The characters that we see on screen are often blessed with many great attributes, including good looks, witty charm, and a knack for ending up in the right place at the right time. Aside from this, they often end up with many incredible skills and talents that most of us could only ever dream about.

Occasionally though, those skills come as a surprise. They may not be the special abilities you’d expect them to possess, either because they go against the stereotypical traits you’d expect of them, or because they use seemingly irrelevant talents for something very different.

James Bond
James Bond is England’s best-known spy, having been chasing international criminal masterminds for more than half a century. Over the 24 Bond movies to have been made so far, 007 demonstrates an almost endless list of talents and skills.

He’s a master marksman and knows how to handle bladed articles, with an innate ability to know the best places to strike his enemies to do the most damage. 007’s own limbs can also be deadly as he is also a skilled martial artist, with demonstrable knowledge of Karate, Krav Maga, Aikido, Judi, and Filipino Eskrima to name a few.

Aside from fighting, Bond is also talented in piloting just about any kind of vehicle or craft, including cars, planes, and boats. In the World is Not Enough, Bond drove the Q-boat along the River Thames to chase an assassin of a businessman, while in Goldeneye he managed to drive a bike off a cliff, landing completely unscathed at the bottom.

These skills may all seem pretty standard for a secret agent, but one skill that may have surprised a few people initially is Bond’s ability to play cards. He’s been seen playing numerous card games over the years, but one of the most famous scenes was in Casino Royale.

Hot on the heels of an enemy, Bond ended up in a high-stakes game of Texas Hold’em. This is a variant of poker that requires players to combine a set of community cards that are dealt face-up on the table with their own two private cards. Since the mid-2000s, it’s been the preferred version among filmmakers, reflecting the growing popularity of the variant in the real world. In this 2006 release, 007 gets to show his talents as an expert body-language reader, managing to pick up on his opponent’s “tell”, but was soon poisoned to keep him from winning.

Nicholas Angel
Sergeant Angel was the protagonist in Hot Fuzz. He was a talented police officer working for London’s Metropolitan Police Service, proficient in many areas of policing and working for the SO19 Armed Response Unit. High-speed driving, shooting, and impeccable detective work helped Angel to achieve an arrest record that was 400% higher than any other officer in the city.

Noticing his achievements, senior members of The Met promoted Angel to Sergeant, but the stripes came with a catch; he’d have to move to the countryside. Angel’s colleagues had become jealous of his abilities and wanted him out.

Moving to Sandford, Angel’s razor-sharp instincts quickly help him discover that something is afoot and it’s not long before the “Village of the Year” descends into complete chaos.

But for all of Angel’s policing talents, he has a number of other surprising talents. He’s an avid chess player and The Met’s fastest 100-metre runner. Perhaps Angel’s most unusual talent is his horticultural abilities. Early on in the film, he lets on that his evening will be spent watering his peace lily, a plant that he carefully carries with him on his way to Sandford and later proves invaluable in saving his life.

Forrest Gump
Perhaps the epitome of characters with surprising skills is Forrest Gump. He wandered through his life, finding himself in the most historic of situations and discovering that he had unexpected skills and abilities that would open doors to him, such as running, football and table tennis to name a few.

Chuck Noland
Another Tom Hanks example here. In Cast Away, Chuck Noland is a star FedEx employee who has dedicated his professional life to getting people’s packages delivered on time. One Christmas, he’s called to work to deal with an issue in Malaysia. As a workaholic, he obliges, heads to the airport and soon finds himself aboard a FedEx cargo jet.

The plane flies through a storm, causing it to crash into the Pacific Ocean. This results in Noland washing up on an uninhabited island, along with some FedEx packages.

However, his talents for getting FedEx parcels delivered on time aren’t overly useful on a desert island and Noland needs to quickly adapt. In a short period of time, he becomes a talented spearfisher, scavenger, and raft maker. Allowing him to survive and eventually make his escape back to civilisation. This isn’t an example of hidden skills that a movie character has, but rather skills that they acquire during the course of the movie. Perhaps that’s one of the takeaways, that we can all learn new skills if we have to.