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There is a certain type of guy whom I find attractive. Basically, they have to have a round or square face, rather than a long one, with muscular bodies as well. I go for guys like William Shatner (Captain Kirk), William Holden (Sunset Boulevard), Clive Francis (The Piglet Files) and so on. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. I was really in to Alan Rickman for a while, despite the fact that he's lanky and (was) slender. But I digress.)
I've never gone for "young" guys either. When I was in my twenties, I wasn't interested in anyone younger than thirty...guys who are forty and fifty, who have kept in shape, are pretty sexy...nowadays even guys in their sixties who are in shape, don't look too bad...because if they've kept in shape they can actually pass for fifty...
In addition, American actors who can do British accents have always kind of turned me on...
So, way back in 1996 I saw Hank Azaria for the first time in The Bird Cage. Nice body, nice comic timing, but his facial structure wasn't the type that really attracted me. And while I don't mind men who act in an effete manner, effeminacy doesn't really turn me on. (Note - effete and effiminate mean two different things!) So although I felt Azaria was indispensable to that movie, I really didn't feel the need at at that time to look up any of his previous work, or keep track of his later work.
Just a couple of years ago I saw Mystery Men (1999), and really liked Azaria in that, because of that British accent, of course. And the way he triggered it on and on from his normal accent as Jeffrey to his British accent as the Blue Raja... splendid.
So, I took a look at his IMDB profile after that, and saw that he had indeed been the actor in The Bird Cage (normally, I never forget the face of an actor whom I've seen, provided I've liked him in what I've seen previously - even if I don't remember the name!).
But most of his ouvre seemed to be The Simpsons, and I really do not care for that show, so again I didn't follow up on checking out any of his past or future performances.
So, now we come to Night at the Musuem 2: Battle of the Smithsonian. I had seen the first movie and enjoyed it. I don't think I ever saw a trailer for the new movie (I don't watch much "first run" TV, I watcha lot of DVDs of classic TV shows, and movies of course).
So, I'm watching the movie, and there's Hank Azaria as Kahmunrah, dressed in his tunic so that one can see his biceps... yes, he has maintained his body! Well-muscled, but not over-muscled.
And I just loved his accent. Seemed to have Boris Karloff down to a "T". (Although, in watching a few seconds of an interview he did, apparently he based his accent on the Monster Mash voice of Karloff, rather than Karloff's voice itself.)
At the beginning of the movie, when he is first on the scene meeting Larry Daly (Ben Stiller), I just fell in love with the character. His stance, his delivery of lines, comic yet menacing at the same time.
(It was not until the second time I saw the movie that I realized why that had effected me so. He reminded me very much of a favorite actor of mine, Clive Francis, in the British spy comedy TV series, The Piglet Files. Francis also had a pretty good body, though not as well muscled as Azaria's. But it was more about the way he delivered the lines, the way he stood as he delivered them, the total air of confidence he exuded, and so on.
Anyway, Azaria's performance totally captivated me, and made the movie, frankly. (As is my wont, during the dueling scene at the end I actually wanted him to come out on top!)
I'm a connossueur (I can never spell that word) of sword fights, so while I enjoyed the final duel it was a bit disappointing in that it was all in close-up, we never saw full-body with Larry spinning around Kahmunrah's attacking body, and of course the split second where Kahmunrah jumps into the air in order to bring his sword (technically called a khopesh, because of its sickle-like shape) down on Larry, and that takes place way too fast to really appreciate it. Indeed, impossible to tell if it's really Azaria doing it, or a stunt double or some CGI thing.)
Nevertheless, I am now officially a fan of Azaria's, and I will even force myself to watch The Simpsons a few times to listen to his voice repertoire.
There are limits to what I'm willing to do, however. I will not go see Jack Black in Year One, no matter how big a part Azaria has!