Janitors usually serve as supporting characters in most memorable movies we have seen. But it definitely doesn’t mean these janitor roles aren’t significant. In fact, a good number of big screen janitorial roles have received critical and box office acclaim.
Here’s a rundown of some of the prestigious janitorial roles made in right here in Hollywood:
Top 5 Hollywood Janitor Roles
“Good” Will Hunting (1997)
Good Will Hunting departs from the usual depiction of janitors, as a school cleaner serves as the main character. The film portrays the story of Will Hunting, a South Boston resident working as a janitor at MIT.
Hunting, played by Boston native Matt Damon, was a self-taught genius. A math professor gives his students a complex problem. Hunting solves them anonymously, stunning the students and the professor himself. The janitor prodigy later ends up in jail for getting into a brawl at a bar. The professor, then, offers to take Hunting out of prison. This is provided that Hunting takes math lessons under the professor and that the former goes to therapy.
Good Will Hunting was the film that catapulted Damon and co-star Ben Affleck to superstardom. Minnie Driver and the late Robin Williams were also among the film’s prominent stars. This janitor-starring film surely cleaned up at the Oscars, winning 2 awards (Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay). It also received 7 more Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
Vincent Freeman, Gattaca (1997)
Here’s another janitor-starring film from the same year.
Gattaca is set in “the not-too-distant future,” wherein genetic mutation and liberal eugenics have become normal. Under these practices, biometrics are used with the intention of conceiving persons less susceptible to genetic disorders. They are called “valids.” Unfortunately, Vincent Freeman (portrayed by Ethan Hawke) was not born in that manner, making him more vulnerable. With his genetics indicating an estimated life span of 30 years, he was considered an “invalid.” And while he had dreams of a space flight career, he always gets reminded his being an invalid.
Vincent worked later on as an invalid janitor for space-flight conglomerate Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. But he refused to give up his dream. He, then, posed as a valid by using the genetic samples of a paralyzed former swimming star. Vincent manages to get past being janitor and fulfill his dream amid controversy.
It took $36M to produce Gattaca, but the film only grossed a third of the budget in the box office. However, it received an Oscar nomination in 1998 for Best Art Direction.
Elisa Esposito, The Shape of Water (2017)
This year’s Oscar winner also has a janitor for a lead role. The Shape of Water tells about Elisa Esposito, an orphaned woman found in a river as a child. She is also mute.
Upon adulthood during the Cold War, Elisa worked as a cleaner in a secret government laboratory. Her life-changing moment came when she befriended a human-like amphibian at facility where she works in. Elisa soon discovered plans to vivisect the creature. This prompted her to devise her own plan to get the creature out of the facility. Both Elisa and the amphibian were later attacked by those who wanted to study the creature. Both, though, managed to escape and lived with each other “happily ever after.”
God (in janitor form), Bruce Almighty (2003)
Morgan Freeman literally played God in this comedy blockbuster co-starring Jim Carrey. In the film, Bruce Nolan (played by Carrey) gets fired from his job as a TV news reporter.
After blaming God for his misfortune, Bruce meets Him at an obscure building with a white interior. God first appears as a janitor mopping the white floor. He, then, instantly turns into an electrician and later poses as a man in a white suit. Saying that He was tired of hearing Bruce’s complaints, God offered Bruce His job for one week. Unfortunately, Bruce wasn’t able to keep up to the demands, causing more mess. Interestingly, Carrey was a janitor himself before becoming an actor.
Argus Filch, Harry Potter Series (2001-2011)
As Hogwarts’ caretaker, Argus Filch’s main job in the film series was to keep the castle clean. However, you’d barely see him cleaning in any of the 8 Harry Potter movies. Instead, he usually skulks around with his cat, Mrs. Norris. Nonetheless, he grossly dislikes mud, animate toys, or anything else that goes against his image of a clean Hogwarts.
Argus Filch has relatively extensive knowledge of the castle’s secrets and shortcuts. He’d just be outdone by users of the Marauder’s Map, including Harry himself. Argus also likes wandering the castle’s corridors at night in the hope of catching students not in bed.
Many would probably portray Argus Filch as someone who’s obsessive-compulsive. As such, he is also often ill-tempered, making him unpopular with the students and some staff.
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