Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for November 5, 2011

Sam Rockwell

Sam Rockwell (born November 5, 1968) is an American actor known for his leading roles in ‘Lawn Dogs’, ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’, ‘Choke’ and ‘Moon’, as well as for his scene stealing supporting roles in ‘The Green Mile’, ‘Iron Man 2’, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, ‘Frost/Nixon’, ‘Galaxy Quest’, ‘Matchstick Men’, ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’, ‘Conviction’ and ‘Cowboys & Aliens’.

After his first film role in the 1989 horror film ‘Clownhouse’ (produced by Francis Ford Coppola’s production company) which he filmed when based in San Francisco, he moved to New York and trained at the William Esper Studios. His career slowly gathered momentum in the early 1990s, when he alternated between small-screen guest spots in TV shows like ‘The Equalizer’, NYPD Blue’ and ‘Law & Order’ and small roles in films such as ‘Last Exit to Brooklyn’.

In 1999, Rockwell played prisoner William “Wild Bill” Wharton in the Stephen King prison drama ‘The Green Mile’. At the time of the film’s shooting, Rockwell explained why he was attracted to playing such unlikeable characters. He said, “I like that dark stuff. I think heroes should be flawed. There’s a bit of self-loathing in there, and a bit of anger… But after this, I’ve really got to play some lawyers, or a British aristocrat, or they’ll put a label on me.”

After appearances as a bumbling actor in 1999’s science fiction satire ‘Galaxy Quest’, in the 1999 Shakespeare adaptation ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as Flute, and as gregarious villain Eric Knox in ‘Charlie’s Angels’ (2000), Rockwell won the biggest leading role of his career as The Gong Show host Chuck Barris in George Clooney’s 2002 directorial debut, ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’. Rockwell’s performance was well received, and the film received generally positive reviews.

He received somewhat more mixed reviews as Zaphod Beeblebrox in the 2005 film version of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. He then had a notable supporting role as Charley Ford, brother of Casey Affleck’s character Robert Ford, in the well-received 2007 drama ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’, in which Brad Pitt played the lead role of Jesse James.

According to an interview on The Howard Stern Show, director Jon Favreau considered casting him as the titular character in ‘Iron Man’ as the studio was initially hesitant to work with Robert Downey Jr., who had been considered for his role in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Rockwell appeared in the Iron Man sequel, released in 2010, as Tony Starks rival weapons’ developer, Justin Hammer. He is said to have accepted the role without reading the script. He had never heard of the character before he was contacted about the part, and was unaware that Hammer is an old man in the comic books.

Rockwell played Victor Mancini in the film ‘Choke’, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk. Critic Roger Ebert said of his performance that he “seems to have become the latter-day version of Christopher Walken – not all the time, but when you need him, he’s your go-to guy for weirdness.”

In 2009, he starred in the critically acclaimed science fiction film ‘Moon’, directed by Duncan Jones, for which his performance was widely praised. On May 3, 2010, it was announced that Rockwell would team up again with Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau, for Favreau’s adaptation of the graphic novel ‘Cowboys and Aliens’. He played a bar owner named Doc who joins in the pursuit of the aliens.

Rockwell will appear in Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths alongside Mickey Rourke, Christopher Walken and Colin Farrell.

Famke Janssen

Famke Beumer Janssen (born 5 November 1964) is a Dutch actress and former fashion model. She is best known for playing the villainous Bond girl Xenia Onatopp in ‘GoldenEye’ (1995) and Jean Grey/Phoenix in the X-Men film series (2000-06).

Janssen was born in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. Her first name, Famke, means “little girl” in West Frisian, the native language of the Dutch province Friesland. In 1984, Janssen moved to the United States to begin her professional career as a fashion model.

After retiring from modelling in the early 1990s, Janssen had guest roles on several television series, including a starring role in the 1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode ‘The Perfect Mate’, as empathic metamorph Kamala, opposite Patrick Stewart, with whom she later starred in the X-Men film series.

In 1995, Janssen appeared in Pierce Brosnan’s first James Bond film, ‘GoldenEye’, as Femme Fatale Xenia Onatopp. In an attempt to fight against typecasting after her Bond girl performance, Janssen began seeking out more intriguing support roles, appearing in John Irvin’s ‘City of Industry’,  Woody Allen’s ‘Celebrity’, Robert Altman’s ‘The Gingerbread Man’, and Ted Demme’s ‘Monument Avenue’.  In the late 1990s, she also appeared in ‘The Faculty’, ‘Rounders’, ‘Deep Rising’ and ‘House on Haunted Hill’.

In 2000, Janssen played superheroine Dr. Jean Grey/Phoenix in ‘X-Men’. She reprised the role in bothe sequels, ‘X2’ (2003) and ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ (2006), for which she won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. In addition, Janssen had a prominent role in the second season of the popular TV series ‘Nip/Tuck’, as the seductive and manipulative life coach Ava Moore. She reprised her role in the final two episodes of the series.