Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Giving Good Face Part 2, a.k.a. 20 Actors I Wanna Work With One Day

I love actors. Maybe that's one of the reasons I write scripts instead of novels or essays or haiku (okay, I do write haiku, but not for a living). I love it when a good actor tears the shit outta something I wrote, when they go the distance, when they bring it alive (I was trying to avoid saying the phrase "bring it alive" because, uh, such a cliche, but whatever: I said it).

I wanted to do another "giving good face" post (which was originally inspired by Sheila's "Faces I Love" post HERE), but I decided this one should have a theme, so in the spirit of "saying shit out loud," the pictures below are all awesome fucking actors who I admire and who I'd like to work with one day. Some of these actors are famous, some of them are on their way to famous, and some of them are character actors who probably won't ever be famous but who have worked forever and you might not know their names but you probably know their faces. All of them pretty much rock.

The order of actors I want to work with listed below is mostly random, but I wanted to start with Willam Belli because he's the only person on my list who has a blog that I check every day (or who has a blog at all, I suppose, but Willam's blog is definitely on my "check every day" list) and so I emailed Willam and asked for a photo and he obliged (thank you Willam).

Willam Belli

Willam is probably best known for his performance as Cherry Peck on Nip/Tuck and though I only just recently added Nip/Tuck to my Tivo list, I've been catching up on older episodes and the most annoying thing about the current season of Nip/Tuck is that Cherry Peck isn't a series regular (and I'm also annoyed that they've only barely addressed the shocking end of last season when Cherry's friend Matt was forced at gunpoint to do an impromptu Hedwig job on Cherry, i.e. cut her penis off--I mean, they basically addressed it in a quick expositiony scene where Matt explained that he took Cherry to a hospital, but COME ON, people, let's see some aftermath) because Cherry Peck is clearly (and by far) the most interesting character on the show (and that's not me dissing the show--at first I was put off by Christian, but now I'm totally into the show--I'm intrigued by most of the characters, but Cherry Peck's in a fuckin' league of her own) and I would love, love, love to work with Willam one of these days. He's a rockstar. So freakin' good.

Next up:

Cynthia Ettinger

I know Cynthia from my days at The Actors' Gang--we were in a production of Mephisto together (which we workshopped for, like, seventeen-thousand months) (so technically I already have worked with her, but I look forward to the day when she acts in something I've written) and she was my favorite person to hang out with in the wings in between scenes (not that I like picking favorites, but Cynthia and I totally bonded in the wings in between scenes)--and I've always been a fan of her work. She fucking blew me away in Tracy Young's Dreamplay, and I thought she was a brilliant Arcadina in The Seagull, which ran in repertory with Mephisto and which I probably saw a dozen times, mostly for Cynthia's performance. My favorite performance of Cynthia's, however, has to be as Rita Sue on HBO's Carnivale. I probably started watching Carnivale because I knew that Cynthia was going to be on it, but I quickly became a Carnivale fanatic and I'm still sad that it wasn't renewed for a third season (seriously, HBO, how could you leave us, the fans, hanging like that?!?!? Is Jonesy dead? Is Sophie evil?!? Ahh!! I NEED TO KNOW!?!) and Rita Sue was such a great character and Cynthia's acting--holy crap, so good. The whole storyline she had with Jonesy killed me--KILLED ME.

Next, we have:

Grace Zabriskie

Grace Zabriskie has been in a million things. She's one of those actors who's been in everything (from Seinfeld to Drugstore Cowboy) at some point or another. But her definitive performance, in my book, is as Sarah Palmer on Twin Peaks. That scene in the pilot episode where she's on the phone with Leland and the cops come over to tell her that Laura's dead and they don't even have to say it, she just looks at them and she knows? If I think about that scene too much, I might start crying right now. Grace Zabriskie is a beautiful freak.

Next up:

Beth Grant

(Okay, this is not about Beth Grant, I just want to say that I had totally finished writing this post and then my computer froze and I so should not have been writing it on internet explorer, I so should have been writing it in a wordperfect file, because my computer froze and then blogger reverted to the last saved version of this post that I had which means that I lost everything I had written about all of the actors beginning with Beth Grant and now I'm really annoyed and hungry for lunch and SO FREAKING ANNOYED.)

(But Beth Grant should not be punished for my stupidity.) Beth Grant is another one of those actors who's pretty much been in everything, but the first time I really took notice of her was when I saw her in Donnie Darko (she played a psycho stage-mom to the hilt) and I think she should be in every movie ever from now on. Seriously. She's so good (and I feel like I wrote a really great description of why I like her so much in the lost post, but now I'm frustrated and I'm totally taking it out on Beth. I'm sorry Beth!)

Oh, I just remembered something else I mentioned about Beth Grant before I lost this blog post, she just happens to have been in one of (in my opinion) the most memorable Six Feet Under death scenes (and there were a lot of memorable death scenes on that show). She was the religious zealot who saw a bunch of helium-filled sex dolls rising up to the heavens and she thought it was the rapture. You remember the scene. (Right?)

Next we have, one of my favorites (and I know that ALL of these people are my favorites, that's why this post even exists in the first place, but I have a special place in my heart for):

Amy Aquino

I love the movie Working Girl. Hollywood just doesn't make great romantic comedies anymore like they did in the 80’s. (Hello: Tootsie, When Harry Met Sally, Broadcast News—brilliant, brilliant romantic comedies that don’t feel dated at all.) Amy Aquino is literally in about three minutes of Working Girl—according to IMDB, it was her second film credit—but it’s my favorite scene in the movie (it’s also the last scene). Melanie Griffith has just arrived at her new job, she walks into her office and finds Amy Aquino sitting at her desk on the phone. Melanie assumes that it’s Amy’s office and that she’s supposed to be Amy’s secretary, but then she finds out that Amy Aquino is actually her secretary, and then she gives Amy Aquino this whole schpeil about how Amy doesn’t have to get coffee for Melanie unless she’s already getting coffee for herself and about how she’s not going to treat Amy like shit like most bosses treat their secretaries and the look on Amy Aquino’s face—she’s so surprised to be treated as an equal by her boss and there’s just so much going on inside her and I know it’s only, like, three minutes that she’s onscreen, but I totally know her character in those few moments. She’s just a great actress. Oh, and she also played Neil Schweiber’s mom on Freaks and Geeks which has to be, like, the coolest resume credit in the history of resume credits.

Next we bow down to:

Lili Taylor

I don’t even know where to begin with Lili Taylor. She’s Lili Fucking Taylor. Seriously. You’ve probably known and loved her ever since her Say Anything and Mystic Pizza days, but the two movies that cemented her in my head as the numero uno actress (my favorite of her many great performances) have gotta be Dogfight and Households Saints and if you haven't seen them then you must do yourself a favor and go to your local Blockbuster or wherever you go and rent both movies right the fuck now. Dogfight and Household Saints were both directed by Nancy Savoca and here’s an actual equation that I just cribbed from a geometry textbook that I found on my bookshelf: Lili Taylor + Nancy Savoca = genius. I would KILL to work with Lili Taylor someday. (Okay, I wouldn’t really kill, but I’ll go so far as to say that working with Lili Taylor would be cooler than working with God.)

And now, time for some beefcake:

Paul Rudd

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Paul Rudd is beefcake?” And I’m here to tell you, YES muthafuckuhs, Paul Rudd is the dreamiest man working in Hollywood. The people at People Magazine were smoking some serious crack to give Mathew McConahoweveryouspellit the Sexiest Man Alive designation and to ignore Paul Rudd, but I’m going to stop drooling now (his eyes, though!) and declare Paul Rudd the Funniest Living Actor. (If you don’t believe me, go rent Wet Hot American Summer right now.) (The distinction of “Funniest Dead Actor” has to go to Gilda Radnor.) (Because I’m sure she’s still really funny up in Heaven, or wherever it is we go when we’re not Here.) The thing about Paul Rudd is that even when he’s being completely ridiculous, I believe that he’s a real person. (Something I can’t say about, say, Ben Stiller.)

(I met him once—Paul Rudd, not Ben Stiller—at this totally random party, and I was a complete idiot.) (Not that I did anything to embarrass myself, I just could barely talk to him because I was in total awe.) (Which is rare for me—I don’t usually get weird around famous people—but Paul Rudd is beefcake.) (I can't even remember our conversation, all I remember is "blah blah blah I'm talking to Paul Rudd blah blah blah.")

(Oh, and after you’ve rented West Hot American Summer and watched it, ask me to do my impersonation of “Paul Rudd picking up a plate.” It’s a really good impersonation, I swear.) (Actually, I would feel more comfortable calling it an homage to Paul Rudd rather than an impersonation of him.) (Because I'm really bad at impersonations.)

Okay, next up:

Kate Walsh

When Kate Walsh joined the cast of Grey’s Anatomy, her character was a Grade A Bitch, but throughout the course of the first season, she became my favorite character (on a show that has a lot of characters I love). I truly, deeply, feel for, feel for, feel for Addison. She’s complicated, she can be ugly and mean, she’s got pain, she’s funny, she’s smart—she's totally human--and I want her to be happy. I literally sit in front of the TV and ache for her. Kate Walsh is just great in the role and I’ve seen her on several talk shows and she’s so un-Addison in real life (she is HILARIOUS in real life) and I think she would be so much fun to work with.

(Dammit, I feel like I said so much more about her in the previous incarnation of this post, but now I’m hungry and I’m starting to get a headache. Must. Eat. Lunch.) (I will come back to this later.)


Okay, I had lunch (potato soup at Olive Garden, yum), next up:

Marianne Jean-Babtiste

I met Marianne Jean-Babtiste at the Golden Globes when she was there for Secrets and Lies, um, a hundred years ago or so. This was back when I used to crash the Golden Globes with my grandparents. I remember she was an incredibly nice woman and we talked about Secrets and Lies and about how much we both loved Mike Leigh and how lucky she felt to have gotten the chance to work with him. She’s on Without a Trace now, which I don’t watch--I pretty much only know her from Secrets and Lies--but she is SO GOOD in that movie and I really want to work with her someday.

Speaking of SO GOOD:

Laurie Metcalf

I rarely go to bed before 2 a.m. and they run reruns of Roseanne on one of the cable channels in the middle of the night, I think it might be TBS, and so I’ve been watching Roseanne most night before going to sleep and she was so damned good on that show. But she can do pretty much anything. Have you seen the episode of Grey’s Anatomy that she did last year? Her monologue at the end of the episode turns me into mush.

Okay, speaking of Grey’s Anatomy (or speaking of members of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, whichever way you wanna look at it):

Jeff Perry

Jeff Perry plays Meredith’s father, but he also played Mr. Katimski the drama teacher on My So-Called Life and for that I will forever be a fan. He’s really good at playing softly tortured, if that makes any sense.

And now:

Jessica Harper

I don’t think Jessica Harper has acted since the 70’s (maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t feel like googling right now) (even though it’s Google’s birthday today) (happy birthday Google), but she gives such a heartbreaking performance in Phantom of the Paradise (one of Brian DePalma’s earlier films) (it’s mostly a cult film) (the gorgeous music in the movie was written by Paul Williams, who’s written pretty much every Muppet song you’ve ever heard) and I would love, love, love to know what’s become of her, and to give her a big juicy role to sing (I meant to type “sink” but what an appropriate type, ‘cuz she’s a great singer) her teeth into.

Okay, then there’s:

Fiona Shaw
You know Fiona Shaw. Even if you don’t know her name, I’m sure you know her face. How awesome is her face, by the way? I love this picture of her.

Another picture I love is this one of:

Jeff Bridges

Two of my favorite movies ever (EVER) are Fearless and The Fisher King. If (no, not if—WHEN) I get the chance to work with him (someday) I am totally gonna shit my pants. (Okay, Jeff, I can’t imagine you’re the self-googling type, but if you ever did, by chance, self-google and read this, well, I wouldn’t REALLY shit my pants.) (I’m just be hella happy.)

Now for some shameless beefcake:

Jake Gyllenhaal

I mean, this is shameless beefcake because, yes, I would LOVE to work with Jake Gyllenhaal someday (and when I say “work,” I DO mean have him act in something I’ve written), but all of the other pictures I’ve posted have been more in the realm of face shots, and this one is, yes, okay, it’s just a damn sexy photo (and also Gina told me to post this photo of him, so I had to oblige).

I don’t have anything else to say about Jake Gyllenhaal that hasn’t already been said about Jake Gyllenhaal. I think he’s nifty. I think he’s keen.

Another keen mofo:

Michael J. Fox

I saw a taping of Family Ties when I was ten or twelve or somewhere around there. It was towards the end of their run. This was during the Andy years. I remember that the whole taping went really smoothly—they did everything in one take, perfectly, hilariously, poignantly. There was only one moment that was flubbed and had to be reshot. Andy (Brian Bonsall) was sitting on the kitchen counter talking to Alex and then Elise came into the kitchen and Alex was like “tell mom what you learned today” and then Andy was supposed to say “Alex is keen.” And he flubbed the line. The only reason I remember this so vividly is that I didn’t know what the word “keen” meant and I remember sitting there in the audience thinking “huh?” and then thinking “oh my god, Michael J. Fox is thirty feet away from me, I can die and go to heaven,” and then I thought “wait, what’s keen mean?” and then I thought, “Michael J. Fox totally just looked in my direction,” and then I thought, “life is all gonna be downhill from this moment forward,” and then I thought “what’s keen mean?”

I remember the moment when I heard he had Parkinson’s. I was reading magazines at a magazine rack in a little snack shop next to this gas station in Cambden Town in London. It was one of the cover stories on one of their tabloids.

Michael J. Fox was my first crush.

The movie Back to the Future changed my life. I left that movie and I said “I want to drive a flying Delorian.” But since flying Delorians didn’t really exist, I decided to become an actor, which led to me becoming a writer. Pretty much every big decision I’ve made in my life can be traced back to that first viewing of Back to the Future. After I saw Back to the Future, I took my first acting class, I stopped being such an introvert, I made some friends, I decided to go to Occidental because I fell in love with their theater, I went to London for a semester to study acting, etc., etc., etc., ALL OF IT can be traced back to Back to the Future, and therefore to Michael J. Fox. If I’d never seen that movie, I would probably be unemployed and living with my parents right now (wait a second, I AM unemployed and living with my parents right now) (but still, you know, if I’d never seen the movie, I’d probably be unemployed and living with my parents and aimless) (I am anything BUT aimless).

If I ever had the chance to work with Michael J. Fox my head would explode, I would be so happy.

Okay, moving on:

Sarah Hagan

There are so many reasons to love Freaks and Geeks, but one of the reasons to love Freaks and Geeks is Sarah Hagan's performance as Millie, the ultimate math geek. (The scene in "Beers and Weirs" [yes, I'm that much of a nut, I actually know every Freaks and Geeks episode title] where she's playing the piano and singing with Nick Andopolis [Jason Segel] is a brilliant seriously comic scene.) (And when I say "seriously comic" I say that because it's played so straight-faced, but it's so funny.) (I guess that's what makes it so funny.) Sarah Hagan is so good that even though I was obsessed with Freaks and Geeks and had seen every episode twice, I watched her on an entire season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer without realizing that she was the same actress who played Millie. Seriously, and I'm an obsessive fan of both shows. But I had no idea she was the same person.

Okay, I'm not going to say anything about the next two actors (because I'm running out of steam) except to say that I have two different scripts that I think have great parts for them and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Lucy Liu, if either of you ever self-google (or if your assistants self-google yourself for you) and find this blog post, let's talk.

And finally:

Michael Pena

I have to admit I didn't love Crash. I loved some of Crash, but some of it was kind of doohicky in my opinion. But the good parts were pretty great, and the best thing about that movie is Michael Pena's performance. He was so, so, SO good. I bow down to him. He made that movie for me.


Okay, this blog entry was a lot longer than I intended it to be when I started writing it, but whatever. I have an obsessive personality. And all of the actors above are on "my list." I'm looking forward to the day when I can say that some of these fine folks have performed my stuff. Just puttin' it out there in the universe. Gotta have goals, baby.


Anonymous said...

JG, wow that's a shocker!

drc said...

I love Beth Grant. She was awesome in Too Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar! And I was so happy to see her in Jericho (which I am now addicted to!).

Oh, and...Potato Soup at Olive Garden? My favorite!!!

Bonnie said...

I just skimmed... I need a nap and that's a long damn entry.

But you'll enjoy knowing that three of these actors are people I made offers to on projects I cast this summer. Hee! LOVE it!

You have great taste.

Oh... and here's a present for you.

Seriously. Go look. I wrapped it myself.


Oh, and eefsyfae (I'm too tired to spell it out).

Anonymous said...

I loved the movie dogfight. I've seen it many times. And I love these entries and how much you appreciate these folks for their craft. And I loved Grey's Anatomy and that there are four different actors who have been on the show on your list. LOVE! And it's on TONIGHT! Makes me so so happy.
Lindsay Lindsay

Erik said...

Who the hell is that snarky anonymous, eh?

JG was a very surprising person to have on this list.

Erik said...

drc, isn't Beth Grant great? She does a lot of theater in LA and I saw her in a play a few years ago, she's so so good. I love that she's in Jericho (and I'm happy to see Pamela Reed again) but I'm not addicted to the show yet. I'm giving it time though.

And I could LIVE ON the potato soup at the Olive Garden.

Erik said...

BonBon, you're skimming me now? @?!?


I am very happy to know that you made offers to three of these actors. We definitely have rockstar taste.

(Oh, and...uh...THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT. I don't know if other people can copy and paste the link because it looks funny on this page, but I was able to copy and paste it from the comment email I get and here it is in case people couldn't clink it above.)

Wow. Just wow. Derrrrrrickkkkk.


kate hudson ate the chinese yummies.

Erik said...

Thank you Lindsay Lindsay!

Actually, I think that FIVE of the actors on this list have been on Grey's...Cynthia Ettinger played a pregnant woman who's best friend was also pregnant in the train episode, Sarah Hagan played an Orthadox Jew who needed a heart valve replaced and they were going to give her a transplant from a pig and she refused, Laurie Metcalf (like I mentioned) played the mom who made me cry, and then of course Kate Walsh is Addison and Jeff Perry is Meredith's dad.

I LOVE ME SOME GREY'S. I am so excited for tonight's episode. It aired last week in Canada on accident so there are lots of spoilers going around, but I have managed to remain spoiler free.

I'm going to the Scissor Sisters concert tonight, so I'm not going to be able to watch the episode of Grey's live, but you'd better damn believe that I'm going to be watching it as soon as I get home from the concert.


christy said...

I couldn't agree with you more about Paul Rudd.

aimie said...

i love how you love actors.

because, these days i find myself hating a lot of them.

but, this gave me an actor-glow.

and, if i were making a list i would put you on it. and, yes, i know that we've worked together but if you can claim cynthia, i can claim you!

aaaand, you must know that kate is another AG member, right? she was cast in "self defense" with me and cynthia and she had to drop out because she got "kicking and screaming" with will farrell (on my list of people i would kill to work with). but, the first few rehearsals with her as the haggard stripper/feminist professor were awesome. i was a bit intimidated. in a good way.

willam said...

i auditioned for the pilot of Greys....yea. i so didn't nail that one.
Sit in an audition room with Beth for an hour waiting on casting directors to get their asses back from lunch during the Veronica Mars callbacks and you'll truly get to know her, from her foul mouth to her saying "just go rent Donny Damn Darko...I don't have all day."

willam said...

ps. write a script. i'll be in it. but only cause you're hot. i don't care if it's good or not(although i'd love it if it were).

willam said...

p.p.s.I don't do snuff or scat scenes.

Erik said...

Christy, aside from the one time when I met him at that party, there was this one time when I was standing on Cahuenga Blvd waiting for take-out from Chan Dara and I looked up at the car idling on the street in front of me waiting for the light to turn green and Paul Rudd was driving the car and IT MADE MY WEEK.

Erik said...

aims, yes, i remember you telling me that Kate's an AG member and I'm so bummed that I wasn't around AG when she was doing Orlando. (She was in Orlando, right?)

But I didn't know that she was ever in Self Defense! How cool that you rehearsed with her!!! Did you pole dance together? (Tell me you did, 'cuz how cool?)

Erik said...

willam, one day i really hope to hear beth grant say something along the lines of "just go rent donnie damn darko i don't have all day."

in fact, i think they should change the name of the movie to Donnie Damn Darko.

Erik said...

willam, i've written lots of damned scripts, it's just time to sell another one.

i'll write a part with you in mind in the next one i write. (and don't worry your pretty l'il ass, it'll be good.)