A comedy. Beer Battered Bedmates
A horror flick. The Warehouse
An action flick. Forty Second Fuse
A science fiction flick. Beyond Pluto
This is the first round of choices, followed by the comments by the drafter:
#1 Robert Downey, Jr.
I think this pick is pretty much a no-brainer. Downey, Jr. has proven time and time again that he can handle anything that is thrown his way, and make it look totally easy the entire time he is doing it. Iron Man has not only provided him with a much-deserved career resurgence, but it has proven that he can do both action and sci-fi with equal aplomb. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is only the most recent example that he can handle comedy with ease, a skill which was also brought to the table in the aforementioned Iron Man, as well as a number other films. Additionally, he has proven his dramatic chops on several occasions; from Chaplin to Good Night, and Good Luck to Zodiac, the guy can do drama in his sleep. Best of all, he’s shown on numerous occasions that he has no problem working with an ensemble, and is willing to step aside and let someone else take the spotlight every now and then. Downey, Jr. is one of the most well-rounded talents working today, and would be an excellent addition to any repertory company lucky enough to snag him. – Chris Olson
#2 Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett is in everything because she can do anything. She followed a toe-to-toe match up with the mighty Judi Dench by putting in an unbilled and masked appearance in the great Hot Fuzz. Jackson asked her, “Blanchey, can you elf things up for me?” She responded by growing her ears pointy and shrinking to doorknob height for the role. Check out this casting conversation between her and Todd Haynes for last year’s excellent I’m Not There.
Haynes: “Cate, I need you to play Bob Dylan as a man, but perfectly. Like you have to become him and everything. Who am I kidding? You’re good, but no one is that good.”
Blanchett: “Count to three.”
Haynes: “What? Uh…OK. 1…2…3.”
Dylan: “I don’t call myself a poet, because I don’t like the word. I’m a trapeze artist.”
Haynes: ( :::Passing out noises::: )
Two turns as the Virgin Queen, and one as the woman who set sail on the African Queen. Aside from the aforementioned Jackson and Wright, she’s worked with Jarmusch, Soderbergh, Fincher, Spielberg, Minghella, Howard, and Hallström. That’s a murders’ row of directors! All that and she’s still managed to pop out three kids. “How,” you ask? “She’s in movies all the time,” you say. Pregnancy simply doesn’t slow her down. She shot The Life Aquatic while in a family way. But her character was pregnant as well. What if the movie requires her NOT to be pregnant and she IS? Solved: She just acts that baby bump invisible. Makes it disappear like she’s some kind of female Lance Burton. No need for baggy clothes. No need to hide her waist behind a couch. She simply reforms her body. Like Plastic Man. Like Silly Putty.
And so she is going to form the nucleus of my little repertory company. How did I manage to snag Cate for this venture? How did I get her to say, “Yes?” Well, I didn’t compliment her acting – she hates that. She carries a pet salamander named Gary around with her everywhere. I complimented him. – Justin Waddell
#3 Clive Owen
I first took notice of Clive Owen with his excellent turn in Croupier, but Clive has come a long way since he broke on to the Hollywood scene 1998. Today he’s one of the most capable leading men around. While Clive may not have the star power or fresh buzz of some other leading actors, what he does have is the ability, not only to command the screen like the best of them, as he did in the sci-fi masterpiece Children of Men, but also throttle back and share the screen with others while delivering stellar supporting performances as he did in both Closer and The Inside Man. The best of Clive Owen has yet to come.
Did I mention Clive oozes cool? I think Daniel Craig might be the best incarnation of James Bond yet, but I doubt anyone would have complained about a Clive Owen (once the presumptive successor to Pierce Brosnan) imbued incarnation of the character. And while both Sin City and Shoot Em’ Up were, by my measure, mediocre films, Owen delivered bona fide action star gold in each.
But who says Clive has to play the protagonist? He was suitably villainous in The Bourne Identity, while his versatility and occasionally brooding demeanor lend him the capacity for deeper portrayals of human darkness.
Whether or not Clive can deliver in a comedy has yet to be seen, judging by his filmography. But surrounded by the right cast I believe his dry delivery will serve him well.
There are several more accomplished actors in Hollywood, and plenty with more versatility in their credentials, but I’m pretty sure that no other actor is more fit to lead my stable at Bricks & Mortar Repertory. – JuddL
#4 George Clooney
When I first read about this little endeavor George Clooney was the first name that came to mind. It seems like an obvious choice, mostly because he’s a talented, charismatic actor; however, perhaps it seemed so right because I can easily imagine Clooney doing a project like this in real life—getting together with like-minded artists, forming a group, and cranking out some movies.
I’ve always enjoyed Clooney’s work. He’s failed to fully deliver a few times and he’s failed to really wow me a few others, but he’s always watchable, always an engaging screen presence. He’s certainly a good actor and he’s got lots of talent, but what really makes him a “movie star” is his attitude, his charm; he looks like he’s having fun up there on the screen, and that spirit is infectious, amongst cast and audience—that’s what drew me to him as a solid first round pick, especially for a project like this.
Of the five films we’re hypothetically producing Clooney’s at least dabbled in all of the genres, but even if he hadn’t I wouldn’t worry; after all, he’s always seemed willing to step out of his comfort zones and stretch himself as an artist. He’s also a versatile performer, delivering solid work in either lead or support roles. Like a good quarterback he does what’s best for his team.
There are many fine actors out there, men and women who you could easily assemble a group around, but because of his well-rounded talents, his Golden-Age-movie-star quality, and his professionalism, I wanted George Clooney to be the first actor on board with The Goat Singers. – MrMushnik
#5 Johnny Depp
I had my mind made-up for a No. 1 pick once this draft was announced. It wasn’t Johnny Depp. But as I hovered over the “Submit” button, I decided to go with my back-up. Depp is versatile. That’s a tired and general way to describe an actor, but his potential is limitless. I looked at my company like a starting rotation (prepare to see far too many baseball analogies in my draft descriptions). Depp is the ace, the reliable lead who can it all and do it in a pinch. I suppose that’s what put him over the top at the last minute. I won’t reveal the other actor I was fretting over, lest he somehow last until tomorrow. But Depp is the franchise starter (I told you I’d go to this well too often; it’s only round one, too!) — yes, there is the drawing power, but his career speaks for itself, and with the slate of films presented to us, he seemed like the ideal choice for Our Name Is Legion. - flyarz
#6 Gary Cole
Gary Cole is the actor that should have the fan base that Bruce Campbell has. An actor who has worked pretty damn consistently over the past 20 years in various genres. From drama in the form of his work on West Wing to horror as the disturbing as hell sheriff in American Gothic to comedy being in the voice of Harvey Birdman, Esq. and owning his scenes in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. And obviously one can’t go on any further without mentioning his work as the iconic boss from hell Bill “Yeahhhhh” Lumbergh from Office Space.
This is a guy who certainly can do lead roles and always brings his game to the table no matter what the role (Yes, including Mike Brady) and while he’s had a couple lead roles on tv. (Just when is Night Caller going to be on DVD?) The guy certainly has chops and has had enough time in the profession and experience to call for it. Make sure to be on the lookout for him in Pineapple Express, I know I will. – EdHocken
#7 Bruce Willis
An icon who created America’s answer to James Bond in John McClane, Bruce has worked in every genre and had success. Bruce’s range is on display in sci-Fi in Armageddon and Twelve Monkeys, comedies like Look Who’s Talking and The Whole Nine Yards, to straight dramas like Mortal Thoughts and In Country.
He’s played heroes and villains, as well as lead and support roles. He always seems to have a good time when he’s not teamed up with Cybill Sheppard.
Bruce always seems to make his co-stars look better, another plus in this draft. Usually he’s the main character, but lately he seems to have relaxed a bit into more ensemble work.
I just have to make sure his hairpiece is different in each film and we’re good to go….
Welcome to the party, Bruno. – Dr. Vivisector
#8 Matt Damon
The guy has never been even close to bad. He’s hit fewer hollow notes than anyone I can think of. He’s got impeccable taste in material and when the films let down, it’s not because of him [All the Pretty Horses was eviscerated and Stuck on You was hampered by the descent out of funny by the Farrely Brothers]. He’s an amazingly deft performer, excellent in ensembles, and a leading man who hasn’t even hit his stride yet. He appeals across all demographics and will make sure the material is up to snuff before it goes to lens. He’ll also make sure everyone around him is at the top of their game. A wonderful, unpretentious leader and anchor. – Nick Nunziata
#9 Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman gives me a talent that can carry the whole show or fit nicely into an ensemble. And he’s got a range to kill for — anybody who can say they’ve played both Lester Bangs and Truman Capote belongs on my team. He’s a unique presence, looking like someone who if you met them on the street wouldn’t be able to hold your interest for ten minutes, but who can easily stand out in even a mundane film (see Twister and Mission: Impossible III). He may not put butts in the seats, but if you see his name on a marquee, you know you’ll be seeing at least one quality performance.
Here’s what you’ll be seeing him in along with the rest of the Bar None Repertory Company:
Aqueduct of Tears: Hoffman will play Gravis Edificius, a Roman engineer tasked with building an aqueduct in recently-conquered Roman Britain, facing not only the disdain of the legion commander assigned to protect the project but also the superstitious mistrust of the locals, all against the backdrop of the rebellion of Queen Boudica.
Beer-Battered Bedmates: In this comedic update of Romeo and Juliet, Hoffman plays Horace T. Pettigrew, owner of Pettigrew Travelling Amusements, who tries to keep the peace between rival concession stand owners at the Oklahoma State Fair.
The Warehouse: Hoffman tries his hand at horror as Lester Brinn, one of five strangers who all receive instructions to pick up a package at a mysterious warehouse.
Forty-Second Fuse: Hoffman takes to the saddle as Marshall William Matherton, hot on the trail of a gang of outlaws who have brought a new wrinkle to the art of bank robbing — the recently-invented dynamite.
Beyond Pluto: Hoffman plays Virgil Davis, a resident of the year 2053 who begins hearing strange radio signals in his dreams — signals that turn out to be messages from Pioneer 10, last heard from fifty years ealier.
The Bar None Repertory Company looks forward to the distinctive talent Hoffman will bring to these projects. - Richard Dickson
#10 Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt has proven himself to be one of the most well-rounded A-list leading men in the industry. He is a household name with the ability to start a franchise or defer to the rest of the cast and take the 5th lead. Always challenging himself to tackle new and exciting roles, Pitt is the model for what a leading man should strive to be–someone who never does the same thing every time out and looks to genuinely be having fun in his role.
His versatility and ability to get butts in the seat were the two main factors in this selection. He can blend into any character, whether it be Tyler Durden, Jesse James, Jeffrey Goines, a husband desperately trying to save his wife, Achilles, Floyd in TRUE ROMANCE, an international assassin, a wealthy con artist, an Austrian mountain climber in Tibet, a detective trying to hunt down a twisted serial killer or a vampire who has lived for centuries. And like I said, he gets people to show up opening weekend. This is a business and unfortunately, that is an important cog in the process.
Too many movie stars have basically become brand names. You know you’re getting the same thing every time you see one of their movies. Well, Brad Pitt isn’t a brand name. He is not McDonald’s french fries. He is a mystery dish from your favorite chef. You never know what you will get when he pulls back the cover and it’s gonna be very enjoyable. – Will Kane
#11 Chiwetel Ejiofor
Any just and fair world would find this man getting the Denzel treatment.
He’s the embodiment of a Star. The ultimate Male Lead. A Man’s man.
His presence is so commanding that he usually ends up stealing every scene he’s in it.
And even more astounding is the fact that this guy has only been around for a few years. Before Love Actually he wasn’t in anyone’s radar.
He demonstrated a lot of warmth and charisma. But that was just a sample. A small taste of the Chiwetel dish (best served warm).
2005 was when we really took notice. He exploded on screen with two fantastic villain roles. Four Brothers and Serenity. They could have been similar portrayals; after all they were both the bad guys.
But he made those characters so distinctive. So different and yet so menacing. Victor Sweet is the ultimate pop corn gangsta. A man that makes his lieutenants eat off the floor. A neighborhood gangster. Ruling with an iron fist.
The Operative was nothing but. He was a gentleman. A man on a mission. Showed no emotion whatsoever or restrain. Plus, he was a space ninja. Beat that.
Children of Men and Inside Man gave us a better look at his dramatic skills. While never missing a beat, he was comfortable stepping away from the spotlight. Luke started off being charismatic. A revolutionary man, an idealist who ends up being a fierce man making bad decisions and sticking with them.
The final shot of him with the baby, hurt, crying, it riveting stuff.
He was again paired with Denzel in American Gangster as his little brother. This should be an omen already. He’s getting paired with the best and easily surpassing them. His role wasn’t that big though, but had so many layers and growth that it was a natural progression.
It was an ensemble cast and he blended in perfectly. And i sure hope Ridley uses him again. In a more prominent role this time. He’s got to be impressed.
Redbelt was his first real shot at a Lead. Working with Mamet seems like an obvious path for a actor of this caliber. The movie wasn’t all that we hoped it would have, and specially at the box office. But he proved that he could carry the weight of a movie. With flying colors.
What really excites me are his next roles. He’s got his next 5 gigs lined up already and they sound awesome.
He’ll start with the drama Aqueduct of Tears, where a family is torn apart by some shocking revelations on a day that was supposed to be joyful.
Robert Bishop is in his Mid 30’s. Raised in foster care after his mother died at a very early age. He wandered on the streets and led a rough life and never met his father. The army straightened him up, he found purpose, courage, honor and a renewed desire to find his long lost family. On june 20th, he will.
Two weeks later he’ll be able to further expand his comedic skills with his role in Beer Battered Bedmates. This high concept comedy is being rumored to be an homage to the infamous Bachelor Party. Plot is kept under wraps, but we only know that there is a bachelor party gone wrong. Oh so very wrong.
His role has only been described as “bachelor’s best friend”.
Just in time for Halloween Ejiofor will scare the crap out of us with a major role in The Warehouse. The movie is from first time director Will Williamson. Who promised to pay homage to his favorite slasher and exploitation movies from the 70’s. – Tati
The Warehouse – Every once in a while, a different carrier company receives a package to be delivered at this mysterious warehouse…the Carriers NEVER returns…
Ejiofor will play Sheriff Carpenter. The local town’s law officer for over 20 years. Although our sources indicate that this might not be a hero role. There’s supposed to be a twist in the movie that might turn his role around.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Then on thanksgiving comes the action packed 40 Second Fuse. A movie that originally started as an adaptation of the hit video game Rainbow Six : Las Vegas. The script was tweaked to turn it into a more conventional action vehicle packed with explosions, an incredible chase through the strip and never before seen action.
With his role as Lt. John Slater, a man that spent 15 years as the team leader of the Bomb Squad until his family got murdered in a blast. He now seeks revenge against the department by using their old tricks against them. Ejiofor will put his best menacing face while threatening the entire town.
And before the year is done, just in time for the holidays we’ll get the Sci Fi thriller Beyond Pluto. Where The first manned expedition to Mars makes an unexpected change of course.
We already know that he’ll be playing the Captain Cready. A man that got commended early on for his exceptional leadership skills and his amazing scientific mind. One of the bravest and brightest men alive that planned this whole expedition to find life in mars. What will he find Beyond Pluto?
Really, who can argue against this? - Tati
#12 Tom Hanks
I decided my main focus would be to create a truly cohesive ensemble. Tom Hanks is the kind of guy that can hold a movie entirely by himself if he has to (Cast Away), but his true strength lies in becoming the backbone of a great cast (Charlie Wilson’s War). He adds a comedic strength and a dramatic weight to whatever he does, and plays well with all. He’s a proven star with both draw and longevity.
Note: None of this applies to Long-Haired Hanks. – Renn Brown
#13 Tommy Lee Jones
From Broadway to television to the movies. He is as comfortable behind the camera as he is in front of it. He has played villains and heroes in everything from serious dramas to Scifi and comic book camp films. He slings beer and speaks some mean Spanish. He’s not afraid to look like shit, plus I just like the way he acts.
Wasn’t my first choice either. But I thought about it and decieded my first choice would be there in the later rounds. – jay f
#14 Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise remains one of the greatest actors living today. He started out mixing over-the-top action flicks like Top Gun and Days of Thunder with bubble gum fare like All the Right Moves and Risky Business. However, there were even movies in the early days that showed what Cruise would become, including great performances in Rain Man and The Color of Money, where he hold his own with one of the greatest actors to ever live in Paul Newman. Over the years he has turned in one great performance after another. He flexed his comedic muscles in Jerry Maguire and perfected his comic timing in Magnolia, while turning in one of his best performances to date. He did horror in War of the Worlds and sci-fi in Minority Report and the underrated Vanilla Sky. You want action, I give you Mission Impossible.
I plan on having Cruise headline my action, drama and science fiction flicks while serving as a supporting actor in the horror flick and as part of an ensemble in the comedy flick. There is no one I would rather have to back my repertory than Tom Cruise. He gets no creative control, but is the best on screen actor I could have hoped for. – Starving Dog
#15 Bill Murray
If you were going to have a reparatory company, which is essentially an ensemble cast that has to be malleable and heavily talented, whom would you rather have than Bill Murray? During his nearly forty-year career in show business, he has owned some of the funniest and nuanced performances we’ve seen in film. As his career has progressed from overly comedic roles like in Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and Little Shop of Horrors to quieter films like Lost in Translation and The Royal Tenenbaums, he still has the ability to create classic characters such as Herman Blume in the classic film Rushmore. He’s a no-brainer to center an acting company around as he can tackle any role, and he’s the type of actor that raises everyone’s game just by being in the film. You should have seen Breckin Meyer’s take on Jon Arbuckle before Murray signed on. It was horrible. Bill Murray is truly a Cinderella story out of nowhere. - Eric Cordo
#16 Mary-Louise Parker
There’s an awards show moment that I always think of when trying to describe my affection and appreciation for Mary-Louise Parker: It was the 2005 Golden Globes, and the nominees for Best Actress in a Comedy were the Desperate Housewives, and Parker. When Parker won, the post-game had one of the losing wives admit that Parker was better than all of them put together.
Mary-Louise Parker is the greatest American actress working today. Fact. That sentence should start with “After Meryl Streep,” but we all know that’s the truth. Although it seems like Parker’s film career has left her perpetually stuck in the “moms, wives, and bffs” category, she’s always brought her best to those roles from Longtime Companion to The Client to Saved! to most recently in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. But Parker’s shown what a force she is on television. As a hardcore West Wing fan, I’m of the mindset that Josh Lyman should have wound up with Parker’s Amy Gardner and not Donna Moss, and some of Parker’s best moments on the series came opposite Stockard Channing, where she kept up against an actress who could steamroll right over weaker performers, jab for clever jab.
It’s rumored that Sorkin wanted to add Parker to the main cast of West Wing, but she chose to play Harper Pitt in the HBO version of Angels in America, and her performance in it is one reason why that’s the greatest miniseries of all time. Harper can be a really fucking annoying role if done wrong, all “big wet eyes” and drug addled hallucinations, but Parker makes the gradual awakening of a Mormon housewife who refuses to admit she knows why her husband doesn’t love her heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. It won her her first Golden Globe, where she proceeded to thank her infant son for her boobs.
Like the rest of the Angels cast, Parker has extensive theatre experience — she’s a three-time Tony nominee, and won for Proof — but I haven’t had the chance to see her yet. However, I will say that after reading Proof, it’s hard not to picture Parker in the lead, like it was written specifically for her, and making the Paltrow-headlined movie all the more irritating.
These days, Parker is tearing it up on Weeds, a show credited with leading the Showtime renaissance. This is one I’m late to the bandwagon on, as I’ve just recently finished the first season, but the moment at the end of “Lost in the Nethers” is a perfect scene that illustrates Parker’s stunning versatility. In it, her widowed housewife Nancy Botwin, watches a sex tape made by her late husband. We see very little of the tape itself, as the camera focuses on Parker’s reaction. To me, a great measure of an actor is what they can do without words, and in the scene, Parker conveys grief, lust, amusement, and worry without a single word. It’s a beautiful scene, and is probably the reason I decided to make Parker my first draft pick.
A true professional who’s had a career for over twenty years, her career has not been without scandal (fuck you, Billy Crudup), but I’ve always admired her for never addressing the issue, choosing to let the work and the performances stand for themselves. While her role in the Second Glance Rep company’s slate will be largely supporting, she’ll be playing the lead in Aqueduct of Tears and taking on a most unusual role in Beyond Pluto. – RathBandu
#17 Jean-Claude Van Damme
Before I kick this off, an explanation.
My repertory company, THE SCABS, is a gathering of actors who are not of the traditional breed. None of these people went to Julliard; none of them did dinner theatre, waiting tables while trying to pick up the measliest gig to build their resume, faxing pages and pages of headshots off to small-time casting agents. They weren’t even discovered during their high-school production of ‘Hair’. I’ve tried to craft, with small exception, a group of people who fell into acting without any formal training or having to crawl up very far from the bottom of the barrel. These are people who became successful and even famous doing something completely unrelated, and then said ‘Hey, why not movies?’. I’m also trying to gather people that all come from different backgrounds, professionally, so sadly this won’t be a list of my 7 favorite wrestling-actors. Maybe it should have been.
Basically, I’m the counter-programming of this draft.
Jean-Claude Van Damme – representing Martial Arts
Where does Jean-Claude Van Damme fit in as a SCAB? JCVD not only had to be in my repertory company – he had to be my first draft choice. If the SCABS are a collection of non-actors who just stepped into films one day, then who better to head up my company than a guy who made it big doing twirling split-kicks? Somehow this unknown martial artist founded an ass-kicking empire with nothing more than flying 360 karate kicks, a horrible accent, and as he likes to say, “an ass that can crack walnuts”. These days, JCVD might have been demoted to the straight-to-video purgatory many of the 90’s action stars share, but anyone who’s been following his work knows he isn’t just cashing in easy jump-kick paychecks. God bless him, Van Damme is learning how to act, and life as we know it will never be the same.
What he brings to the table? My other actors will be drawn to work with this man like moths to the flame, after he delivers a sequel to his Street Fighter speech – the greatest motivational speech in cinematic history. Seriously though, JCVD is starting to awaken a legitimate actor inside himself– between Wake of Death and his work as a burnt out, run down, heroin-addicted cop in Until Death, you really get the feeling he’s trying his best to deliver strong acting performances. Well, strong for the guy who has probably played his own twin/clone in more movies than anyone in history, and stars in lots of movies with ‘Death’ in the title.
He’s played his own clone, a time-traveling cop, a resurrected corpse-solider who defects from the military.. could you be more qualified for sci fi? I expect him to repeatedly roundhouse-kick the alien who killed his best friend.
If you watch it with the right tinted glasses on, Street Fighter is actually one of the great comedies of the 90’s. Actually, most of his movies are great comedies, intentionally or not. With his upcoming work in the self-parodying JCVD, which is already garning lots of positive buzz, maybe we’ll see Van Damme having some more fun with his roles.
Action I feel speaks for itself, so lastly horror. You might think this is new territory for the man, but you’d be wrong. Damme wrong. In my horror flick, JCVD will scare your bejeezus in what is actually a prequel to Replicant. That’s right kids, it’s the return of Garrotte, the vicious serial killer known for his affinity for kicking women in the stomach and then setting them on fire. No fucking joke – Freddy and Jason have nothing on this guy. – Trejo
#18 Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi is an ensemble actor. He’s a solid choice for almost any genre you can think of. He is capable of playing characters who are sympathetic and menacing, even in the same scene. He’s one of those actors who not only puts forward a solid performance practically every time he works, he also makes those around him seem better than they are. He can be charismatic or alienating. He can make your heart break or your stomach turn. And he sure as hell can hold together a repertory company. - JonStrickland
#19 Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman. He appeared out of nowhere (Australia to be exact) and stormed the screen as Wolverine, becoming a star right out of the gate. Instead of feasting on the role and taking solely action roles, which would still come later to various results, he did something called Kate and Leopold, as sweet romantic comedy. And he was good. How good? He made a Meg Ryan movie kind of enjoyable, all due to his performance. That’s even more epic than satisfying legions of geeks as Logan.
After a few misfires, like Van Helsing or Swordfish, he backed Aranofsky’s The Fountain, and it’s a statement to his quality as an actor, managing to infuse the 3 different roles with an intensity and a passion that permeated the movie and made possible our connexion with this cinematic masterpiece (I chose my word carefully here). And did I mention he sings and dance on Broadway, to excellent critics?
Jackman is what is needed in my company, juggling charisma and skills to fuse with any style of movie needed, no matter what the part is. – Martin Savage
#20 Laura Linney
Versatility comes to mind when thinking of Laura Linney. Unlike many actors who excel in some genres and are adequite in others, Linney has mastered them all. She can be sexy, manic, lost, motherly, deceptive, akward, funny-and that’s just in The Savages.
Linney also gives off a powerful presence on screen which not many actors can pull off. Be it legit dramas like Mystic River and Breach or a paycheck movie like Nanny Diaries, she is a force that demands respect. – Anyawatchin Angel
#21 Kate Winslet
While most of my company will be more character-actors and lesser-knowns, it would be a crime to neglect one of the best actresses working today. She smashed on to the scene in Peter Jackson’s magnificent Heavenly Creatures and she’s been magic ever since. While she is better known for her dramatic work like Little Children and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, she also has great comedic chops, as seen by her appearance on Ricky Gervais’ Extras and her charming performance in The Holiday. While many have selected a strong leading male for their first round pick, they would do well to remember that there are few strong roles for women and even fewer actresses who have the acting range to be worthy of those roles. Winslet is one of the few and I proudly welcome her as the first member of The Secret Weapons. - Matt Goldberg
#22 Aaron Eckhart
Aaron Eckhart is ideal for a repertory company, because not only is he talented, he is versatile. He can play your standard leading role easily, with rugged good looks and easy charm. But that’s the tip of the iceberg, as he’s maybe even more adept at villains. Inside many of his characters there is a unusual darkness and visciousness. See In the Company of Men for the definative evil piece of shit alpha male. But more than either the truly good or the truly evil, Eckhart specializes in the gray zone in between. Anti-heroes are his stock and trade, and virtually no one does them better. The obvious, and probably career-defining role of this type is Thank You For Smoking, and he’s going to find the balance again in The Dark Knight later this summer.
He’s done comedy well in Nurse Betty. He played a very credible romantic lead in Possession and Erin Brokovich. And he was in The Core, so you know he’s game for anything.
As for the specifics of my draft strategy, Eckhart offers a lot of flexibility. He can carry any film, but he doesn’t have to. No matter where my draft goes, Eckhart is gonna be useful in all five movies, and probably different in every one. I’m still working on the big picture, but Eckhart is definately going to play a very strong villain role, and the protagonist in Aqueduct, Pluto, or both. – Arjen Rudd
#23 Viggo Mortensen
I wanted a solid, reliable rock of an actor to anchor the entire company, no matter the project. Whether it’s his intentional doing or not, Viggo tends to be that guy. For some reason, he brings the best out of everyone, and throws himself headlong into everything he intends to have his name attached to. His recent work with Cronenberg seems to have awakened a new side of the man: an actor who’s able to find the soul in a character, and instead of that soul making the character sympathetic, he finds a way to make that character creepier, and more compelling as a result.
I don’t intend to do films that paint in black and white. I wanted an actor who wanted the same. – Justin Clark
#24 Mark Ruffalo
There are a lot of great actors who follow up breakout performances with paycheck roles in bad mall movies, only to never be heard from again. Thankfully, that didn’t happen to Mark Ruffalo. Of course, Ruffalo is too talented for that sort of thing to happen. Not even when stuck between Reese Witherspoon’s ghost and psychic Jon Heder. Hell, let it be a testiment to the man’s talent that I sat through the shitty Just Like Heaven on a lazy cable filled Sunday, just to see how the poor guy would pull off this thankless task. He did an admirable job. More importantly, he survived to act again.
If you’ve seen the work that’s made Ruffalo a star, then you surely understand why. His breakout as the endearing, well meaning, yet self made failure in You Can Count On Me made him an instant one to watch. Ruffalo fully embodied that man-child we’ve all known in our lives, perfectly capturing all the little ticks that make you hate the guy and love him at the same time. On the other end of the spectrum is his role of David Toschi in Zodiac. Here he captures the obsessive, single minded determination of the man who was hell bent on catching the killer even as his own life begins to unravel. This is the one role where Ruffalo seems almost devoid of charisma and I mean that as a compliment since he oozes it most of the time.
Ruffalo has run quite the gammut and often times he’s the only good thing in a bad movie such as his turn in In The Cut where he is all smarmy menace even as he cuts it with cool, off putting charm or his conniving weasel in The Last Castle. He’s helped elevate mediocre movies into pretty damn good ones, such as 13 Going On 30, XX/XY and Reservation Road. He’s been a standout in supporting roles like Eternal Sunshine and Collateral. When he needs to anchor a film, like You Can Count On Me or We Don’t Live Here Anymore, he proves why he’s leading man material.
All in all, Mark Ruffalo has shown he’s got the range to play any type of role and he’s covered everything from throw away fluff comedies to heavy handed drama to crime thrillers. He’s got charisma to burn, a natural charm and the acting skills to hold his own against anyone.
But can he do horror, you say? He was in The Dentist. That has to count for something. – Sacrelicious Supersucker
#25 Mel Gibson
Okay, he’s nuts. And sometimes not in a good way. But when Mel’s on, he’s one of the most forceful and charismatic screen presences around – there’s something about him the eye is naturally drawn to. He’s proven his dramatic chops in roles that have required high dudgeon (“GIVE ME BACK MY SON!”) and something a little more low-key (there’s a subtlety and sorrow to his performance in THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE that I really responded to); he’s displayed comedic skills both antic and charming; he’s been a fine romantic lead (his scenes with Michelle Pfeiffer in TEQUILA SUNRISE just crackle) and a kick-ass action hero (Martin Riggs, duh).
He’s got a bit of mileage on the clock these days, but that means he’s got the gravitas to play elder statesmen and mentor types as well as the occasional older leading-man role. Put it this way: when it comes time to cast one of my guys as President of the United States or something, I got that shit covered.
Just keep him out of the bars during the shoot, and it’s all good. – tommy five tone
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