10 Great Supporting Performances by Actors Who Usually Lead

Out on DVD today is one of our favorite rom-coms in many a moon, Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids, which stars the writer/director and… Adam Scott, which seems sort of strange considering that Ms. Wesfeldt’s S.O. for the past decade and a half has been Mr. Jon Hamm, who would seem an obvious choice for the film’s leading role. Instead, as in Bridesmaids, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and The Town (and in sharp contrast to his television work), Hamm plays a secondary supporting role in the picture — and continues to carve out a niche for himself as a leading man who chooses to be a second banana. After the jump, we’ve got ten more name actors who decided to step back and play supporting roles, to great effect.

Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading

Early in his career, after his breakthrough in Thelma and Louise and between his matinee-idol leading turns in A River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall, Pitt made a brief but memorable appearance in True Romance, playing the perpetually stoned “Floyd.” Fifteen years later, his leading man bona fides firmly established, he took a similarly hilarious supporting role in the Coen Brothers’ spy comedy Burn After Reading, getting big laughs with his characterization of airhead personal trainer Chad Feldheimer — right up until his, um, unexpected disappearance from the film.