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May 13, 2009

Familiar Face - Unknown Name #13 - Clifton Collins, Jr.

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.

Special Partners in Crime edition! WaywardJam, my buddy over at Reel Whore, took my lead some months back and decided to give some love to the female versions of the FF-UNs in a feature titled "Who's That Lady?" And if there's anyone that should be giving some lovin' to the undersung ladies of Hollywood, it's the Reel Whore. Prior ladies spotlighted include Beth Grant, Jennifer Coolidge, and Jane Lynch; however, with the release of Sunshine Cleaning, Wayne saw a perfect opportunity for us to finally join forces. We've each chosen a worthy character actor - you can see mine below; to see who his is (and all prior ladies), just click here.

Today's Familiar Face-Unknown Name:

Clifton Collins, Jr.

Where You've Seen Him (high profile): He's been all over movie screens in 2009, with supporting roles in Star Trek (playing Eric Bana's right-hand man), Sunshine Cleaning (the guy missing a hand - and rest of his arm) and Crank: High Voltage. In 2005, he won accolades (and an award or two) for his performance as murderer Perry Smith in Capote, and had previously made a name for himself in dramas such as Traffic and 187.

Where You've Seen Him (not-so-high profile): It looks as though he had a good-sized role, but did anyone actually see The Last Castle? Was nominated for an Emmy for his supporting role in the FX show Thief, and also appeared on a couple episodes of the FX hit The Shield. Starred alongside Brittany Daniel in both Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders and Dirty, and has starred in a handful of other smaller flicks (Road Dogz, Price of Glory). Making his way up the ranks, Collins was also seen in minor roles in higher profile pictures such as Babel, Sgt. Bilko, Poetic Justice, Menace II Society, and Dead Presidents.

Character Specialties: The 38-year old Collins is the closest thing to the next Gary Oldman that can be found in film today. He's capable of pulling off sensitive thinkers and brutal killers alike with equal aplomb, and is almost always disappearing into the role so much that it might hurt his career in the short term. His talent hasn't allowed that to happen yet, but I'm sure there are more than a few people who might look at the above picture and still not recognize the face, despite possibly having seen it a number of times. I guess you could say that his specialty is in a somewhat dark role - his often sad, sleepy eyes gear him towards playing someone that's either been hurt or has been on the delivering side of pain.

My favorite role: Perry Smith was an impressive, understated role for Collins, but I must pick his gay hitman in Traffic. Somehow, Collins made him creepy, dangerous and sympathetic simultaneously.

Little Known Facts: Is the grandson of Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez (and actor known for appearing in John Wayne films), and went by the name Clifton Gonzalez-Gonzalez as a tribute to him until Collins' father passed away in 2000. Collins is of half-Mexican descent.

His sister Veronica is a casting director, and worked on LOST and Alias, perhaps giving Clifton an easier way into Star Trek (all three projects were helmed by J.J. Abrams).

Clifton apparently likes hats. A lot. And is a fan of wearing them tilted to one side.

Is also a fan of snowboarding...and Gary Oldman (no surprise).

Has a slightly, um, different fan site set up in his honor: http://www.gilmarc.com/cliffc/index06.html

On Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton_Collins,_Jr.
On IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004286/

5 people have chosen wisely: on "Familiar Face - Unknown Name #13 - Clifton Collins, Jr."

Reel Whore said...

Hey! I saw Last Castle...that's about all I can admit to. I recall him from Babel, but may need to pull out my DVD of Dead Presidents to see who he played.

The Gary Oldman comparison is accurate and it's cool he's a fan.

I'll keep my eye out for future partnership prospects.

Gwen said...

Loved him in Mindhunters. I also remember him from the Rules of Attraction.

Btw, what happened to the old commenting option (name + URL)?

Fletch said...

Hey Gwen - well, spam happened. Too many wowgold! comments making their way through to the site. I don't like comment moderation (I only have it set up for comments on posts > 14 days old), but I had to go hardcore otherwise. I'm sure I'll turn it off soon and test the waters again.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen either Mindhunters or Rules of Attraction. But I want to more now. Mostly, I want to revisit him in Traffic; it's been a few years since I've seen that, but I recall him making quite an impression.

Pat said...

You know, all through "Sunshine Cleaning," I kept thinking "Where have I seen this guy before?" I didn't make the connection to Perry Smith in "Capote." I agree, he's pretty darn good.

The Mad Hatter said...

Loved him in CAPOTE, kinda wished he woulda landed an Oscar nomination for that.

While TRAFFIC is one of my alltime favorite movies, for me he'll always be the sadsack private in TIGERLAND that Colin Farrell fights to get honourably discharged.

( This is an awesome blog feature btw )