Most of the time, they’re not headlining movies nor TV shows. They’re not regulars on TMZ, Entertainment Tonight nor other Hollywood hype machines. And they’re not reality show attention whores who are famous for simply being famous…or trying to be famous. What they are is all too frequently the unheralded; the people whose solidly consistent work affects and often delights us. They’re the ones who don’t always get the credit when the credit is due. We aim to change that.
Name: Zareh Nicholas “Nick” Chinlund
Vital Stats: 48 years old, 6′ 2 1/2″ tall, from New York, NY.
Notable Roles: Donald Addie Pfaster, William “Billy Bedlam” Bedford, Toombs, Jacob McGivens.
Career Hiccup(s): Ultraviolet.
- “I’m going to run you a bath.”
- “Is your hair chemically treated?”
- “If I owned this place and Hell, I’d rent this place out…and live in Hell.”
- “Four-way split!”
- “I should have taken the money!”
- “I knew you was a punk…”
- “You backwards ass frog.”
- “We need a new fucking dog.”
Why We’re Saluting: Whether he’s portraying a creepily normal death fetishist with a thing for redheads and their fingers with his Lean Cuisines, or an out-of-control spree killer, or an asshole merc, few actors today can match Nick Chinlund’s forte for capturing the negative side of the human condition. He’s a reliable go-to actor for henchmen, malcontents, miscreants and generally not very nice people. While not quite Michael Wincottean, his distinctively raspy voice nevertheless lends just that extra little something to his characters to make them that much more memorable. And even when not in a movie for very long, such as his role as Tim, one of Denzel Washington’s dirty cop crew, he can convey a nice bit of smarmy evil with a glance. Check out Tim’s reaction when Alonzo tells Jake he’s been planning his scheme “all week, son.”
Among dues paid in TV roles on shows such as Red Shoe Diaries, NYPD Blue, and SWAT Kats, key early henchman roles for Chinlund include Hatchett, one of Stuart Wilson’s’ men in Lethal Weapon 3 and WitSec Agent Calderon, one of James Caan’s crew in Eraser. But it was his portrayal of uber-creepy Donnie Pfaster in the 1995 X-Files episode, Irresistible, that first distinguished Chinlund as someone worthy of recognition.
In a television show known for flukemen, a contortionist, liver-eating mutant, and big alien conspiracies complete with shapeshifting bounty hunters, it was Chinlund’s muted, disturbing portrayal of a fetishist and cannibal who preferred button-down shirts and candlelit baths for his victims that proved to also be one of the more noteworthy subjects in the show’s history. Said X-Files creator Chris Carter of Chinlund’s work: “I thought it was a wonderfully creepy villain. The casting of that show
was very difficult. We saw many actors, but there was a quality I was
looking for and I couldn’t put a name on that quality. I finally figured
out what it was when Nick came in and he had a kind of androgynous
quality that worked. I thought he looked like Joe College, but he could
scare the hell out of you.” (via Wikipedia)
This was soon followed by his biggest theatrical role at the time as Billy Bedlam in 1997’s Con Air. Bedlam, who was far different than the reserved Pfaster, was described best by Garland Greene: “He’s a font of misplaced rage. Name your cliché; Mother held him too
much or not enough, last picked at kickball, late night sneaky uncle,
whatever….Happiness, for that gentleman, hurts.”
A personal favorite Nick Chinlund role was as Toombs in The Chronicles of Riddick.
As written and directed by David Twohy, Toombs was a real character
with which Chunlund was able to ham it up and make use of his comedic
and smarmy talents best. Wouldn’t mind seeing Toombs on Riddick’s neck again in the
upcoming installment. He first worked with Twohy in his haunted
submarine thriller, Below
in 2002. Chinlund also starred in the 2007 film, Sinner,
which played at several film festivals and for which Chinlund won Best
Actor at the 2007 Brooklyn Arts Council International Film & Video
Nick Chinlund Factoids: He played basketball at Brown university before a shoulder injury sidelined his career. He’s allergic to cats and has asthma.
Nick Chinlund Homework (Click the images to get ‘em via CHUD):
Mr. Chinlund, we salute you.