"Character Actor" Appreciation

edited March 8 in General
I watched the Godfather trilogy for basically the first time this weekend, and was really taken by John Cazale's performance, which led me to his wikipedia page, where I learned that he only appeared in five movies (over the course of 6 years before his untimely death), ALL five of which were nominated for the Oscar for best picture.  That's a pretty remarkable bit of trivia!

So...who are your personal favorite, perhaps underappreciated, "character actors?" (And what does that term really mean anyway?) 

I've always liked Garrett Dillahunt, both for the two vastly-different but equally-memorable degenerates he portrayed on Deadwood, as well as his later role in the rather underrated sitcom "Raising Hope."

(((You may only want to watch the first 45 seconds or so of this clip)))
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAY0f6tea4k

Traviskingbee67

Comments

  • MichelleMichelle California
    edited March 9
    I have a million faces of actors that I'm thinking of but can't recall their names to save my life.  Recently though (as in the past year) I've developed a fondness for Ron Cephas Jones.  He is William on This is Us, and is just outstanding.  His performances are so genuine that you feel like you don't know where he stops and the character begins, and vice versa.  He just is William.

    If you're wondering where else you may know him from, he was also Bobby Fish in Luke Cage, Romero in Mr. Robot, and Winston in The Get Down.  I haven't seen any of these, but would watch them just for him.



    ken haleTravisMurderbear
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited March 9
    @ken hale I love Dillahunt, and I totally agree about Raising Hope. That was an amazing sitcom. Fantastic cast.

    Does Dule Hill count as a character actor? I think despite his having been a lead on Psych he still fits the bill. I am a really big fan of his. Also from the Psych tree, and overlapping with Deadwood, I like Tim Omundson a whole lot. I really hope he recovers fully from the stroke he had and gets back in the game. 

    EDIT: Oh shit, and then there's the whole Gere Burns of it all.
    ken hale
  • @Travis See, I don't know what the definition really is?  Dillahunt has had lead and recurring television roles, and the term "character actor" generally seems to apply to film actors who never have the lead role.  It's a nebulous concept, I'm sure.

    BTW, I use the term "actor" as a sort of lazy, androgynous shorthand, and hope that the word does not offend or suggest an androcentric (new word!) perspective.
    Travis
  • MichelleMichelle California
    It's also not limited to film - there are *so* many on tv as well.
    Travis
  • Interestingly, if you google "character actor" you get image results for John C Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who I would think of more as "movie stars" at this point.  The definition is "an actor who specializes in playing eccentric or unusual people rather than leading roles," so it can be broadly interpreted.
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited March 9
    ken hale said:
    @Travis See, I don't know what the definition really is?  Dillahunt has had lead and recurring television roles, and the term "character actor" generally seems to apply to film actors who never have the lead role.  It's a nebulous concept, I'm sure.

    BTW, I use the term "actor" as a sort of lazy, androgynous shorthand, and hope that the word does not offend or suggest an androcentric (new word!) perspective.
    Definitely! It really is tough to find the line. I'm tempted to say Eva Green is friggin amazing and deserves way more respect but I think that she's pretty clearly a lead even if she's ultimately further under the radar than she should be. I will say that I was pleased to see Anna Torv pop up in Mindhunter. I thought she was really good on Fringe, but I'd never come across anything else that she had done which I thought was a real shame. Hopefully that launches more high profile jobs for her.
  • edited March 9
    I was being kind of glib about it before, but there's probably a pretty good argument that we think of less female "character actors" due to the general derth of significant roles for women / reluctance to cast older women. 

    Eva Green is definitely a good actress with memorable roles and probably not enough leading opportunities.  How about Margo Martindale? She's an actress who, if I know she's in something, I'm more likely to watch it and I expect it to be pretty good, but she's not likely to be the lead.

    Edit: I knew she was on the show but I forgot that Bojack Horseman always refers to her as "esteemed character actress Margo Martindale," so she's definitely well-endorsed.
    Travis
  • kingbee67kingbee67 Los Angeles Ca.
    edited March 9
    Speaking of Luke Cage when I think of great character actors I like Frankie Faison. You know Pops on Cage, Burell on The Wire and the guy in Coming To America the landlord who said “its a real shithole” about the apartment. He has been in iconic movies like Do The Right Thing and he was the dude who let Jodi foster in the cell to meet Hannibal. I always love seeing Wire actors in other shows and movies. 

    Looking at Faisons IMDb looks like he was in most of the Hannibal movies even Manhunter, nice.
    Travis
  • ken hale said:
    I was being kind of glib about it before, but there's probably a pretty good argument that we think of less female "character actors" due to the general derth of significant roles for women / reluctance to cast older women. 

    Eva Green is definitely a good actress with memorable roles and probably not enough leading opportunities.  How about Margo Martindale? She's an actress who, if I know she's in something, I'm more likely to watch it and I expect it to be pretty good, but she's not likely to be the lead.

    Edit: I knew she was on the show but I forgot that Bojack Horseman always refers to her as "esteemed character actress Margo Martindale," so she's definitely well-endorsed.
    I would add Ann Dowd too. Her and Margo Martindale are basically the female Pullman/Paxton except they actually look alike.
    Travisken hale
  • ken hale said:
    I was being kind of glib about it before, but there's probably a pretty good argument that we think of less female "character actors" due to the general derth of significant roles for women / reluctance to cast older women. 

    Eva Green is definitely a good actress with memorable roles and probably not enough leading opportunities.  How about Margo Martindale? She's an actress who, if I know she's in something, I'm more likely to watch it and I expect it to be pretty good, but she's not likely to be the lead.

    Edit: I knew she was on the show but I forgot that Bojack Horseman always refers to her as "esteemed character actress Margo Martindale," so she's definitely well-endorsed.
    I would add Ann Dowd too. Her and Margo Martindale are basically the female Pullman/Paxton except they actually look alike.
    How could I forget Mags Bennet?! She is definitely WAY up there. Amazing actress.
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    On the women thing- middle aged women are generally invisible to society. But if you pay attention you will find lots of great female character actors. 

    I have some answers which I'll write when I'm at a keyboard... But also a question... Has the idea of "character actor" changed in the era of streaming, 100s of channels, and "golden age" of TV? I feel like TV has gotten quirkier in general, and at the same time having so much content must be providing a lot of acting work.
    Travis
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    edited March 9
    @ken hale HBO did a cool little documentary about Cazale. That was the first time I realized that he had such a short career.


    ken hale
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Ok so I like -
    Michiel Huisman- He basically improves everything he shows up in and I cheer when I see him come onscreen. Also, he's super hot!


    I was going to write some more, but let's just sit with this one for a minute.
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    So many. So so many. I have very little interest in big name stars, but there are tons of “little guys” who will entice me to watch something if they’re in it. Usually TV, as I’m not much into movies anymore, and I watch way more British TV than American, so some of these may be unknowns to you. Anyway, here’s my long list: 

    US:
    Martha Plimpton (goddess) 
    Beth Grant (“I got the cancer!”) 
    Dale Dickey 
    S. Epatha Merkerson
    Joan Cusack 
    Jean Smart 
    Allison Janney 
    Oliver Platt 
    Stephen Root 
    CCH Pounder 
    Kathryn Hahn/Ana Gasteyer (I always spend 30 seconds staring at the screen trying to figure out which of them it is) 

    UK/Ireland:
    Eddie Marsan (probably my favourite actor)
    Darren Boyd 
    Lorcan Cranitch 
    Nicola Walker 
    Maxine Peake 
    Mark Bonnar (probably my second fave actor) 
    Rosie Cavaliero 
    Christine Bottomley 
    Christine Tremarco 
    Bronagh Gallagher 
    Adeel Akhtar 
    David Morrissey 
    Claire Rushbrook 
    Con O’Neill 
    Sharon Small 
    Stephen Tompkinson 
    Derek RIddell 
    Keeley Hawes 

    AUS:
    David Wenham 
    Deborah Mailman 
    Patrick Brammall 
    Susie Porter 
    Jackie Weaver 
    Lynette Curran (who you get when you can’t get Jackie Weaver) 
    MENDO! 
    DummyTravis
  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    edited March 9
    Tough to single out but if I chose one or two it would be Chaz Palminteri Usually plays some sort of gangster and he does it very well. Bronx tale probably his best work.

    second would he Javier bardem. Excellent villain in no country and bond. And to a lesser extent Pirates of carbibean

    And lastly shout hoot to to the character who always die. The great Ned Stark..Sean Bean. 
    Travis
  • Stephen Root, he's played so many different characters and yet always manages to be memorable ... Some "greatest hits":

    News Radio
    Office Space
    Boardwalk Empire
    Dodgeball
    O' Brother Where Are Thou
    Get Out

    Plus he's done a ton of voice work.



    TravisDeeken haleNoelkingbee67
  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    MrX said:
    Stephen Root, he's played so many different characters and yet always manages to be memorable ... Some "greatest hits":

    News Radio
    Office Space
    Boardwalk Empire
    Dodgeball
    O' Brother Where Are Thou
    Get Out

    Plus he's done a ton of voice work.



    Duck fuck with his red stapler!
    Travis
  • But are the squirrels still married?
  • Resurrecting this cause I'm watching Love season 3, and Ed Begley Jr. is the fucking man. Also, bonus KEN WINS. I don't the actors name which I guess means he's in the category as well.
  • MrXMrX CO
    edited March 25
    Resurrecting this cause I'm watching Love season 3, and Ed Begley Jr. is the fucking man. Also, bonus KEN WINS. I don't the actors name which I guess means he's in the category as well.
    Begley Jr. had a great Simpsons cameo.


    johnnytruant
  • NoelNoel Dallas, TX
    MrX said:
    Stephen Root, he's played so many different characters and yet always manages to be memorable ... Some "greatest hits":

    News Radio
    Office Space
    Boardwalk Empire
    Dodgeball
    O' Brother Where Are Thou
    Get Out

    Plus he's done a ton of voice work.



    “L for Love!”

    Man I love Dodgeball
  • ken hale said:

    I've always liked Garrett Dillahunt, both for the two vastly-different but equally-memorable degenerates he portrayed on Deadwood, as well as his later role in the rather underrated sitcom "Raising Hope."


    I guess I'm going to have to start watching Fear the Walking Dead again. Dammit Dillahunt!
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