Okay, that was different...

Sunday, I watched Rachel Getting Married, the movie for which Anne Hathaway got an Oscar nomination, playing a woman who gets out of rehab (which she’s been bouncing in and out of for ten years) for her sister’s wedding. Character study – Jonathan Demme directed, Bill Irwin (!!! – yes, the guy who won a McArthur “genius” grant for his clowning – didn’t realized he’d turned to straight acting) as the father – good film but pretty damn depressing. Also funny. Also a great soundtrack.

Today, I watched Get Smart, with Anne Hathaway playing Agent 99 to Steve Carrell’s bumbling Maxwell Smart (with the reliably funny Alan Arkin as the Chief). Funny movie – well-done updating of the show I loved as a kid. They did use a bunch of the catchphrases, but managed to weave them into the story, not beat you over the head with them. The updating was, as I said, very well done, in terms of the setting [HQ is accessed through the Smithsonian] and the premise [terrorists] – and there were a couple of cute cameos, like Bernie Coppell (who, alas, didn’t say “Not Craw, Craw!”).

But two more different performances from the same actress it’s pretty damn hard to imagine.

And I just saw Bill Irwin in Waiting for Godot. He played the role of Lucky as a slavering, animalistic… well, freak-o is the best word I can think of.

I didn’t even recognize him from Rachel Getting Married, which I just watched last month.

Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster and Dr. House.

Bill Irwin played George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff” recently opposite Kathleen Turner.

The dude has straight acting chops.

Tim McInnerny playing Percy in the first two seasons of The Black Adder and then playing Captain Darling in the fourth season.

Bernie Kopell played Siegfried, not the Craw/Claw…

And the father in Stuart Little.

And the Scarlet Pimpernel in season 3. And, to link with the above, Hugh Laurie as the Prince of Wales in Season 3 and Lt. George in season 4.

Hugh Laurie played the Prince and George essentially as the same character.

Irwin played Vladimir, the slightly taller, less needy one of the tramps. He was the best thing in the show. I was stunned by one line in particular that I hadn’t noticed before:

“Tell him [Godot] . . . . . . tell him you saw me and that . . . . . . that you saw me. . . . You’re sure you saw me, you won’t come and tell me tomorrow that you never saw me!”

Lucky was played by John Glover.

I just watched “Keeping the Faith” for about the twentieth time and remarked what a totally uncharacteristic role Edward Norton plays(if you haven’t seen it, he plays a priest who falls in love with a childhood friend, who is actually in love with Ben Stiller’s character.) It’s a very sweet, light and funny part and as much as I adore Mr. Norton, sweet, light and funny he aint.

Dominic West as McNulty on “The Wire” and an '80s hair metal singer in “Rock Star.”

I’m with you on that! I liked that movie.

Anyway, the ability to show such range is the stamp of a good actor/actress IMHO.

:smack: for misspelling his name and :smack::smack: for getting the casting wrong.

(Should I resurrect the “TV catchphrases you still use” thread for “Not Craw, Craw!” though? :D)

Oh, I don’t know, he managed it well in Death to Smoochy. The movie isn’t really light, but his character’s pretty adorable and cute/naive, etc.

ETA: It’s kind of odd to think that he’s mostly known for dark roles. He just LOOKS so sweet and innocent.

Yeah, well, that’s kind of the whole deal in Primal Fear isn’t it?

Ooh–Sterling Hayden in Dr. Strangelove and, nine years later, The Long Goodbye. From straitlaced army general to drunken bearded writer.

Michael Gambon, the current Albus Dumbeldore in the Harry Potter series, was in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover as well as in The Singing Detective. In both of the latter productions, he performs in a style best described as ‘Stream of Invective’.

Wow. I’ve only ever seen him play an asshole–in The Cook, the Thief…and also in Gosford Park. I can’t imagine him playing a warm fuzzy role. I’d be too afraid he was going to snap and feed me my own belly button or something.

Another “Rachel Getting Married” actor with a remarkable range is Debra Winger, who plays Hathaway’s emotionally distant, unforgiving mother in “Married” and… the role she discusses here with David Letterman.