play the heavy

play the heavy

Fig. to act the part of a mean person; to do the unpleasant tasks that no one else wants to do. (Refers originally to playing the role of someone evil in a movie, etc.) I'm a nice guy, but at work, I am required to play the heavy. The boss makes me do all the cruel things.
See also: heavy, play

play the heavy

Act the part of a villain; take the blame for unkind behavior. For example, She can't bear firing an employee, so she relies on Jim to play the heavy. This colloquial term comes from the theater, where heavy has been used for a stern, serious role or that of a villain since the early 1800s.
See also: heavy, play
References in classic literature ?
He rehearsed all the afternoon how he should play the heavy father for the young man's edification till he reduced his children to helpless giggling.
It is a challenge to play the heavy instrument when she is a girl of 7, but her Mama believes in her and her Grandpa John helps her learn.
The Scot, who stars as Hagrid in the final Harry Potter movie which opens next week, said he had to work hard to avoid being typecast at first He said: "The worst thing is that when you get to London as a Glaswegian, they want you to play the heavy.
From their earliest moments, massive stars play the heavy.
Summers' defenders say he had no choice but to play the heavy when other Europeans refused to confront Germany directly and say that Koch-Weser was unacceptable.
It keeps you from setting unrealistic expectations, it helps to avoid unpleasant surprises, and it's a good way to avoid having you or the AD play the heavy.
Somewhere along the way, as it invariably does, the air went out of Salle's will to play the heavy.
They want us to play the heavy in their drama of packaged grief, to provide rivetting programming to run between commercials.