December 1, 2006

Interview. Xander Berkeley.

Jonathan Marlow introduces an appropriately wide-ranging conversation.

Xander Berkeley You've seen him repeatedly. Perhaps you have even acknowledged a certain familiarity with his face when it crosses the screen. But you've undoubtedly noticed him. Unless you pay attention to such things, you might not know his name. And yet he is one of the most talented actors working in Hollywood today. His chameleon-like abilities allow him to fully occupy a role, leaving unsuspecting viewers occasionally unaware that he's the same person from several other movies that they've enjoyed. The unsavory drug dealer in Sid & Nancy? Xander Berkeley. The pesky cab driver in Leaving Las Vegas? Berkeley again. The Secret Service man in Air Force One with questionable motives? Yet another exceptional Berkeley performance.

I first met Xander Berkeley in Park City a few years ago when he was at Sundance promoting the film Human Error (then known as Below the Belt). His remarkable work in the film, along with the rest of the cast, represented the best ensemble acting that I saw at the festival. Considering some of the narrative films that generate attention there, I wasn't surprised when the film was hardly discussed and largely disappeared without theatrical or, to date, video distribution.

I ran into Xander again in Austin earlier this year. More accurately, I followed him around a bar the second evening of SXSW. I'm not sure what he thought of this curious fellow trailing him through Buffalo Billiards but I wager he didn't expect me to question him about his portrayal of a magician in Pharaoh's Curse, an episode of the Twilight Zone. Xander graciously spoke to me a few months later on his mother's birthday. The phone call was initially planned for twenty minutes and fortunately went on for three times that duration. We could've talked for another hour or two.

Read on.

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Posted by dwhudson at December 1, 2006 1:38 PM