Thursday, February 7, 2008
Jack and his Friends are Back
John Joseph Nicholson' (born April 22, 1937), known as Jack Nicholson, is a three time Academy Award-winning American actor, internationally renowned for his often dark-themed portrayals of neurotic characters. He is widely recognized as being one of the greatest actors of his generation.
He has been nominated for an Academy Award 12 times and has won three times (twice for Best Actor and once as Best Supporting Actor). He is tied with Walter Brennan for most acting wins by a male actor (three), and second to Katharine Hepburn for most acting wins overall (four). He is also one of only two actors nominated for an Academy Award for acting (either lead or supporting) in every decade since the 1960s; the other is Michael Caine. He has won seven Golden Globe Awards, and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2001. In 1994, he became one of the youngest actors to be awarded the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. He is perhaps best known for his roles in the films Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, As Good as It Gets, Tim Burton's Batman, Rob Reiner's A Few Good Men and Martin Scorsese's The Departed.
James Woods' career has been noted for the intense characters he has chosen, the earliest of which was his portrayal of a sadistic murderer in 1979's The Onion Field. He appeared in an episode of The Rockford Files, playing a son whose parents were murdered and wants James "Jim" Rockford to find the murderer. He was nominated for an Academy Award twice: the first in 1987 for Best Actor in Salvador and again in 1996 for Best Supporting Actor for his acclaimed performance as Byron De La Beckwith in Ghosts of Mississippi. He has also garnered critical praise for his voice work for Hades in Disney's Hercules. His personal favorite of all of his roles, however, is as the domineering gangster Max in Sergio Leone's gangster epic Once Upon A Time In America (1984).
He was briefly considered for the role of The Joker by Tim Burton and Sam Hamm for the Batman film in 1989. Hamm recalls that he and Burton thought, "James Woods would be good and wouldn't need any makeup, which would save a couple of hours' work every morning." The role ended up going to Jack Nicholson. Quentin Tarantino wrote a part in Reservoir Dogs with Woods in mind, but his agent rejected the script without showing it to the actor. When Woods learned of this some time later, he fired the agent. Woods was also considered for the part of Donald Kimball in American Psycho, but he turned it down. The part was given to Willem Dafoe.
James Woods' appeared as himself in the episode of The Simpsons entitled "Homer and Apu" and in an episode of Family Guy entitled "Peter's Got Woods". The high school in Family Guy is also named James Woods High after him. In 2006, Woods starred opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in the political thriller End Game. Also in 2006, Woods played himself in the premiere episode of Entourage's third season. He also starred in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as Mike Toreno and voiced the falcon in Stuart Little 2.
Woods stars in the new CBS legal drama Shark. Woods plays an infamous Los Angeles defense lawyer who, growing disillusioned, becomes a prosecutor. The Shark pilot episode was directed by Spike Lee.
After touring with Theatre X for four years in the United States and Europe, he moved to New York City and joined the Performance Group. Dafoe's film career began in 1981, when he was cast in Heaven's Gate, but his role was removed from the film during editing. In the mid 80`s he was cast by famed Director William Friedkin to star in the classic film "To Live And Die In LA" where Willem Dafoe delivers one of his greatest performances ever as the ace counterfeiter Rick Masters. A year later he starred as the leader of a motorcycle gang in The Loveless (and later played a similar role in Streets of Fire), but his first breakthrough film role was as the compassionate Sergeant Elias in Platoon (1986). In 1988 Dafoe starred in another movie set in Vietnam, this time as CID Agent Buck McGriff in Off Limits. He has since become a popular character actor; due to his harsh facial features and crooked smile, he is often typecast as unstable or villainous characters, such as the psychotic Green Goblin in the Spider-Man film series and Barillo in Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Before that, he was briefly considered for the role of The Joker by Tim Burton and Sam Hamm for the Batman film in 1989. Hamm recalls "We thought, 'Well, Willem Dafoe looks just like The Joker.'" The role ended up going to Jack Nicholson. He also played Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). He once remarked "To this day, I can't believe I was so brazen to think I could pull off the Jesus role", though Dafoe received acclaim despite the controversy surrounding the film.
He starred in the erotic drama Body of Evidence with Madonna. In this film, he appeared totally nude, as well as giving Madonna cunnilingus in a famous scene in a carpark. In 1991 Willem Dafoe delivered another outstanding performance in the role as a Manhattan, New York drug dealer in the film "Light Sleeper". This film received very good reviews by both critics and fans alike. Dafoe played peculiar detectives in The Boondock Saints (1999) and in American Psycho (2000). He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1986 for Platoon and 2000 for Shadow of the Vampire. After Spider-Man, Dafoe had a rare opportunity to play a heroic film role when he provided the voice of Gill in the animated movie Finding Nemo.
He worked briefly as a model in a 1990 Prada campaign. In 2004, Dafoe lent his likeness and voice for the highly successful James Bond video game Everything or Nothing as villain Nikolai Diavolo. In 2006, he played NYPD detective Stan Aubray on the hunt for a serial killer, the lead in New York-set thriller Anamorph, opposite Scott Speedman and Peter Stormare. In his most recent film he stars alongside Rowan Atkinson in the sequel to 1997's Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday which was released worldwide 30 March 2007.