Western Guy, you asked me where are the character actors of today who have the chops of our favorites in classic film. And I didn't actually answer, because my first thought was that there were none. But here's a list of actors now who will draw me to a new movie:
Tucci is my favorite character actor working right now because he fails to fall into any category at all. He's thoughtful, quiet and deeply committed as an actor, and he never goes in a traditional direction. I fell deeply, deeply in love with Stanley Tucci years ago after seeing an interview with him about the movie BIG NIGHT
. I had seen him before but never really knew his name. I immediately went to see it, and thought the acting was absolutely wonderful. In it Tucci and Tony Shalhoub play Italian brothers who run a restaurant, Shalhoub is the chef and Tucci the business end of the restaurant and maitre d', and they are waiting for Julius La Rosa to show up for dinner, thinking this will make their restaurant fashionable.
I then heard a review of a new film he was making called Joe Gould's Secret
, which he directed. It took me years to find a copy, but it is a first rate film, a tragedy in some ways but brilliant and thought provoking. I'm still trying to find his TV production about Walter Winchell
. Tucci shows up in everything from The Hunger Games
, to The Devil Wears Prada
, to Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
. He had made appearances in quite a few TV shows, like Thirtysomething
, and movies like The Pelican Brief
and Prelude to a Kiss
, and he did a play I desperately wanted to direct or act in at one time, called Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
which I imagine he was very well suited for. He's a jack of all trades, and although I don't see everything he does (he works ALL the time, in cartoons, kids shows, HBO specials, whatever) I WILL make a point of going to his movies or renting the ones that seem in my general style preferences. He's a brilliant actor, and pretty much can play anything you give him - a cool Adolph Eichmann in Conspiracy
, a harried airport security manager in The Terminal
or even the sweetest (and sexiest) man ever, Julia Child's husband in Julie and Julia.
He's my favorite character actor working today. If you ever get the chance, rent Joe Gould's Secret
and get the double dose of Tucci as actor and director... it's worth your time.
OK. Here's my brush with fame, and my turn to name drop.... I've MET Michael Rispoli. You may remember him in While You Were Sleeping
as Joe Jr. but really he's turned up in all sorts of movies and you probably didn't even realize you were seeing him. The above picture is from his brilliant performance in The Rum Diaries.
I came up with so many names of people I love to see and recognize in movies nowadays that I can't possibly post their pictures here, so I'll just go ahead and make my list, hoping that it will produce some conversation. And I'm not even bringing out the big guns here by mentioning Steve Buscemi
, John Turturro, Laurence Fishburne, Tony Shalhoub, Peter Stromare
or James Gandolfini
! Here are my favorites from modern movies:
S. Epatha Merkerson
Philip Seymour Hoffman