Featured Posts

Jul 10, 2007

Some of my favorite "characters"

Steve Buscemi. John Turturro. Eric Stolz. J.T. Walsh. Paul Giamatti. R. Lee Ermey. Samuel L. Jackson.

What do these men have in common? Aside from large filmographies, all were known once upon a time as "character actors." The best of them, some would say. Early in their film careers, they were not stars - until the indie scene took off in the mid-nineties, you could argue that none would have ever had the chance at starring in a film. However, as time went on and their profiles grew, they went from being "that guy" that you recognize from 10 other films to quasi-household names (or even more, in the cases of Jackson and Giamatti). Sadly, J.T. Walsh died too young, and Ermey has always been typecast (and rightfully so); but the rest got their due.

So just for the hell of it, I'd like to list some of my current favorite "that guys" or character actors or whatever you want to call them. Some are familiar faces, some are familiar names, but chances are you've seen all of them at one time or another, and will most likely see more of them in the near future:

Karl Urban
This Kiwi is probably the biggest name of those you'll see here, as he recently starred in a major (sort of) action flick (Pathfinder, which bombed). Urban compares favorably to someone like Jason Statham, perhaps minus the martial arts training. Nonetheless, he has shone in previous films such as: The Bourne Supremacy, the disappointing The Chronicles of Riddick, and, most notably, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, where he appeared prominently in the latter two films. Up next: co-starring with Laurence Fishburne in the next Tony Kaye (American History X) film, and Run, from director John McTiernan (Die Hard).

Alan Tudyk
Yarr! Though not in character in the picture to your left, Tudyk famously played Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball and, most recently, played Katherine Heigl's E! boss in Knocked Up. He's also had voiceover roles in both Ice Age films, as well as the "lead" robot in I, Robot. But he'll always be Steve the Pirate to me.

Geoffrey Arend
Though he'll probably be forever remember for his bit part in Supertroopers ("The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!"), Arend has been pretty visible over the last few years, from a role in Garden State to numerous TV and commercial appearances (looks like he's hit the Law & Order trifecta, having had a role on all three versions), to his work as a video game voiceover actor. He even played a mentally challenged guy in Johnny Knoxville's The Ringer. Whatever he's doing, just seeing him onscreen is enough to get a laugh out of me.

David Wenham
Though you probably don't recognize him from the picture shown, he's been a go-to guy in some of the biggest action movies of the past five years, having also appeared in the latter two LOTR movies in addition to his prominent role in this year's 300. Before his American breakthough, the Aussie had been toiling around since the early 80s, with later appearances in films such as Moulin Rouge and Dark City.

Want to see more great That Guys and Gals? Fametracker is an awesome site that more or less catalogs the rises and falls of a number of them, from the ones listed at the top of this page to other great ones (who you've definitely seen time and again) like Stephen Tobolowsky, Xander Berkeley, and J.K. Simmons. Their virtual encyclopedia can be found here.

Some more resources:
* http://www.cracked.com/index.php?name=News&sid=1990
* http://www.avclub.com/content/node/48274
* http://www.what-a-character.com/

8 people have chosen wisely: on "Some of my favorite "characters""

NeoAuteur said...

Nice blog. Your reviews are quite interesting.

eagerblogger said...

I like Karl Urban and David Wenham. I enjoyed their characters in LOTR. :)

Friend Mouse said...

Lovely collection of younger character actors. Alan will evermore be Wash to me, 'tho.

WampaOne said...

Eric Stoltz kicked ass in Some Kind of Wonderful


NFL Adam said...

Eric Stoltz carried his own movie in "Wild Life."

Fletch said...

Friend Mouse, I assume Wash is a Firefly/Serenity reference? I haven't seen any of that, much to the chagrin of one of my buddies, who swears by it.

Yeah, Stolz is in the HOF for character actors, though I'm not sure if he's ever really acting - he doesn't exactly show a lot of range usually. Take that in the spirit it's intended.

Friend Mouse said...

Correct on the Wash = Firefly/Serenity guess, Fletch. Now, I'm no hardcore Browncoat, but Firefly ranks way up there in my all-time favorite t.v. series and is #1 on my canceled-too-soon list. Also, I'd recommend watching Firefly before seeing Serenity: you don't absolutely have to, but the movie is more enjoyable that way.

Nic Cage said...

Shame on you Fletch, shame on you.

Alan Tudyk IS Wash.