I don’t know about you, but there are some film/television actors who, when they appear in the cast list, make me go, ‘Yeah, that’s definitely worth a looksee.’ I’m not talking about the big names. Indeed some of these will turn me off. I flat out won’t watch Owen Wilson or Will Farrell for example, and they’re pretty big names.
It’s the ones where you go, ‘Hang on. I know him. Wasn’t he in (insert film name that’s on the tip of your tongue)?’ For me, a guarantee of a good view is the name of Stanley Tucci.
I know he’s been in some big productions, but never in a real blockbuster lead. Yes he cropped up in The Hunger Games series, but although his role as the television presenter/host was a critical one, and one he excelled at, it wasn’t a big one for actual screen time, and he had Woody Harrelsen to contend with. Even a part in Lucky Number Slevin didn’t put his star in the ascendant, given he had to face off with Hartnett, Willis, Freeman, Kingsley et al.
In The Road to Perdition, his role as Frank Nitti (crazy name, crazy guy) was again critical, but not very visible, largely due to the fact the lead was Tom Hanks. He’s an actor I’m in two minds about. Some of his stuff I really like, but some others… An Oscar for Forrest Gump? Why? Sentimental tosh wrapped in an admittedly clever technical delivery. An Oscar for Philadelphia? Why?
I digress. Back to Stanley. In the mid 2000s there was a splendid television series, and I know of nobody but me who saw it in the UK. It was called 3 lbs. This was a reference to the weight of the average adult human brain, and Stan the Man played a neurosurgeon. This was a role he was made for, but the timing was a little inauspicious, since when the series came out it was overshadowed by reruns of House. I think that’s a shame. It deserved better.
William Fichtner. He’s another one. People will know him vaguely as the blind scientist in Contact, and he was great in that. But who remembers Invasion? He was wizard in that. What about the film Go? Genius level performance and nobody saw it.
One last one. Don Gordon. Who? He played Delgetti in Bullitt, where he was inevitably in the shadow of the brooding Steve McQueen, and Robert Vaughan giving a performance that gave reptiles a bad name. Everybody forgets Delgetti, yet Gordon he did a sterling job.
There’s no justice in this world.