Anthony Sher as Richard III.
From his first lines, Richard takes the audience with him as he systematically plots and murders his way to the English crown. He kills family members, women, young children—anyone he needs to in order to secure his throne.
Despite plot similarities to Macbeth, Richard is a very different kind of villain. Macbeth's murders feel like a runaway train—a crash course he has lost control of. He doesn't have fun on his rampage to power, and was likely a decent person before he was put in a tempting position not to be.
Not so with Richard. Richard pursues villainy like it's his job and has, according to his mother, always been "bloody." What makes him so evil? How does he manage to be so charming? What are his motives?
Richard is nothing like Macbeth, because while their stories are similar, Macbeth is in his own personal hell. Richard is in his element. Macbeth is caught in a whirlwind. Richard is the whirlwind.
Until the end that is, when they're both slain and die like dogs in the mud. Sic semper tyrannis, as they say.
“Thus always to tyrants.”