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Feb 25, 2009

Familiar Face - Unknown Name #11 - Saïd Taghmaoui

Call them what you want - character actors, "That Guy(s)," scene stealers - I don't care. This is a regular feature where I spotlight one performer, whether they be longtime veterans like J.K. Simmons or Barry Corbin, or a fresher face just making their way up the stardom ranks. For previous FF-UNs, click here.

Today's Familiar Face-Unknown Name:

Saïd Taghmaoui

Where You've Seen Him (high profile): If you're an American moviegoer, your introduction to Saïd came with 1999's Three Kings, where he memorably played a sympathetic Iraqi torturer to Mark Wahlberg's U.S. soldier. Last fall, he was featured in a large role in the spy/political thriller Traitor alongside Don Cheadle, and earlier in 2008 he played a baddie in Vantage Point. (From what I know, he has a sizable role in The Kite Runner as well, but I've not seen it.) Also, he'll be playing Breaker in a little summer film called G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Where You've Seen Him (not-so-high profile): Had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it in David O. Russell's Three Kings follow-up, I Heart Huckabees, as a translator. Romanced Kate Winslet in the Morrocan-set indie Hideous Kinky. Numerous French films (he's a native, after all), including the critically acclaimed La Haine, made early in his career with friend and collaborator Mathieu Kassovitz (Amelie). And in a possibly-soon-to-be-high-profile role, Taghmaoui has joined the cast of Lost; his second episode airs tonight.

Character Specialties: To American producers, he seems to have been somewhat stuck playing the sympathetic terrorist of the day, with his big, kind eyes making him too likable to be an outright villain. His Lost appearance is surely set to thankfully change those perceptions. (I'd speak to his specialties in French-language films, but I can't say that I've seen any, either.)

My favorite role: Despite the size and scope of his Traitor role, I gotta go with his Three Kings soldier ("What is the problem with Michael Jackson?").

Little Known Facts: According to Wikipedia, "He dropped out of school to become a boxer and rose as high as number 2 in his weight class in France."

On Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Said_Taghmaoui
On IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0846548/


6 people have chosen wisely: on "Familiar Face - Unknown Name #11 - Saïd Taghmaoui"

Reel Whore said...

Another excellent selection. I should be ashamed to admit it, but I sometimes get Said and Clifton Collins, Jr. confused...esp if I just catch a glimpse in a trailer or something.

Craig said...

Good find, I did recognize him but couldn't put my finger on it. I do remember him from the Kite Runner. Lost was awesome last night by the way.

Fletch said...

Wayne - I wouldn't be too ashamed about that; on first glimpse, they certianly resemble each other. Just not after they've uttered a word. ;)

Craig - does he have a sizable role in The Kite Runner? That might be enough of a nudge for me to see it. And yeah, Lost was pretty damn good - waiting to see how Taghmaoui's role plays out.

Farzan said...

Woah, I totally forgot about this guy. I think hes a pretty good serious actor. I enjoyed him in Three Kings and that "What is the problem with Michael Jackson?" line is simply hilarious.

Fletch said...

I agree Farzan. I'm hoping to see much more of him in the future, and NOT in "random Arab" or villain roles. Hopefully, his LOST arc ought to help.

Daniel Getahun said...

Boo yah, there he is. For a second I was thinking, "Was he in Body of Lies?", but that was Mark Strong I'm pretty sure.

Man, I hope GI Joe doesn't completely suck.