And somehow he is even more swoon-worthy as a man than he was as a teen. Edward Norton Age: 42 Must-See Performances: "The Illusionist" (2006); "Fight Club" (1999); "American History X" (1998) Intensity Factor: Ever since his scene-stealing debut performance in "Primal Fear," Norton has proven he's a Method actor willing to alter his body, speech patterns, even his gait to match a character's personalities.
The Yale-trained actor never dials it in and is notorious for being incredibly controlling of everything from the lighting to the editing on his films. Gary Oldman Age: 54 Must-See Performances: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012); "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (2011); "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004); "The Professional" (1994) Intensity Factor: He's played Sid Vicious, Lee Harvey Oswald, Commissioner Gordon and Sirius Black, but until Oldman played British spy George Smiley, he had not scored an Academy Award nomination.
Their range of emotions mirrors ours -- they, too, experience fear, rage, envy, disgust, love and affection, like we do --- but at a much higher, more intense level.
And within this rarefied existence, there is a select group of super-sensitive men, 15 thespian masters who feel and convey their emotions with greater intensity than anyone else alive.
Penn's matchless ability to transform himself into his characters, whether a self-righteous gay activist or self-pitying death-row inmate, never fails to fascinate viewers.
He's Spain's answer to Sean Penn and Daniel Day-Lewis – only even more awesome, because he can summon the intensity in languages. Christian Bale Age: 38 Must-See Performances: "Batman" trilogy; "The Fighter" (2010); "Rescue Dawn" (2006); "Velvet Goldmine" (1998) Intensity Factor: Like Crowe, Bale has a reputation for being intimidating and focusing all of his energy on his performances – to the point of lashing out if anything interferes with his process.
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It's common knowledge that actors feel things we normal humans cannot.
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The unquestioned devotion of these men to the art of projecting feeling into our hearts and guts comes through, not just in their roles, but in their entire lives. Jeremy Renner Age: 41 Must-See Performances: "The Bourne Supremacy" (2012); "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" (2011); "The Town" (2010); "The Hurt Locker" (2008) Intensity Factor: Renner was a late bloomer in Hollywood, catapulting on the scene in his mid-30s with his breathtaking performance in Kathryn Bigelow's explosive drama "The Hurt Locker." His Oscar-nominated turn showed off a particular gift for immersing himself in a character – whether it's a fearless officer, a gritty bank robber or a kickass secret agent. Tommy Lee Jones Age: 65 Must-See Performances: "No Country For Old Men" (2007); "The Fugitive" (1993); "JFK" (1991); "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980) Intensity Factor: Some actors can be both breezy and serious (think Clooney or Hanks), but Jones is really best when he's somber, scowling and addressing some menace that only he can stop – or that only he will try to.