Movie obsessives know him by name, while everyone else will definitely be familiar with his face: William Fichtner is one of Hollywood’s finest and most prolific character actors, with supporting roles in dozens of films as varied as The Dark Knight, Heat, Black Hawk Down, Crash and Armageddon… to name just a handful.
In this week’s deliberately trashy, neo-grindhouse actioner Drive Angry, Fichtner takes a co-starring role opposite Nicolas Cage and Amber Heard, playing a mysterious, black-suited pursuer known only as “The Accountant” — a supernatural agent hot on the trail of Cage’s hell-bent motorist. It’s a funny, eccentric performance that near steals the film, and has already drawn praises (and some Walken comparisons) from early reviews.
“I had a great time doing it,” Fichtner says of his role, “the best time I ever had, working on a film. Probably my most fun character. I just liked the guy.” Curiously, for an actor who’s played numerous parts across the moral spectrum, Fichtner’s philosophy is, “If I don’t like the character, if I can’t find something, what am I gonna do with it? I can’t play somebody I don’t like.”
Having discovered his co-star’s Five Favorite Films recently, we decided to ask Fichtner to follow suit…
The Graduate (1967, 89% Tomatometer)
The Graduate, you know, it’s just so frickin’ romantic. I just love that. The music, the performances; everything about it. I saw it at a time in my life that was truly eye-opening.
The Godfather/The Godfather: Part II (1972/1974, 100%/98% Tomatometer)
Godfather one and two ’cause it’s just… perfect.
The Deer Hunter (1978, 91% Tomatometer)
Deer Hunter — the human experience was just so pointed; their journeys were so difficult, as life is sometimes. I remember after seeing it, walking down the street — I actually went with a girl on a date and saw The Deer Hunter, and we left the theater and walked for like an hour and nobody said anything; we were just kind of stunned about that.
Strictly Ballroom (1992, 94% Tomatometer)
Strictly Ballroom — again, such a romantic film. The ballroom dancing was just so exciting and Baz Luhrmann’s such a genius.
Three Days of the Condor (1975, 86% Tomatometer)
Three Days of the Condor just seems to be one of those films that, if I’m flipping around the channels late at night and I land on that one, I just can’t shut if off — you just have to watch that whole journey with Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. It’s so good.
Drive Angry is released this week.