Screen Icon: Kevin Kline

It's been far too long since I've done a proper Screen Icon feature, so without further delay I present the newest member to the club, Kevin Kline. I was recently thinking that I've not seen Kline play anything more than a minor supporting role in recent years, which is sad because he deserves more acclaim. Here are some of my favourite of his performances:

In & Out
In my opinion, In & Out is one of the best comedies of the nineties with the unbeatable pairing of comedy mastermind, Frank Oz and Kline. The film follows a mid-western high school teacher re-examining his sexuality after a now famous, former student 'outs' him. In & Out makes fun of traditional gay stereotypes in a playful manner with a truly hilarious charming performance from Kline. He is also joined by Debbie Reynolds, Joan Cusack, Tom Selleck, Bob Newhart and Matt Dillon, making it truly an all-star comedy.

Kline stars as Cole Porter in this biographical tale of the popular composer. The film explores Porter's musical career as well as looking at his complicated relationship with his wife/muse, Linda Lee Porter. Despite mixed critical reviews, almost all of the critics praised Kline's sublime performance. In my opinion, it's a beautiful and sophisticated film that manages to fuse Porter's music, dazzling performances and an interesting story, perfectly.  

Being a massive fan of 80s soap opera, I really enjoyed Soapdish, a fun satire on the world of television soaps. The film feels like an old fashioned farce as we follow a bitchy, ambitious soap actress, desperate to become the star of the show - however nothing goes as planned. Kline and Sally Field play two of the show's feuding long-running stars, the scenes they share together are a complete joy to watch. Unfortunately, the film seems to have been slightly forgotten today and does not get the acclaim that it deserves.

A Fish Called Wanda
Although only featuring in a supporting role, the film gained Kevin Kline an Oscar win and huge praise for his unhinged yet hilarious performance. It's wonderful to see Kline play a completely detestable character, a self-indulgent, obsessive weapons expert.

The Pink Panther
The one redeeming thing about the 2006 Steve Martin remake of The Pink Panther is Kevin Kline. Kline is perfect casting as Clouseau's boss Charles Dreyfus, playing the role in very much the style of Herbert Lom. It's mindless slapstick fun, that I'd probably prefer a lot more if I wasn't a fan of the original Peter Seller's movies.

The Pirates of Penzance
One of his first major roles was The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. This camp adaptation of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, knows not to take itself too seriously with fun performances from Kline, Rex Smith and Angela Lansbury. It's a very underrated musical that's a nice starting point for anyone not too familiar with G&S.

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