Recasting the Star Wars saga: Jeremy Irons as Palpatine
As Emperor Palpatine, Ian McDiarmid showed us a bunch of different angles. In The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, he was subdued and coldly courteous as the character planned for his ascendency behind the scenes. In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine revealed his true intentions, and McDiarmid got to ham it up big time.
You could argue that McDiarmid took things too far…way too far, but at least he was having a good time. There’s room for a little scenery-chewing in a story about space princesses and laser-swords and whatnot.
Jeremy Irons is more than capable of providing the range this role needs. He was cold and calculating in movies like Dead Ringers and Reversal of Fortune, and he was practiced at giving the impression that there was a lot of menace lying underneath the surface. That would serve for Palpatine’s early scenes.
Then there are the hammy bits. For this, I offer you Irons’ infamous turn as the villainous Profian in 2000’s Dungeons and Dragons.
Yes, his performance here is hammy enough to feed a small nation, but if you’re looking for someone to play the Emperor, you want someone willing to commit all the way. Irons wouldn’t let us down.
Next: Coruscant's #1 Useless Bureaucrat