There's an interesting article over at VH1.com about supporting actors, and the attempt to define and categorize them -- dipping into supporting roles, ensemble pieces, scene-stealers and all the pieces that make up this arguable whole. It's a pretty undefinable phenomenon, since everyone has differing views of the topic, but the piece hits many of the bases. It's pretty interesting to see how opinions change amongst the actors, some of which are notorious scene-stealers, and others who prefer to stay out of the spotlight.

Christopher Walken
, for one, is always stealing scenes. He says: "The leading man, for one thing, he gets the girl. You just hope that the scenes you do are good." Others, like Bruce Greenwood, prefer to stay away from the spotlight: "I've avoided becoming a star. I've had to work very hard at it. I've been offered many huge, huge starring parts in major motion pictures." Some are more cut and dry, but there are many films out there where the line between star and support blurs -- Sean Astin commented on his being placed second to Elijah Wood in the Lord of the Rings trilogy: "Sam is in support of Frodo... [but] it's an ensemble movie, so everybody feels like a supporting player of everybody."

Really, the whole thing seems reductive to me. Many of the "supporting actors" on the list have had starring roles, but they just weren't all huge blockbusters. Danny Huston, who was quoted, might have lots of side parts in big roles such as Children of Men, but also has played the lead. Then again, his starring role in John Sayles' Silver City was so downgraded that his face wasn't even on the cover of the DVD. We're so obsessed with the stars and the big names, we often miss all the talent that lurks, and sometimes jumps into, the spotlight. Some of my favorite movie experiences are getting friends excited about the "unknown" in a movie -- like creating a cheering section for Joe Morton in Executive Decision -- the best incapacitated hero ever! Which actors -- and for that matter actresses, since both sexes fill the supporting pool -- do you think should get more recognition?
categories Movies, Cinematical