John Malkovich thrives at a character’s breaking point, that slender edge on the precipice of madness. As one of cinema’s most versatile (and often maniacal) performers, Malkovich is known, among other things, for his stylized shaming, the ways in which his characters demonstrate power by cutting others down. Beyond that recognizable Malkovich façade, though, stands an actor who is also capable of selling emotionally vulnerable characters, men that, for one reason or another, fail to reach their full potentials. Malkovich is so unique, in fact, that director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman went so far as to make his real-life persona the focal point of the 1999 metaphysical classic, Being John Malkovich. The film, which explores the strange and compelling gravitational effect that Malkovich has on others, perfectly encapsulates why our next installment of Icons & Outliers pays tribute to this one-of-a-kind artist. After all, if you can’t be him, admire him.

Watch Now: Can’t get enough Malkovich? Be sure to watch Death of a Salesman and Art School Confidential, both streaming now on Fandor!

If that’s not enough, browse our list of the top Malkovich moments, and for more episodes in our series, “Icons & Outliers,” check out our thoughts on the work of Steve Carell, Sandra Bullock, and Jim Carrey.