Most British actors tend to go in this direction; Hugh Laurie (shown above) and Colin Firth, for example, were quite handsome in their 20s and 30s, and yet - oddly enough - more attractive now that they're older. (In Firthie's case, with a bit more meat on the bones; with Hugh, the natural world-weariness.) Same thing with Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem: way hotter and more interesting now, but generic and kinda doofy-looking back in the day. Then there's Stellan and Alexander Skarsgard... so, yep, something in the water, I think.
(...Okay, fine. Robert Redford and Alec Baldwin. Still and all, though.)
That doesn't always mean you can make the same case with other actors, though - especially those for whom "interesting" and "mature" does not always equal "hot."
For example, would you believe that this is what Harvey Keitel used to look like back in 1973?
Not to say that Harvey's ugly now, though; his face has always had character, and I would be heartbroken if he decides to get "freshened up" by a licensed professional. But back then? Hello, you can always buy me a drink any time any time you want, and thank you very much.
And then... there's Timothy Hutton.
Behold, a beautiful young man! Yes, Tim looks incredibly awkward and baby-faced here in Ordinary People, but put Justin Bieber and Robert Pattinson next to this guy and they're going to look like utter garbage by comparison. The fact that he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor* - and, still, the youngest one to do so - makes this whole moment in time much sweeter.
(*Which reminds me: Hailee Steinfeld, hija, are you reading this? Because if you are, I just want you to know that you're not the only teenaged actor who has been nominated for the wrong category. Just read what I have to say next about your Uncle Timmy - and promise me that you'll pay attention, okay? Good.)
Then he had to ruin it with the terrible movies, the hard living, and the douchebaggery, plus the questionable relationship history - especially the part where Angelina Jolie and (if rumors are to be believed) Natalie Portman still seem to flinch at the mere mention of his name. Add all of that up, and we're looking at the same circle of hell where Shia LeBeouf has purchased his time-share, right next to Adrien Brody and Jude Law.
Not to mention: terrible on-screen kisser. (Especially in this one, though I suspect that mouth-wrestling Meg Ryan during her cutesy shag-haircut phase might have been part of the problem.)
Which brings us to this.
Not exactly Colin Firth, but not quite Harvey Keitel either... and definitely nowhere near the grave, for sure, even if there's still a bit of residual smarm in there. He's more like a good baseball glove that way: shiny when new, stinky during the breaking-in process, but much better after getting weather-proofed. Did I also mention that he still gets to play the magnificently sneaky Nathan Ford, without whom Leverage would only be half as awesome?
(Still a terrible on-screen kisser, though. Those of you who are less than impressed by Colin Firth's snogging skills should try to sit through any episode of Leverage where Tim/Nate tries to plant smackers on the ladies. Painful.)
So what I'm trying to say is, this: Jesse Eisenberg, Taylor Lautner, Michael Cera, and Zac Efron, consider yourselves forewarned.
One last rejoinder, from Go Fug Yourself: No, Matthew McConaughey! Not YOU too! (And somewhere in the world, Harvey Keitel is pouring himself a shot of Patron Anejo Reposado, shaking his head...)