William L. PetersenOnce upon a time, he was hawt. Wiliam L. Petersen made his film debut in Michael Mann's terrific Thief (1981), but it was his lead role as a cynical, corrupt cop in William Friedkin's sensational To Live and Die in L.A. that put him on the map. He was mesmerizing to watch: passionately, completely alive as a thrill-seeking Secret Service agent who, seemingly, lacked any kind of moral compass. It's a very physical role -- watch Petersen's body language, and you'll be convinced that he could never, ever sit still. Petersen followed that up with another terrific performance in Mann's Manhunter (later, and criminally, remade as Red Dragon). He played FBI Agent Will Graham, a man who identified a little too closely with serial killers.

Unfortunately, Petersen never matched those two roles on the big screen, leading to smaller, supporting parts and his eventual rise to television stardom on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Now that he's stepped away from the series permanently, he's returning to film work with the independent drama Detachment, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He's be appearing along the newly-annouced Christina Hendricks (Mad Men, va-va-voom!) and Lucy Liu, joining Adrien Brody, James Caan, and Bryan Cranston.
Petersen hails from the Chicago area and has often appeared in stage work there. Perhaps that's the way he nourishes his artistic soul. For most of the past decade, he's been known as a low-key forensics investigator, but I would love to see him in a big, meaty part once again, displaying the ferocity that once burned up the big screen. Any Petersen fans out there in reader-land who long to see him back in movies?
categories Cinematical