13 years ago, blockbuster Avatar was first released and quickly conquered the global audience. With a budget of approximately 237 million USD, the project is meticulously invested from content to images. The plot is simple but meaningful, the computer effects are carefully handled, contributing to the creation of a large and new fantasy world. In particular, many viewers are still impressed with the main villain role: Colonel Miles Quaritch, played by Stephen Lang.
Set in the year 2154, Avatar content – directed and written by James Cameron – tells the story of a human invasion of a fictional planet called Pandora. Here, disabled soldier Jake Sully (Sam Worthing) receives the task of approaching the Na’vi indigenous people. Through a remote-controlled machine, he lives in the form of the Na’vi and tries to convince them to leave their homeland. From there, humans can easily colonize and excavate minerals on the alien planet.
In the film, Stephen Lang plays Miles Quaritch, a seasoned Marine Colonel who leads a troop of soldiers on a mission to Pandora. The character is described as a cold-blooded person, ready to give up anyone’s life to achieve his goal. Quaritch’s cruelty is evident from words to actions. Whenever he appeared, he always looked down on the indigenous people of Na’vi, seeing them as just trash.
Even Quaritch did not hesitate to kill his teammate Jake Sully, despite the fact that he was disabled and could not resist.
Through the incarnation of Stephen Lang, Miles Quaritch appears with the image of an old, connoisseur soldier. The battlefield experience is proven through each scar left on the face. Despite his age, he still maintains a strong, solid body. In particular, Stephen Lang really shines in the final segment when Miles Quaritch confronts the male lead Jake Sully. The character’s aggressive blood and mutilation are both portrayed in the action-packed segment, despite the fact that Lang has never served in the military even once.
Born in New York in 1952, Stephen Lang began acting in the mid-1970s with small roles on Broadway. His career is associated with theater more than cinema, with famous plays such as Death of a Salesman (1984), A Few Good Men (1989), Hamlet (1992)… In which, Lang received an award nomination. Tony for his role in the 1992 production of The Speed of Darkness.
During the period of 1985-2009, the star also participated in many film projects but was not noticed because only played a supporting role. Before Avatar, he almost had the opportunity to work with James Cameron when he was young. According to Variety, Lang auditioned for the role in the project Aliens (1986) but failed. Fortunately, the director did not choose but still remember him for more than 20 years. Initially, James Cameron considered playing the villain Miles Quaritch for Michael Biehn – a partner who worked on Aliens (1986), The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). However, fate pushed the director to decide to give the role to Lang, a face he had never worked with.
The success of Avatar helps Stephen Lang’s name get closer to the audience. After playing Miles Quaritch, he went on to play the villain in Conan the Barbarian (2011). However, the role of Lang’s life must be the villain in the horror film Don’t Breathe (2016). This time, the star reincarnated Norman Nordstrom, a blind war veteran but still very strong and vicious. Once, a group of young people broke into the old man’s house to steal things. Discovering that, Nordstrom was determined to take the lives of the uninvited guests.
With a budget of less than $10 million, Don’t Breathe won big upon release, grossing over $157 million at the box office. Stephen Lang’s performance is critically acclaimed, a factor that creates fear throughout the film. The role was so convincing that when making the sequel Don’t Breathe 2 (2021), the producers decided to push Lang’s character to the front line. Thanks to that, actors also have more land to show their bravery and acting skills.
It can be said that the appearance of Stephen Lang is one of the important factors contributing to the success of Avatar. Although 13 years have passed, the audience’s impression on the role is still deep. The portrait of the villain shown by Stephen Lang is not outdated but still alive, just like the 3D James Cameron movies made with computer effects. Otherwise, there is no reason for the director to invite him back in the next post-story projects, the most recent of which is the second part Avatar: The Way of Water, which will be released later this year.
Those who have seen Avatar must know that Miles Quaritch’s fate is almost over at the end. However, James Cameron decided to “revive” the character somehow. Instead of creating a new villain, the director continued to let the villain operate on the planet Pandora for at least 4 more parts. Thanks to that, the audience also has the opportunity to continue to see Stephen Lang show his transformation and change the evil Colonel in the future.