It’s no secret big Hollywood studios like a sure bet, and there’s no shortage of predictable movies to prove it.
Which is probably why Nicolas Cage left Los Angeles for Las Vegas a long time ago. At 59, the Academy Award winner owns one of the most eclectic lists of film credits in the business.
He’s been at it for more than 40 years – pivoting from leading man to action-hero to a slew of lesser features and back again. But we learned, behind that kaleidoscope of characters is a unique imagination and an encyclopedic knowledge of film… that seems to motivate everything Nicolas Cage does… his work, his life, and even this.
It’s clichéd to say this about someone after they’re gone, but a show or movie changed when Lance Reddick showed up. He brought a quiet intensity and refined gravity to everything he did. So when his face appeared on screen, everything was somehow instantly elevated.
Think about when he appears late in Adam Wingard’s “The Guest,” taking a film that has been focused on a family and community terrorized by a sociopath and turning it into something much more expansive and intense. His very presence in a scene somehow added stakes to that scene. Oh, wait, we have to take this more seriously now. Lance is here.
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When Laura Linney starred in a 2002 Broadway revival of The Crucible, her favorite part was Act Three, when her character, Elizabeth Proctor, doesn’t appear onstage.
“I would be underneath the floorboards of the theater, just listening,” she says. “You could hear the orchestration of the voices. Liam Neeson tromping around. Then you realize just what a fucking genius Arthur Miller was. When you’re in the work like that, it just envelops you and moves through your body.”
Laura Linney is an actor’s actor. Juilliard-trained and now sitting on the school’s board of trustees, she has built a more-than-30-year career moving across television, film, and theater.
Most recently, she appeared in the final season of the crime drama Ozark before flying to Dublin to shoot The Miracle Club with Maggie Smith and Kathy Bates. Throughout her body of work, she exudes a quality at once familiar and slightly hard to place, with a dimpled smile that can slide easily from delight to menace and a contralto voice that can be adjusted to the scale of the medium.
She has a good disposition for the job, with an eye for longevity and a sunny steeliness that can weather caprice and ego. Still, when it comes to why she became an actor, she has no answer. “I don’t know if I really want to know,” she says one day at a restaurant in Brooklyn. “Maybe when I’m 80 I’ll look at it.”
On the brink of greatness with Curse of the Spider Woman, William Hurt struggled to get free of his web.
By Jack Kroll, Mar 14, 2022
This article originally appeared in the October 1986 issue of Esquire. You can find every Esquire story ever published at Esquire Classic.
“Look, I’m not a talented man,” says William Hurt. “You know it and I know it.”
“I don’t know it,” I say.
“Well, you should know it,” says Hurt.“You’re not a talented man?” I press him.“Well, I’m not that talented a man,” he says.“Well then, what are you?” I ask.“I’m a focused man,” he says.
We are sitting in an Italian restaurant on New York’s Upper East Side, and Bill Hurt is engaged in one of his favorite pastimes—putting himself down. Few who have seen him act would agree with his estimate of his ability. And as for being “focused,” well, that’s the last word many people would use to describe Hurt.
The actor is a walking paradox: the owner of one of the cleanest, clearest, least self-indulgent acting styles in the business, Hurt is legendary for the far-out, labyrinthine, metaphysical flights of fancy that have driven interviewers on several continents into a state of mumbling meemies. WILLIAM HURT: ACTOR WITH THE ATOM BRAIN! blazed a headline in one English magazine.
Another interviewer succinctly summed up the experience of listening to Hurt: “He sounds like a man who has just smoked his first joint.”
Yesterday we learned of the passing of William Hurt, and today, internet, cable and even broadcast news will be filled with stories of his award-winning career spanning over 50 years and over 100 credits.
Hurt holds a respected place in cinema for being nominated for the best actor Oscar for three consecutive years; “Kiss of the Spider Woman” in 1986, “Children of a Lesser God” in 1987 and “Broadcast News” in 1988.
“Broadcast News” was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2018.
In honor of William Hurt, we look back on “Broadcast News” with an essay from Brian Scott Mednick. Ask anyone that’s ever worked in a newsroom, especially in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and they will tell you that the performances by William Hurt, Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks and Jack Nicholson are flawless.
Broadcast News (1987
With the 24/7 news cycle we’ve become accustomed to over the last several decades, the 1980s seems like a lifetime ago with respect to how television news was both reported and consumed. “Broadcast News,” released in December 1987, is a time capsule of that period, which was a simpler, less volatile era when we trusted three guys named Dan, Tom, and Peter to give us a half-hour recap of the day’s pivotal events at dinnertime.
“Broadcast News,” written, produced, and directed by James L. Brooks, is one the smartest films ever made about show business and the media, a savagely funny, sophisticated, and poignant story about three people who are as ambitious and determined as they are diffident and vulnerable.
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Plummer was a versatile actor, at home on the stage, television, and film, and the variety of his roles underscored his versatility and talent. From his early career on stage and television, he appeared in dozens of productions in a short span of years, becoming well-versed in and well-known for Shakespearean plays.