Who doesn’t love action movies? Between the explosions, the tension, and the guys jumping out of helicopters, there’s always something interesting to look at. Especially that last part. Nobody can deny the fact that a big part of what makes action movies so fun is the leading man. Sure, we would love to see more females as action stars. However, there’s something so appealing about seeing a man wrestling a shark and acting like a general tough guy. Unfortunately, not every tough guy who appears on screen is like that in the real world. They are actors, after all, as much as we wish they were actually saving the world every day.
Here are sixteen of those actors who might play rough and tumble, but are actually soft and sweet.
16 Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman lives in that in-between balance being a well established on-screen tough guy, and a talented musical theatre artist. Those two worlds collided in Les Miserables, which was our first hint that this gentleman isn’t as tough as his screen presence would make us believe. After all, look at that platter of plants.
15 Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel is, like, the epitome of a tough guy. He’s got the muscles to match his strong personality and thousand yard stare. Starring in many action movies, Diesel is a seasoned pro when it comes to the tough stuff. But behind the camera, he’s just a man who wants to kiss and cuddle with his adorable babies.
14 Liam Neeson
Believe it or not, Liam Neeson is actually not as tough off screen as he is on screen. IMDb reminds us that he wasn’t always the action star we assume he is. He actually studied drama and theatre, and even had some starring roles on broadway! Plus, his smile is sweet enough to light up any room; that’s not exactly what we’d call “tough”.
13 Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy definitely falls more into “goofball” territory rather than taking on the “tough guy” distinction. With a wide and varied career, Tom Hardy has played any and all characters. There’s something about his look that lends itself well to action, but make no mistake: this guy isn’t as one-note as other action stars. He can do the comedy stuff too!
12 Chris Pratt
From sweet, lovable comedy actor to leading action man, Chris Pratt has been through some wild career times. He’s recently started to find some stability with Katherine Schwarzenegger, who has dubbed him “darling angel face”, as EOnline reports. With a name like that, there’s no way he’s rough and tumble in real life.
11 Terry Crews
This muscled macho man isn’t the kind of action star who stays pigeon-holed in action movies. IMDb reminds us that he’s been a regular on the much loved show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. His character on that show is fun, compassionate, and pretty close to the way he is in real life too. Caring and concerned, and always ready with a laugh and a smile. He’s as sweet as sugar.
10 Harrison Ford
Many of us know him as Han Solo, and will forever appreciate him for bringing life to such an essential Star Wars character. However, outside of that universe, he’s really just a regular ol’ guy. Ranker lists him as one of their top 10 tough guys, but we know he’s more; especially with all the environmental work he’s done.
9 Keanu Reeves
The memes don’t lie: Keanu Reeves isn’t just the talented action star as we know him. Every time we scroll through social media we see a post quoting Keanu Reeves. The subject matter is almost always supportive, thoughtful, and embracing of life. Not exactly in line with that John Wick character.
8 Russell Crowe
Another one of those actors who balanced rough and tough with musical theatre softness, Russell Crowe’s performance in Les Miserables was the first thing that really started to let us see him as more than a tough guy. Plus, there’s also all the transformative work he’s done for another role, as seen in this photo.
7 Chris Evans
Just look at that charming smile! There’s no way that this is the same guy who’s starred in Marvel movies for years now, is it? Believe it or not, this is the same Captain. Relaxed and casual, it’s clear that Chris Evans isn’t the Captain in real life. Oh well! We still think his smile is super.
6 Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill and his (ex) partner certainly like to pack on the PDA, but we don’t hate it. We might be a little jealous, but hey, that’s for us to deal with. Honestly, we’re firm believers that any guy who shows that much of his lovey-dovey side couldn’t possibly be as tough in real life as he is on screen. No way.
5 Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck is one of those actors that we haven’t heard from in a while, but remember very well, mostly for his role as Batman. IMDb reminds us that he had an illustrious career before that, working as both an actor and a writer on scripts such as Good Will Hunting. Well, people always say the pen is mightier than the sword.
4 Jason Statham
The look says “tough guy”, but his past says “semi-pro diver”. Nicki Swift reports, “[Statham] was a member of England's national swim team for 12 years and competed at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.” And after the diving career ended? He stepped into modelling, which is what eventually brought him to acting. Talk about tough, right?
3 Channing Tatum
Who doesn’t love Channing Tatum? The obvious, magic reason aside, Channing Tatum comes across as surprisingly well spoken and fun loving. His personal life has featured serious discussion about acting, as well as the more artistic side of things, according to IMDb. That kind of pensive thought means that this action guy has a sweet (and familial) side.
2 Chris Hemsworth
Out of all the Chris’ on this list, Chris Hemsworth might be the toughest of them all. That doesn’t mean we’d call him a real life tough guy, though! There’s definitely a reason his Thor was a little more silly and quick witted than other iterations. That reason (you guessed it) has a lot to do with the fact that Hemsworth himself is silly and smart.
1 Sylvester Stallone
The original tough guy (or, at least, one of them), Sylvester Stallone couldn’t have been more mismatched with his tough guy image. Nicki Swift mentions that Stallone was not only the genius behind the Rocky series, but he’s also a fan of polo. That’s definitely not what we’d expect from this supposed tough guy!
Sources: nickiswift.com, imdb.com, eonline.com, ranker.com