Some actors stake their claim in the movie industry by doing ritzy-big time-huge pay day projects to get their names splashed all over everything. They become a product, a commodity for Hollywood bigwigs to manipulate in order to make oodles of dough. In exchange, the actors themselves become “stars” whose celebrity outshines their talent in exchange for diva studio deals and infinite ego massaging power and fame. We Mutants don’t hold anything against this kind of actor/celebrity entity. They just bore us.
Here at Mutant Reviewers, we prefer to respect and admire those actors who will, with or without huge parts or huge pay checks, consciously and consistently hand in interesting, diverse and compelling performances. Occasionally these actors hit the big time (Kevin Spacey, Sean Penn) but most often, they build solid careers in anonymity and feed their families making bunches of movies a year without ever doing whirl-wind press junkets or writing articles about themselves for Premiere magazine. This is our attempt to celebrate those film actors who don’t have above the title marquee status but who deserve your attention and have paid their dues to earn your respect. You may not know their names but chances are good that you’ll recognize their faces because they’re you know, those guys!
Chris Cooper, born 1951
Compared to the other YKTG’s already covered for this feature, Chris Cooper has the least amount of actual screen performances. I felt obliged however to make him a YKTG because he is one of the best and most under appreciated actors working today.
Director John Sayles gave Cooper his first movie role in the highly acclaimed but not often seen Matewan (1987) as lead character Joe Kenehan. Since then, he’s appeared in a variety of different films and made-for-television movies forging a career of solid, always powerful performances. He’s probably best known for his role as Colonel Fitts in American Beauty, where he turned in one of the most compelling and complicated performances in a film full of outstanding actors and characters.
Usually playing hard-nosed, hard-working men, Cooper always seems to infuse his characters with an unexpected amount of heart and realism. Since he’s hardly ever given the recognition he deserves, I’ve decided to use my awesome powers as a Mutant to pay homage to an actor who should be heartily commended for all his amazing work.