This week, Jon Favreau seeks to once and for all declare a winner in the age-old feud between Cowboys and Aliens. The film stars current James Bond Daniel Craig and living movie geek legend Harrison Ford as a pair of tough hombres suddenly besieged by banditos from way, waaaaaay across the border. While it would be easy to get swept up in this tandem of man stardom, the fact is that Cowboys and Aliens has rounded up quite a sensational cast. Here are a few other faces you should look for, if you can possibly tear yourself away from Daniel Craig’s steely blue eyes.
Clancy Brown is one of my very favorite character actors. He’s one of those guys whose face and voice instantly ring familiar even if you can’t immediately place him; in fact the mark of a great character actor. Brown first caught our attention as the sinister Kurgan seeking to take the head of Connor MacLeod in 1986’s Highlander. Then, in 1994, he brought to life Steven King’s brutish Captain Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption. Brown then continued with his quest to show us what real men are made of as he enlisted in the Space Marines and killed a whole mess of bugs in Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers. After a slew of amazing voice work on some incredible animated series, Brown appeared on Lost and most recently was the voice of Parallax in Green Lantern.
Paul Dano is an actor of unparalleled talent, but big-budget genre films represent an entirely new planet for him. In 2004, he appeared in the underrated sex comedy The Girl Next Door as the quiet, unassuming Klitz. But audiences and critics alike first took real notice of Dano in the 2006 indie comedy Little Miss Sunshine as the confused, mute teenage brother of a half-pint beauty queen wannabe. But the performance that completely floored this writer was his dark, manipulative Eli Sunday in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. I am looking forward to seeing him bring that same intensity to a more crowd-pleasing film so that a wider audience becomes aware of his greatness.
While most likely the most potentially recognizable of this list, Olivia Wilde is still far from a household name. Interestingly, one of Wilde’s first films was also 2004’s The Girl Next Door, but it wasn’t until she turned up as Dr. Remy ‘Thirteen’ Hadley on the television drama House that she started to garner some attention. But unlike Dano, Wilde is no stranger to genre films or even sci-fi for that matter. Just last year she turned all of our heads sporting that tight, lighted suit in Tron: Legacy. I think it’s safe to say that a lacy bodice and a pair of long boots will do little to curb our adoration.
Two years ago, the Hollywood community lost a remarkable actor: David Carradine. But as it turns out, David was far from the only talented actor in the Carradine family. Keith Carradine has been turning in fantastic performances since the early 70s. He engaged in a life-long struggle for honor against Harvey Keitel in The Duelists; a powerful early film from Ridley Scott. Carradine has also proven time and time again that he is no slouch when it comes to westerns. In 1980, he appeared, along with brothers David and Robert, in Walter Hill’s phenomenal The Long Riders. He also played Buffalo Bill Cody in Walter Hill’s Wild Bill and would later play Wild Bill himself during a five-episode stint on Deadwood. Most recently, fans of the series Dexter would recognize him as Special Agent Frank Lundy.
I must admit I had no idea who Walton Goggins was until my lovely wife sat me down and made me watch one of her favorite shows: The Shield. Goggins played Detective Shane Vendrell, one of the looser cannons on Det. Vick Mackey’s already unhinged strike team. Since then, each and every time I have seen Goggins pop up on TV or the big screen, I have taken dutiful notice. Recently Goggins appeared in Predators as one of the despicable rabble rounded up as target practice for cinema’s iconic race of alien hunters. Goggins is also earning rave reviews for his new series Justified in which he stars opposite Timothy Olyphant.