The 'That Guy' Encyclopedia, Letters A Through K
Throughout cinematic history, there has been a plethora of actors that, for some reason or another, never become a household name. So here is a cheat sheet of sorts, a brief encyclopedia on "That Guy."
After reading this you can impress your friends! Win the movie game (the one where you name an actor, someone names a film he or she was in, next player names another actor in that film, etc.)! Fill your brain with information that would otherwise be wasted with mathematics, history, and foreign languages!
By the way, "that guy" described in the opening paragraph is Chris Cooper.
The Douchebag in Ghostbusters, Real Genius, and Die Hard 2, AKA William Atherton
William Atherton has shown a skill for playing a clueless, ill-informed man who gets his comeuppance before the end of the films he stars in.
The Middle-Eastern Comedic Relief in Stargate, The Mummy, and Mr. Deeds, AKA Erick Avari
As long as there is a need for an older ethnic man with impeccable comedic timing, Erick Avari has a job.
The Old Russian landlord in the Spider-Man Series, AKA Elya Baskin
With the looks of a grizzled Russian, the Latvian native Baskin has also played one in Air Force One and Thirteen Days.
Irish terrorist or the First Good Guy to Die, AKA Sean Bean
Although Sean is slowly becoming more of a household name and on the verge of "graduating" from this list, he continues to either be that unstoppable adversary (Goldeneye, Patriot Games) or the first friend to tug at your heart strings when he expires (Equilibrium, Fellowship of the Ring). He was one of the few to actually survive Troy (in the movie and career-wise). Many refer to him as "Boromir."
Deliverance Victim, Villainous Man in a Position of Power, AKA Ronny Cox
Ronny Cox has been in one of the best movies with stop-motion violence (RoboCop) and one of the only films to feature a chick with three boobs (Total Recall). Thus, he has his visage ingrained in the mind of men in their 20s and 30s today.
Lumbergh in Office Space, AKA Gary Cole
Sure, Gary Cole has been in many other movies, but he will never be remembered more for anything else than sipping a coffee and holding a disembodied leg while shirtless.
Hard-Ass Military guy, AKA Chris Cooper
Although Breach has brought him some recognition, Chris Cooper is still remembered for being a military man (Patriot, Bourne Identity, Jarhead, Syriana, The Kingdom) or retired from it (American Beauty).
Nefarious Old Man and Voice Actor For Despots, AKA Brian Cox
Even though he has played plenty of lovable dads, Brian Cox is usually remembered for being Hannibal in Manhunter, one of the evil old guys in Bourne Identity, and the evil old guy from X2. His voice is very popular thanks to dark, gritty roles in video games like Killzone and Manhunt.
"My Boy Blue," AKA Patrick Cranshaw
Despite acting for over 40 years, Cranshaw will posthumously be known as his Old School character Blue, especially during his cameos in movies like Best in Show and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.
The Military Man with an Awesome Voice, AKA Keith David
In the few times Keith David has actually shown up on film, he has usually been some sort of militant character. His voice has become very recognizable thanks to work in popular video games (Halo, Saint's Row, Mass Effect), TV series (several Ken Burns documentaries), and those Navy commercials. He's also known in some circles as the guy that fought Roddy Piper in They Live.
Caution: Clip contains adult language.
Smooth Guy With a Funny Name, AKA Chiwetel Ejiofor
Ejiofor has a knack for choosing great roles and living up to them with his performance. Despite being in great modern films like Love Actually, Serenity, Inside Man, Children of Men, and American Gangster, his difficult-to-pronounce name keeps him a "that guy." his latest flick is Redbelt.
The Assistant Coach from Miracle, AKA Noah Emmerich
Noah Emmerich has a distinct ability to fall into his character and become him no matter how small the role. His natural portrayals have ultimately landed him in the spot of being forgettable. He has starred in Beautiful Girls, Cop Land, The Truman Show, and Windtalkers, among others.
Mustachioed Mobster and Cop, AKA Dennis Farina
Currently best known as one of the latest to leave Law & Order, Farina's career is full of captains, lieutenants, and names beginning with "O'." He is now the host of the new "Unsolved Mysteries" series that debuts in October on Spike.
Cocaine-Using Executive from Robocop, AKA Miguel Ferrer
Ferrer is best-known for his bloody demise as a hooker-hiring, cocaine-snorting executive that began the RoboCop project in the movie of the same name. He has since appeared, quizzically, in Hot Shots! Part Deux and as the guy that cuts the blank check in kid movie Blank Check. He has also been in short-lived TV series Twin Peaks and Bionic Woman.
The Guy Chasing the Main Characters in Prison Break, AKA William Fichtner
Fichtner has appeared in arguably some of the best action movies recently (Heat, Black Hawk Down, Equilibrium) along with some of the worst (Armageddon, Pearl Harbor). Other than his long run in Prison Break, he also has an uncredited appearance as the bank manager in the pulse-pounding, 6-minute bank robbing trailer for The Dark Knight.
The Man With the Glasglow Smile, Tommy Flanagan
Flanagan has a skill for playing a man that has gone through the unimaginable – because he actually has. A mugger left him for dead after cutting his face up similar to a Glasglow smile: knife cuts from the sides of the lips upwards towards the ears. Since then he has taken up acting and has seen no reason to hide his past horrors with makeup or prosthetics, making him the perfect choice for playing in period movies and gangster films. He has starred in FaceOff, Gladiator, Alien vs. Predator, Sin City, and Smokin' Aces.
"Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns," AKA Paul Gleason
Ever since playing Richard Vernon in The Breakfast Club, Gleason’s career pretty much consisted of him reprising that character, although he got one reprieve when he played a villainous character in Trading Places.
Pudgy Irishman and the Dude with the Googly Eye in Harry Potter, AKA Brendan Gleeson
Brendan has been a Hollywood mainstay as a powerful warrior in period pieces thanks to his barrel-chested physique – he has starred in Braveheart, Gangs of New York, Troy, and Kingdom of Heaven. His largest cash in, though, must be for playing Mad-Eye Moody in the Harry Potter series.
The Hebrew Hammer, AKA Adam Goldberg
When he isn’t in "Jewsploitation" films, Goldberg has a steady career of playing well... a Jew. His best work is playing Mellish in Saving Private Ryan. He has also appeared in Friends, Dazed and Confused, Déjà Vu, Entourage, and Medium.
General European, AKA Ciarán Hinds
Despite being born in Northern Ireland, Hinds has successfully played a Russian (The Sum of All Fears), a Jew (Munich), Greek (The Nativity Story), and Julius Ceasar (Rome).
Villain and Tough Guy Hero, AKA Michael Ironside
He exploded heads in Scanners, lost his arms in Total Recall, and was the teacher-turned roughneck in Starship Troopers. Ironside also voices the main character Sam Fischer in the critically-acclaimed video games series Splinter Cell.
See you at the party, Richter!
"Wake up! Time to die!" AKA Brion James
James indeed spouted the iconic lines from Blade Runner, despite only appearing in the movie for a few scenes. He also appeared in Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs., and The Fifth Element.
Evil Scientist or Evil Billionaire, AKA Udo Kier
Udo looks like the stereotypical bond villain. Although he has been in dozens and dozens of movies, he is mostly known for his roles in Blade and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He was also featured in Andy Warhol's Blood for Dracula and Flesh for Frankenstein.
There are a few notable departures from the realm of "That Guy." A graduation, if you will, to the heights of people actually remembering your name - for better or for worse. Thus, I'm going to end each digest of "That Guy" entries with one that has notably left the list. Our first:
Graduate From the "That Guy List": John C. Reilly
John C. Reilly used to be "that guy from Days of Thunder, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, The Thin Red Line, Magnolia, The Perfect Storm, Chicago, Gangs of New York, Anger Management, and The Aviator." Indeed, John C. Reilly would be the best actor on this list of "that guys," had he not just broken into the spotlight. Talladega Nights, where he was cast as Will Ferrell's right-hand man, began his climb to fame and brought attention to his skills in ad-lib comedy. His popularity exploded in comedy circles as he appeared on Ferrell's and Adam McKay's site Funny or Die in various skits. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story brought his name in the minds of national viewers as a headlining star, and future nods in Step Brothers and Cirque du Freak will keep him there.
- That Guy, Letters L Through Z Now Available!
Story by Casey Johnson
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