×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mr. Mean Guy

NAME: Mark Metcalf

DESCRIPTION: Not-nice Neidermeyer in “Animal House.”

LAST SEEN: In college.

When fans spy Mark Metcalf on the street and hustle him for an autograph, he often signs off with, “You’re worthless and weak!” – the line Metcalf delivered as frat leader Neidermeyer, the primary nemesis of the “Animal House” Deltas in National Lampoon’s 1978 hit film. To his fans, Metcalf is the quintessential mean guy – and until recently, that has been his cross to bear.

The classically trained New York actor and soft-spoken Southern-born nice guy in real life did everything he could for years to dodge the mean-guy typecasting that Hollywood imposed upon him after “Animal House.”

But he succumbed at times – for the bucks. He was one of the few original “Animal House” cast members to ship aboard a cruise sponsored by a New York rock radio station to commemorate the film’s 15th anniversary. And then there were the MTV videos for Twisted Sister, a heavy metal glam rock group whose leader was also a heavy Neidermeyer fan.

Like most New York actors, Metcalf religiously attended acting classes to hone his craft, appeared in Off Broadway plays, and played leading roles in regional theatrical productions of Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, O’Neill and Miller.

But “you can’t make a good living doing that,” and in 1993 he decided to move to Hollywood and take whatever mean guy roles he was offered. Alas, “nobody was interested in Neidermeyer,” he says ruefully. “I came to sell out but nobody was buying.”

Just married, with a wife and newborn baby, Metcalf buckled down to get a real job. His plan, he says, was to teach drama at a small Montana college. So Metcalf enrolled at California State U at Northridge to snare a master’s degree.

But around the middle of his first semester, late last spring, Metcalf received a call from an old friend, “Animal House” director John Landis, offering the actor-turned-college student a part opposite Tom Arnold in “The Stupids.” The role was, naturally, a mean-guy character.

“Of course, I said yes.” Metcalf plays the movie’s lead villain, a disgruntled military officer who steals weapons from the army and gleefully sells them to terrorists. He recently wrapped shooting on the picture, which is scheduled for a Christmas release from Savoy.

Still in school, Metcalf is a working actor again and appears in an upcoming “Seinfeld” as a character called the Maestro who is not a mean guy at all.

But while his character in “The Stupids” is identified as “The Colonel,” sharp-eyed members of the audience looking closely at the screen will note that Metcalf wears a name tag that says, “Neidermeyer.”

“I’m back,” snickers Metcalf.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Keke Palmer BlogHer19 Summit

    Keke Palmer Brought to Tears Accepting Truth Teller Award at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

    Keke Palmer stood surprised and wide-mouthed on the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit stage as she was presented with the Truth Teller Award for her recent acting work — and her viral “sorry to this man” clip. “This means so much,” the multi-hyphenated star softly whispered as she got teary-eyed upon accepting the award. Last week, the [...]

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19:

    Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

    It’s (Emmys) party time! Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Green Dress

    Jennifer Lopez Closes Out Versace Show in Famous Green Grammys Dress

    Jennifer Lopez has found her way back into the Versace dress that broke the internet in 2000. The “Hustlers” star closed out Versace’s Spring 2020 show in a re-worked version of the revealing, bright green silk chiffon dress that she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. The dress quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon, [...]

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

  • Demi Moore Corporate Animals

    Demi Moore Teases Upcoming Memoir 'Inside Out,' Talks 'Corporate Animals' Team Bonding

    As Demi Moore gears up for the Sept. 24 release of her autobiography “Inside Out,” the actress says she feels like a weight has been lifted. “Even the stuff that I may have been nervous about is completely lifting…because it’s a process,” Moore told Variety at the premiere of her upcoming film “Corporate Animals” at [...]

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content