Out there in the entertainment world, lost among the stars that are Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck, there exists a trio of actors that reside somewhat anonymously in the upper echelon of acting. Three actors you might recognize at first glance, but can't seem to place their name. Three actors that make almost every project they take part in, good or bad, that much better.
I'm speaking about Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Corrigan, and Nicky Katt.
These three men have been favorites of mine for a long time. Each has been in the business for 20 years or more and have not often been given their dues. While Olyphant has been in the forefront more in recent years due to the critical success of Justified, the three men have managed to do outstanding work while remaining out of the spotlight.
Today, I shine that spotlight on them, taking a brief glimpse into their illustrious careers.
"Is the juice worth the squeeze?"
This question is posed by Timothy Olyphant in the 2004 smash hit The Girl Next Door. I was working at a movie theater when this film was released and I must have watched Olyphant's scenes numerous times. In fact, on the rare occasion this film appears on television, I'll tune in just for his performance. The movie on a whole is slightly below average, a rating only strengthened to that position by Olyphant's contributions.
Olyphant first appeared on my radar with his turn in Scream 2. It was going to be tough to top Skeet Ulrich's maniacal Billy Loomis from the first Scream, but Olyphant certainly impressed in this ensemble piece.
Olyphant first used his talent of turning unbearable movies into something watchable with his appearance in Gone in 60 Seconds. Don't let the millions of dollars this film made fool you. It is a mildly entertaining movie and has quite the collection of talent, but when Olyphant is not on screen, something is truly missing.
After years of films, Olyphant begin to move into the television spectrum. He made appearances on The Office, My Name is Earl, and Deadwood before launching into a six-season run on Justified.
He is currently appearing in the film Mother's Day. Judging by reviews, this might be a film that not even Olyphant can make tolerable, but due to the fact I must see everything he's in, this movie will eventually end up on my Netflix queue.
When you have your play produced at age 17 at the Young Playwrights Festival of New York, chances are you're off to a good start to your career.
Nearly 30 years later, Kevin Corrigan is still in the game, as an actor, and shows no signs of slowing down.
In a career filled with bit parts and being a supporting player, Corrigan has found a talent in standing out no matter the capacity he is asked to fill in project.
He has been in major films, such as Goodfellas, The Departed, and American Gangster while acquiring numerous credits in independent movies such as True Romance, Detroit Rock City, Buffalo '66, The Slums of Beverly Hills, and, in one of his finest performances to date, a turn co-starring with Patton Oswalt in the film Big Fan.
He can be even considered to be part of the Judd Apatow family tree, appearing in movies such as Superbad and Pineapple Express. These appearances most likely date back to when Corrigan appeared in an episode of Freaks and Geeks.
Corrigan has done his fair share of work in television, stealing the show in the long running series Grounded for Life and giving a great performance in the critically acclaimed Community. He can currently be seen in the show Dice.
Any time I see Corrigan show up in a movie is often a surprise. A lot of the time he's not a focus of a trailer or write-up on a film or television show, but his appearance is similar to stamp of approval.
The reclusive Nicky Katt has taken up a life of semi-retirement as of late. Of course, when you've been in the game since age 7 (an appearance on CHiPs), you've probably earned a right (and the money) to pick and choose your projects with extreme care.
Katt first caught my eye in the movie Dazed and Confused, in which his few brief scenes stood out in an already stellar movie. (Though later I found out he was in The 'Burbs with Tom Hanks, a film I'd seen before Dazed and Confused).
A role in Suburbia proved what Katt was capable, but it wasn't really until the Fox television show Boston Public that Katt really crept into the national consciousness. He delivered outstanding performances week after week in a show that was sometimes overwrought with melodrama.
After three seasons on the show, Katt kept to what seems to have been a pattern his entire career: choosing small parts only when he feels like working. He did School of Rock, appearing in only a handful of scenes.
Even since 2008, Katt has only appeared in three projects. He was uncredited for a role as a SWAT member in the film Dark Knight. His last role was in the 2013 HBO film Beyond the Candelabra.
These three men are some of the finest actors of the last twenty years. They often go unrecognized and I imagine they might prefer it that way. Fame is not necessarily the end result of what these men want. They like to have fun in their roles, whatever the situation, and that's definitely a positive in my book.
Now to go write a script to bring the three of them together. Shouldn't be too hard. Right?