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Showbiz Today Star of Tomorrow
NEW YORK (CNN) -- "Charlie's Angels" has been kicking some serious butt at the box office, but the movie is about a lot more then just the sexy crime fighting trio. It is also about the victims and the villains the winsome threesome fights.
Sam Rockwell plays one of the two. Victim or bad guy? Don't expect to learn which here.
He's made a career of playing colorful characters, playing the really bad guy in "The Green Mile" and the scared guy from "Galaxy Quest," films which debuted last year.
Now, with his films and roles getting bigger, Rockwell, 32, is virtually a sure bet for Hollywood stardom.
CNN: Some critics are saying that you steal your scenes from the "Angels" themselves. That has to be hard to do.
Sam Rockwell: I think that is hard to do. I think these are real movie stars -- you know, real intense ladies. '
CNN: Did you feel confident going into this film, or were you a bit nervous?
Rockwell: Oh, I was very nervous. I had people tell me not to do it.
CNN: Why did you take the role?
Rockwell: Money. ... No, there are a lot of reasons to do this movie, but the real reason to do this movie was Drew Barrymore -- that was the reason to do it. I think the movie just clicked, and it's funny that there was all this talk ... while the film was being made, that it wasn't going to work. I think it really did work.
CNN: What was your reaction when you saw the finished product?
Rockwell: I was blown away, sincerely blown away. I felt the way I felt when I saw "Grease" (1978) when I was like, 10 or 12 years old -- that kind of a feeling when I came out of the theater. It had a really good feeling to it.
CNN: Did you watch "Charlie's Angels" when you were young?
Rockwell: I watched a little bit of it. I liked Kate Jackson.
CNN: In the course of your career you've done independents like "Lawn Dogs" (1997) and "Safe Men" (1998), plus big productions like "Charlie's Angels" and "The Green Mile." Are you happy with the films you've chosen?
Rockwell: Oh yeah. "Galaxy Quest" was a great script, and "The Green Mile" was a fantastic script. Wild Bill (his role in "The Green Mile") was a great part. I got to wear rubber teeth, and I thought that that was really a big comedy routine.
CNN: Did you ever hate any characters that you played? Wild Bill wasn't the most likable character, you know.
Rockwell: Well, playing that role was also scary because you don't know if you're going to be able to get a date (again) because you've (had a role featuring) awful teeth and zits. And you're a pedophile. It was harder to play the "Galaxy Quest" character. ... It is humiliating to play the coward, especially if everyone is laughing at it. It's one thing if you are playing the coward in "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), but if you are playing the coward in "Galaxy Quest" the effect is laughter.
CNN: But it's a comedy.
Rockwell: It's a comedy, but that doesn't matter, because for the actor playing the part, it has to be a drama. So you have to treat it as if it is a drama, if it is life and death. And you know, ... in the back of your mind, that everyone is going to be laughing at you. So it is a little tougher.
CNN: Do you consider yourself a character actor?
Rockwell: Yeah, I think all actors should be character actors, and I don't think that means that you have to change physically. I think Tom Hanks is a character actor.
CNN: How old were you when you decided you wanted to pursue acting as a profession? Where were you living?
Rockwell: I was 10, I was living in San Francisco and I would visit my mother in New York. ... I did a play with her, and that is how I got involved with it as a kid.
CNN: You have another film coming out soon -- "Heist"?
Rockwell: It is about a heist, about stealing gold. Danny DeVito is this Jewish gangster from Boston ... and I am his nephew, and my character's name is Jimmy Silk -- which is a great name. It's probably the best name I've ever had.
Review: 'Angels' is high on action, low on wit
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