Tonight we see the return of Raylan Givens and F/X’s awesome show Justified. I’m super excited for this because I love this show. Actually, it’s shows like this that make me sad that F/X only runs about 13 episodes per season. It feels like it’s been gone for ages. Anyway, it’s back tonight and with it brings Timothy Olyphant and what I call his smoldering anger. This got me thinking about other actors who have this quality. That innate ability to make the viewing feel the rage that is boiling just beneath the surface. I guess you could call it a quiet anger.Now I know that an actor’s job is to make their character’s personality traits seem natural, as if they’re their own. But sometimes it comes across so well, you wonder if that’s actually the actor, and not the character. In this case I really hope it’s all character because who wants to work with anyone who has that pissed off look in their eye all the time. I know I don’t.
I remember seeing Timothy Olyphant in Gone in 60 Seconds and thinking, who is this guy. That role irked me and to this day still does. As he started taking other roles I started to like him more and more. The first movie I noticed this quality was Hitman. Ok, I know, everyone thought the movie sucked, but I was entertained…..and I like guys with shaved heads. So….bonus! Then he went and had to play the asshole bad guy in Live Free or Die Hard. Loved it. Then along comes Justified. THEN I finally discovered Deadwood. In all of these roles he may smile or laugh, but he’s always got that look in his eyes. That storm that’s brewing just beneath the surface that says at any moment, all hell is going to break loose. Scary but extremely hot at the same time. Well played sir, well-played indeed.
Another actor that has this quality is Kiefer Sutherland. I was a devoted fan of 24 and watched all eight seasons. I know a lot of people got tired of the same ole stuff each season, but I never did. Jack Bauer was always at his best when he was running out of time or beating the ever-living shit out of some bad guy. Sure he yelled and beat people, but it’s when he went quiet that things were really going to go south for whoever was in his cross-hairs. Not a position I would want to be in. Especially when he’s wielding a Dremel or some other various household appliance used to torture someone. There was one season that had so much human torture, I think it was the second season, Roomie spent most of it hiding her face. I on the other hand watched with a look of horror. But damn, he was awesome.
I know I’m cheating a little bit with this one, because it’s more of a smoldering menace than anger but Vin Diesel in Pitch Black was all raw menace. He just sat there in certain scenes and did even have to do anything and you still felt it. I’m biased though because I loved that movie and I love that character. Yeah, he’s a murderer and convict, but with him somehow you don’t mind. Weird. It could be his physicality or those crazy contacts he wore in that movie but he came across as someone I wouldn’t want to piss off. Although, he did look good, rage and all. I attribute this to the shaved head.
Next we have someone who is more fatherly but still a force to be reckoned with. No Dad….I’m not talking about you, although you can tend to have this quality as well Edward James Olmos has that face that can show pain, compassion, love, joy and yes, anger. I’m speaking mainly of his role as Admiral Adama. Yes, I’m back to Battlestar Galactica. Adama was the father figure of the ship and the leader of the fleet. But when he was mad, boy you saw it. His calm voice but searing eyes got the point across with no question. If you’ve seen the show you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then shame on you. You need to watch it right now. He’s the guy you run from when he’s mad, but he’s also the guy you want a hug from when you’re having a bad go. Pretty much every character had to suffer his wrath at some point and I felt bad for every single one of them because if it were me, I’d be reduced to a shoulder sobbing puddle of tears.
I’ve mainly focused on the guys who have this quality but that’s mainly because I couldn’t come up with any chicks who have this quality. Except one. Katee Sackoff. If you don’t know the name, she played Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace on Battlestar Galactica. Starbuck was all piss and vinegar and she was the epitome of rage. It was always there. She’d be happy one second and the next she’d be punching a senior officer. Girl had some anger issues for sure. She can glare with the best of them and seems to have a nasty right hook. Starbuck was a tortured soul and Sackoff was able to bring that across with her facial expressions. Sackoff was also in the final season of 24 as Dana Walsh. Dana was a mole (of course, because every season had one) and on the surface was calm, cool and collected. But she had a vicious streak and you knew it even before you saw it. What gets me is every interview I see her do, or behind the scenes clips, she seems to be a pretty jovial gal. Like she’d be cool to hang out with and have a beer. Gal has got some serious range that’s for sure.
This is obviously a quality I admire in an actor. Rage and anger, to me, seem like hard emotions to fake so to those who make it look natural, I salute you. But don’t be offended if I happen to run into you on the street and run the other way.Tags: 24, Admiral Adama, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, Edward James Olmos, F/X, Gone in 60 Second, Hitman, Justified, Kara Thrace, Katee Sackoff, Kiefer Sutherland, Live Free or Die Hard, Pitch Black, Starbuck, Vin Diesel