Have you ever been watching a film and wondered why the random prison warden looks so familiar? Or the boyfriend who dumps the main girl in the first five minutes? What about that one ganster that you know you’ve seen somewhere before? These are the “that guy” (the everyman) actors of the entertainment world. The ones who seem to be in everything and yet no one knows their name. Here are my Top Five “That Guy” actors.
5. Joe Anderson
Anderson is perhaps best known for his role as the free-spirit brother in Across the Universe (2007). In it he demonstrated that he has quite the nice singing voice but he didn’t really pop up on my radar as a serious actor until The Crazies (2010). Here he showed off his acting chops by playing the loyal deputy gone mad. Those eyes play crazy perfectly. He has been in a total of 26 films (the smallest number on this list but he’s also the youngest so there’s room to grow), including but not limited to: The Grey (2011), The Ruins (2008), and the Joy Division biopic Control (2007). It appears he has escaped being typecast in a specific kind of role but hasn’t yet had a top-billed performance (there is still hope though).
4. Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Whereas Anderson has avoided typecasting, it seems Morgan lives by it. While he has branched out a little, he mostly ends up playing one of two roles: the father/mentor figure, or the love interest of the main female character. Television fans will know him from his role on Grey’s Anatomy (love interest) and, more notably, from his appearance as John Winchester (father of the main characters) in Supernatural. At least he got to experiment with the archetype in that one. He wasn’t just the absent father. He appeared at the end of the first season to join the brothers in their fight, before disappearing from the series. He’s probably best known in film for his role in 2007’s P.S. I Love You (as a love interest). And, I think he was particularly good as the Comedian/Edward Blake in Watchmen (2009). He got to flex his acting muscles with that role. Playing a washed up superhero who has major emotional and psychological issues must have been interesting (it sure looked good).
3. Eric Roberts
If I were going by numbers alone (I’m also including personal preference), Roberts would be at the top of the list. On IMDb he is credited with 314 roles, over 60 of which haven’t even been released yet. I wonder if he is trying to set a record? Let’s see, where to begin? He’s Emma Roberts’ father and Julia Roberts’ brother (little bit of family history for you). He was the mad scientist in Sharktopus (2010), which should give you an idea of how much convincing (otherwise known as money) he needs to do a film. He played the bad guy in The Expendables (2010). He plays the villain pretty often actually. People will most likely recognize him for his minor role in The Dark Knight (2008). He plays the gangster who Harvey Dent (Two-Face) doesn’t end up shooting (although his driver wasn’t so lucky).
2. Jim Beaver
Another Supernatural alum, Beaver has mostly done television roles but every once in awhile (okay, maybe just once) he pops up as a background character in film. He’s been a guest star on several major shows, including: Breaking Bad, Justified, The Middle, Mike & Molly, and Dexter. Some of those have been single episode, others have been recurring roles (like Justified). Though I’ve never seen it, apparently he was pretty good on Deadwood. The only film credit I can clearly identify is Next (2007) and he is listed as “NSA Director Wisdom.” Never seen it but haven’t heard good things. While he does play a variety of characters, he seems to have been pigeonholed into the lawman/government official role, as well as father figure mentor types. It suits him. He has a wise sense about him, in addition to the old school, by-the-book irritating sheriff feel.
1. Walton Goggins
If Robert Shaw had never done acting, Walton Goggins would be my favorite actor. Thankfully, we were lucky enough to have had Shaw for the short amount of time we did and thus, Goggins falls to second place (but don’t feel bad, that’s second place to Robert freaking Shaw). How do I describe the perfection that is Walton Goggins (isn’t that a great name)? For starters, he was in two of the nine films nominated for Best Picture last year (Lincoln and Django Unchained). They weren’t starring, or even really supporting roles but he was excellent. He makes his mark that way. He always leaves an impression, even if he isn’t a main character. My favorite story is how he was added to the plot in the first season of Justified (he was only supposed to be in the pilot). He’s such a talented actor that he got added to the show after the season had already been set up because the creators liked his performance so much. His other credits include: Predators (2010), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), and The Shield (which I hear is quite good).