I hate the idea that a compliment I was trying to pay someone may have inadvertently been taken as an insult, and I'm hoping that wasn't the case when I sat down last week to talk to William Fichtner.
See, I don't think it's an insult to call someone a "character actor" as opposed to a "leading man," and I'll explain why. To me, "leading men" are frequently the movie stars who don't really change from film to film, and that isn't a good thing. It's the reason they are movie stars, sure, but I would think that one of the reasons you become an actor in the first place is to vanish into different roles, becoming different characters to such a degree that the actor becomes invisible.
That's how I would describe William Fichtner. I know that for me, it was "Contact" that turned him from "I recognize that guy" to "I need to make sure I see whatever that guy does," and he's been utilized well by filmmakers like Michael Mann ("Heat"), Kathryn Bigelow ("Strange Days"), Michael Bay ("Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor"), Ridley Scott ("Black Hawk Down"), and Kurt Wimmer ("Equiibrium"). He's made an impression on TV viewers on the show "Prison Break," and he gave great smarm in his appearances on "Entourage" as Phil Yagoda.
For my money, though, his work in "Drive Angry" is one of the best things he's done, and it's precisely because he's playing a very familiar archetype that we can judge just what it is that he brings to the role. As written, The Accountant is a riff on all the unstoppable supernatural killers we've seen in films since "The Terminator" premiered, and what makes his work stand out is the way he humanizes this utterly inhuman character. He's not just unstoppable, he's impossible to ruffle in any way. He is calm and collected as he pursues John Milton (Nicolas Cage), and it makes the crazier moments in the film seem fun because of how completely he refuses to get worked up. He's a great match in terms of energy for Cage, and by the time the two of them are face-to-face at the end of the film, it's a moment the audience is really waiting for.
I hope he enjoyed this conversation, because I certainly did, and I hope to continue interviewing him in the future for other films. And, yes, I'd be thrilled if he was a leading man in one of them, but I'll be happy as long as he's doing the kind of work he's been doing already.
"Drive Angry 3D" is in theaters now.
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
Let Streaming Genie help you.