Corey Stoll’s Best Performances in Movies & TV Shows

Feb 21, 2023

While his name might not yet be a household one yet, Corey Stoll has steadily been making his way as a breakthrough actor in both film and television. After his remarkable role in House of Cards, Stoll has frequently appeared in numerous acclaimed films and shows in increasingly larger roles. In addition to becoming a regular cast member on shows like Billions, The Deuce, Girls, The Strain, and Law and Order: LA, Stoll has increasingly become in higher demand – even making his mark in the MCU as Ant-Man’s antagonist Darren Cross. He’s also received his fair share of critical acclaim, earning nominations at the Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, Critics Choice Awards, and Satellite Awards.

It feels like Corey Stoll is on the verge of a breakout leading role where he will finally get the credit he deserves, but he’s remarkably been able to give consistently strong performances in films, television, and theater, most recently starring as Macbeth in a production by the Classic Stage Company. While some of today’s veteran “working actors” seem to primarily be known for a select type of role, Stoll has fluctuated between frightening, inspiring, intimidating, and amusing parts. Here are his best performances so far.

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Ernest Hemmingway in ‘Midnight in Paris’ (2011)

Image via Sony Pictures Classics

Stoll received an Indie Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Ernest Hemmingway in Woody Allen’s 2011 masterpiece Midnight in Paris. Although there are many memorable actors that appear in the nostalgic depiction of Paris in the 1930s, it’s Stoll’s energetic turn as one of the most beloved American authors that gets the struggling writer Gil (Owen Wilson) to rediscover his craft.

Paul Altman in ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ (2014)

This Is Where I Leave You is the exact type of feel good dramedy reminiscent of The Big Chill or The Accidental Tourist that simply isn’t made anymore. Stoll appears as Paul Altman, the uptight brother of Judd (Jason Bateman), Wendy (Tina Fey), and Philip (Adam Driver) who reunites with his disenfranchised siblings to commemorate their father’s funeral. Stoll gets into a few hilarious exchanges with Driver, as the strict and serious Paul is prone to arguments with his goofy brother Philip. Stoll and Driver shared about insights about their performance in this movie with Collider in this interview.

Darren Cross in ‘Ant-Man’ (2015)

Image via Marvel Studios

Corey Stoll’s performance in Ant-Man as the villainous Darren Cross certainly deserves respect; considering how many generic crime bosses and CGI aliens there are in the MCU’s rogue’s gallery, it’s nice to have an antagonist who is nothing more than a smarmy corporate suit. He leans into the schemy nature of a small scale threat that’s perfect for one of the more self-aware installments in the MCU.

Fred Wyshak in ‘Black Mass’ (2015)

Black Mass may go down as one of the most underrated crime films in recent memory, as Johnny Depp’s venomous performance as Whitey Bulger easily ranks among his best. Although the cast is stacked with terrific actors, Stoll has a particularly memorable part as the squeaky clean prosecutor Fred Wyshak that digs in and exposes the Bulger conspiracy. He’s one of the few souls brave enough to connect Bulger to the corrupt city officials and politicians.

Peter Russo in ‘House of Cards’ (2013-2018)

Image via Netflix

House of Cards is where Stoll proved his dramatic chops, as his heartbreaking performance as the alcoholic Congressman Peter Russo proved that Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) would leave no prisoners behind in his quest for power. Russo is the first victim in Underwood’s scheme when his congressional re-election is thrown into question. Russo is a tragic figure whose goaded into indulgence as Underwood plots to win the Vice Presidency for himself.

Ben Dorfman in ‘Cafe Society’ (2016)

Image via Amazon Studios

In his second collaboration with Allen, Stoll gives an uproarious performance as Bobby Dorfman’s (Jesse Eisenberg) mafia-connected brother Ben in Cafe Society. In one of the most hilarious scenes in the film, Ben decides to make a last-minute conversion to Christianity as he prepares to get the electric chair. His nonplussed reaction to his family’s panic is simply uproarious.

Brian Woolf in ‘Gold’ (2016)

It’s tough for an actor to play a character that is both privileged and victimized, but Stoll pulls it off in the biopic Gold. He has a smaller role as Brian Woolf, one of the many investors that makes the mistake of investing in the conman Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) and his fabled accounts.

Buzz Aldrin in ‘First Man’ (2018)

Image via Universal Pictures

First Man is Damien Chazelle’s underseen masterpiece, and features one of Ryan Gosling’s most heartbreakingly subtle performances. As the second man to ever walk on the moon, Stoll shows why Buzz Aldrin’s more adventurous personality was distinct from Armstrong’s grim-faced seriousness. Their subtle clashes and emerging friendship throughout the mission is one of the film’s few brighter and more endearing aspects.

Cyrus Clifford in ‘The Report’ (2019)

The Report is an essential piece of American storytelling that digs into the CIA’s torture programs in the aftermath of 9/11. Scott Z. Burns’ excellent dialogue is highly precise and layered, so getting someone with as much theater experience as Stoll for the role of Adam Jones’ (Adam Driver) lawyer Cyrus Clifford made their scenes together even more electrifying. Stoll’s precise delivery of detailed legal minutia perfectly captures the relevance of the case.

Peter in ‘Scenes From a Marriage’ (2021)

Image via HBO

HBO’s four-part miniseries Scenes From A Marriage does its best to capture the same level of intimacy and truthfulness as Ingmar Bergman’s beloved masterpiece, and to its credit it’s no easy task. Stoll gives a heartbreaking performance as Peter, a family friend of Jonathan (Oscar Isaac) and Mira (Jessica Chastain) whose impending divorce foreshadows theirs.

Junior Soprano in ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ (2021)

Stoll was tasked with capturing the essence of one of the most iconic television characters of all-time in The Many Saints of Newark. While Dominic Chianese’s performance as Uncle Junior in The Sopranos was beloved, fans had to reconsider their perspective of the character after learning about his involvement in the death of Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nirvola) that Stoll brings to life in stunning detail. Stoll shows how the seemingly docile member of the crew secretly becomes the mastermind behind a much larger scheme.

Office Krupke in ‘West Side Story’ (2021)

Image via 20th Century Studios

Steven Spielberg’s gorgeous update of West Side Story improves on the original masterpiece in nearly every way, modernizing the dated elements and contextualizing the themes of privilege, racism, and economic depression. This extends to Stoll’s performance as Officer Krupke, as the depiction of police brutality in a rough inner-city neighborhood has a whole new meaning in a more modern context. Stoll discussed his work on the film with us in this interview.

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