a down-on-his-luck handyman who was mistaken for a famous writer and became the guest of honor at a renowned literary festival.

Emily Blunt

Oppenheimer, Pain Hustlers

Emily Blunt Looking Grave in Oppenheimer

Emily Blunt appeared in two films in 2023 that represented two horrific moments in American history. In Oppenheimer, she played the wife of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and while she didn’t have a huge part, her courtroom scene more than made up for it. In Pain Hustlers, she’s caught up in the Opioid Epidemic that began when millions of Americans became addicted to heavy-duty pain medicine without being aware of the risks, many dying as a direct result of taking lethal doses.

Alden Ehrenreich

Cocaine Bear, Oppenheimer, Fair Play

Alden Ehrenreich as Eddie in Cocaine Bear holding cocaine

Alden Ehrenreich appeared in three films in 2023 that are all entertaining for different reasons. In the uproarious comedy Cocaine Bear, he played a father trying to get out of a criminal lifestyle after one last heist – stealing a significant amount of lost cocaine back from the bear who’s actively trying to injest it after a drop gone bad. In Oppenheimer, he was the Senate aid to Robert Downey Jr’s Lewis Strauss, determined to bring down J. Robert Oppenheimer during a special tribunal, and in Fair Play, he plays a man whose recent opportunities within a hedge fund threaten to ruin his relationship.

Lily James

The Iron Claw, Finally Dawn

Lily-James-Finally-Dawn

Lily James found herself in two films in 2023 that showcase her ability to work in just about any genre. In Finally Dawn, she appears opposite Willem Dafoe as an ambitious social climber in 1950s Rome who proves she’ll do whatever is necessary to become a Hollywood starlet. Just before year’s end, James will appear opposite Zac Efron in The Iron Claw about the famous Von Erich brothers who electrified the world during their glory days in professional wrestling in the ’80s.

Marion Cotillard

Lee, The Inventor, Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom, Little Girl Blue

Marion-Cotillard-Kate-Winslet-in-Lee

French actress Marion Cotillard truly starred in multiple movies in 2023 spanning genre and medium. In Lee, she plays Solange D’Ayen, a contemporary of war photographer Elizabeth “Lee” Miller, and in The Inventor, she helps Leonardo da Vinci discover the meaning of life as the brave princess Marguerite de Nevarre. In Asterix & Obelisk: L’Empire, based on two beloved Belgian comic strip characters, she portrays Cleopatra, and in Little Girl Blue, she stars in a docudrama as writer and photographer Carole Achache with the help of Mona Achache, the late artist’s daughter.

Jacob Elordi

Priscilla, Saltburn, He Went That Way, The Sweet East

Jacob Elordi as Elvis Presley and Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley holding their hands together in Priscilla

Though he’s gotten a lot of press about Priscilla, in which he played Elvis Presley, Jacob Elordi made several other films in 2023. In Saltburn, he plays a charming aristocrat with the titular sprawling estate that becomes the playground for the elite at Oxford University, and in He Went That Way, he’s part of a handful of strangers touched by a killing spree. In The Sweet East, Elordi is part of an ensemble cast of colorful characters swirling around a high school senior interested in getting a true taste of the world before she starts off to college.

Michael Fassbender

Next Goal Wins, The Killer

Michael Fassbender wearing a baseball cap in front of a shop in The Killer.

Michael Fassbender pulled off two wildly different films in 2023 – Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins and The Killer. In the former, he plays Thomas Rongden, a Dutch-born coach who tries to turn the American Samoa soccer team into victors at the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. In the latter, he plays the titular killer who, while waiting to complete his latest contract hit, starts to lose his composure, to the point where he starts questioning what’s real and what isn’t. These were the first films Fassbender’s had released since 2019’s Dark Phoenix.

Michelle Yeoh

A Haunting In Venice, Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts

Michelle Yeoh smiling as Mrs. Reynolds in A Haunting in Venice

Fresh off her victory earlier in 2023 with a Best Actress Oscar for Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, Michelle Yeoh starred in two films to close out the year. In A Haunting in Venice, the third of the Hercule Poirot films to feature Kenneth Branaugh as the French sleuth, her séance turns into a murder investigation. In Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Yeoh voices Airazor, an Autobot who helps Optimus Prime, Optimus Primal, and the rest of their allies take on a new threat that could destroy Earth.

Cillian Murphy

Oppenheimer, Kensuke’s Kingdom

Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer

Cillian Murphy’s 2023 was definitely dominated by Oppenheimer, in which he played the titular character J. Robert Oppenheimer, both while working on the atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project and in the aftermath of using it to bomb Japan. Another film Murphy worked on with a decidedly lighter narrative was also released in 2023, though it got overshadowed – Kensuke’s Kingdom. This animated film focuses on a boy shipwrecked on a remote island and forced to rely on himself to survive, until he discovers that his new home is full of beauty as well as danger.

Chris Evans

Ghosted, Pain Hustlers

Chris Evans grinning in a Hawaiian shirt in Pain Hustlers

Since putting down his shield and stepping away from Captain America and the MCU, Chris Evans has diversified his portfolio with two new movies in 2023. In Ghosted, he plays a man who falls in love with Ana de Armas’s secret agent Sadie, and their whirlwind romance is as exciting as their globe-trotting missions. In Pain Hustlers, he stars opposite Emily Blunt, who works to better her life even at the expense of thousands of Americans dying from the Opioid Epidemic caused by addiction-forming pain medication.

Paul Mescal

All Of Us Strangers, Foe

Paul Mescal Gazing at Andrew Scott in All Of Us Strangers

Of the actors who appeared in multiple films in 2023, rising star Paul Mescal starred in two of the strongest dramas – All of Us Strangers and Foe, the latter alongside fellow Irish actor Saoirse Ronan. All of Use Strangers is a gripping drama about a screenwriter played by Adam Scott who embarks on an eye-opening relationship with his neighbor, Mescal’s Harry. In Foe, Mescal plays dual roles as Junior, a man elected to help on a space mission in 2065, and Junior’s clone, who remains behind with his wife on dystopian Earth.

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