We love almost everything about The Onion’s AV Club — it’s the home to some of the smartest pop culture writing around, and it’s one of the first things we read of a morning. And, among its many excellent regular features, our favorite is Random Roles, which involves an actor — usually the kind of unsung character types that we love — running down a selection of previous parts across their careers. The latest up to bat is a prime example of the kind of performer they showcase — the excellent Garret Dillahunt — and as well as providing some excellent insights into his varied résumé, the actor also revealed that he’s joined the ensemble casts of two of our most eagerly anticipated projects.
You might not know Dillahunt’s name, but his face is probably familiar — he crops up regularly on TV, from early guest roles on “The X-Files” and “NYPD Blue” to more substantial parts on “Deadwood,” “E.R.” and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” while Fox‘s acclaimed sitcom “Raising Hope” is currently giving the actor a well-deserved regular spotlight. But he’s also cropped up in some of the best films of the last few years — playing Tommy Lee Jones‘ deputy in “No Country For Old Men,” slow outlaw Ed Miller in “The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” (his final scene with Brad Pitt in that film is one of our favorite bits of screen acting in recent memory), the gang member who tussles with Viggo Mortensen in “The Road,” and the sheriff in last year’s “Winter’s Bone.” And now the actor has not only reunited with Dominik on the contemporary crime flick “Cogan’s Trade,” but he’s also going to crop up in Rian Johnson‘s sci-fi thriller “Looper.”
Dominik’s clearly a big fan of the actor, as Dillahunt reveals that he was originally set to play the part of Charley Ford in “The Assassination of Jesse James,” but had to drop out when the short-lived NBC series “The Book of Daniel” was picked up, leading him to take the smaller role in the picture, clearing the way for Sam Rockwell, who had originally turned the part down, to step in. Dillahunt reveals that his part in “Cogan’s Trade” is only “a cameo,” but we’re glad to see him back in the Dominik fold, particularly as he’s the latest addition to an enormously exciting ensemble, led by Brad Pitt, and also including Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard, Max Casella, Bella Heathcote, Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn.
It was his presence on the New Orleans shoot for “Looper” that enabled him to cameo in “Cogan’s Trade,” and his role in Johnson’s film seems to be more substantial — IMDB suggests that the actor’s playing the role of Jesse, an antagonist who crops up in the final act of the picture, and it’s a great fit for Dillahunt. We’re looking forward to that movie almost as much as we are to “Cogan’s Trade” — the third film from hugely promising “Brick” director Johnson has one of our favorite scripts of the last year, and another excellent cast including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Piper Perabo, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels and Noah Segan. Both films should land some time in 2012, hopefully sooner rather than later — and now, all we need is for Quentin Tarantino to take our suggestion and cast Dillahunt in “Django Unchained,” and it’ll truly be a banner year for the actor.