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Jun 8, 2010

Familiar Face - Unknown Name #19 - Eddie Marsan

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:

Eddie Marsan

Where You've Seen Him (high profile): Sherlock Holmes, Miami Vice, Hancock, Mission: Impossible III, V for Vendetta, Gangs of New York

Where You've Seen Him (not-so-high profile): 21 Grams, Vera Drake, The New World, The Illusionist, Happy-Go-Lucky, Me and Orson Welles, loads of British television.

Character Specialties: Oddballs and cops about sums it up, I think. Marsan has a very, very distinctive look, yet it's one that's a bit hard to pin down. I wouldn't say that he's destined to play villains, but more than anything else, he's got a serious, serious look to him, despite his ability (demonstrated in Sherlock Holmes, amongst others) to play for laughs as well. Might be considered a true chameleon if it weren't for the fact that he's so recognizable.

My favorite role: I really wasn't a fan of Happy-Go-Lucky, but Marsan's role as Scott was by far the best part about it. Whereas protagonist Poppy embodied all that is optimistic and Pollyanna-ish in this world, Scott was the yin to her yang - bitter, humorless, generally angry at the world. Yet Marsan sold it; I didn't want to be in the car with his driving instructor, either - he was a road rage threat at any second.

Little Known/Random Facts: From IMDb: "served an apprenticeship as a printer before beginning his career as an actor."

From an interview with Venice Magazine: "My dad was a truck driver. My mum was a school dinner lady. Just solidly working class across the board. I served an apprenticeship as a printer, and then when I passed my apprenticeship my boss, who was an alcoholic, said “In twenty years time, you can be where I am."

From the same interview, on his time working on Gangs of New York: "That was a fantastic experience, but it almost destroyed my career. I did nine months on it, and had a great storyline with Jim Broadbent, which ended up being cut and I only had one line in the final cut. So at the end of all that, I had no work to show for it and was unemployed for a while. But I loved it. I learned a lot from working with Jim Broadbent, just in terms of how to handle yourself on a film set, a really great example."

On being a character actor, in an interview with In Contention.com: "I have friends who are leading men, and they’re only ever allowed to play leading men of a certain type,"..."But as a character actor, there’s a wider variety of projects available. On the big Hollywood films, all they care about is having their lead in place, so it’s actually easier for someone like me to slip in. And I’m happy to do so."

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Marsans
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0550371/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/pages/Eddie-Marsan/109447189073251?ref=ts

10 people have chosen wisely: on "Familiar Face - Unknown Name #19 - Eddie Marsan"

Castor said...

One of the great character actor in the business. As you noted, he was absolutely great in Happy Go Lucky. On the other hand, his villain in Hancock left to be desired but not really his own fault.

Darren said...

I think he's been ion a real upswing these past few years, going from "guy I sorta recognise" to "go-to British character actor when we can't afford a big name". And he balances it with solid indie work, too.

Bob Turnbull said...

He's about to be even more on people's radars as the trailer for "The Disappearance Of Alice Creed" starts making the rounds (I think it's an early August release date). It's a "three-hander", so he's one of only 3 people in the film - though I didn't like the movie as much as some others did (saw it last Fall), Marsden is pretty great and intimidating in it at times.

And nobody does spittle like him. They must've been mopping down the floors between takes during "Happy Go Lucky". Bet they wrung out buckets from that instructor car's floor mats...B-)

Fletch said...

Castor - it was weird - I didn't even know he was in Hancock until he showed up, what, a third of the way through. And then he was this poorly, poorly developed villain guy. Weird role.

Darren - indeed. He's been gaining steadily in stature over the past 5 years or so.

Bob - And nobody does spittle like him. Ha! You ironically almost caused a spit-take from me there. I definitely remember seeing the weather flying aplenty during Happy-Go-Lucky. Fit well with the character, even.

Good news for him w/ Alice Creed.

Anonymous said...

Disappearance Of Alice Creed is brilliant, just a word of advice: don’t watch the trailer, don’t read a review just go and see it knowing as little as possible.

Bob Turnbull said...

Good point Andy...I had forgotten that the trailer does indeed give some of the plot points away. I'm not as big a fan of it as you, but it should definitely be seen cold.

By the way Andy, I just finally listened to Hatter' podcast with you (nice job)...As he mentioned, I did in fact see that Bill Hicks doc at Hot Docs. I wrote a short blurb about it in one of my "Short Cuts" entries. It's really quite good - they make the most of stand up footage and piles of old photos (by animating them to a certain extent) and it builds a really strong portrait of Hicks. I knew little about him going in and came away impressed.

Anonymous said...

I totally love Eddie Marsan, he was the only person I liked in "Happy-Go-Lucky" and I enjoy watching him pop up in bit parts every now and then.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Chiming in on the love of Eddie Marsan, in Happy-Go-Lucky of course but he really shines in The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

Great podcast interview with him on being a character actor over at the UK's Film Weekly if you are interested:


Kaiderman said...

I agree... I first noticed him in Happy Go Lucky (which I didn't really care for either) and he was great in that... horrible grill on that guy though! :)

Fletch said...

Andy - thanks for the heads up. I listened to Simon and Jo talk about it on their latest podcast, and I fear that it's been a tad spoiled for me already, though I really don't think they gave anything away. Just seems like there are only so many places that kind of movie can go. I hope I'm wrong, though.

Shannon - thank you! I will have to check that out.

Kai - indeed - see Bob's comments above. Poor guy. But hey, it works for him, right?