In my “White House Down” review, I kept going on an on (and on…) about actor Jason Clarke. So in the interest of YOUR education, in honour of his birthday today and mostly because it’s so friggin’ hot to write anything more cerebral, I am profiling one of the “It” actors du jour! 😉
Australian Jason Clarke has been around for a while, especially in his native country, but also, as my TV watching friends have pointed out, on television shows such as “Brotherhood” and “The Chicago Code”. However, like most people, it is his role opposite Jessica Chastain in last year’s “Zero Dark Thirty” that got me and everyone noticing him! As Dan, Chastain’s fellow CIA officer, he managed to bring some depth and humanity in his character, despite his terrorizing facade when interrogating detainees suspected in having links with Al-Qaeda by torturing and waterboarding them.
Then came this May’s “The Great Gatsby”, despite his minimal screen time, Clarke managed to shine and got me hooked on his sad-sack and naive character George, a.k.a. Isla Fisher’s character’s husband. It was a small yet important role, as those who have seen the film know, but it is mostly how convincing he was in this very different role from “Zero Dark Thirty” that made me realize that I was watching a great actor unfold!
In the aforementioned “White House Down”, currently in theatres, Clarke plays a terrorizing mercenary, but you’ve already read about that in my review 😉 It was a lively and hilarious take on the clichéd bad guy that almost made you root for him despite his “evilness” (as evil as you can get in a PG-13 film, that is). But Clarke has loads more coming out this year and 2014. Here’s what we can look forward to seeing:
“The Better Angels” (previously titled “The Green Blade Rises”) (Fall 2013): Very little information can be found on this film despite its upcoming fall release. Don’t let the title fool you, it’s not a superhero movie but a movie on Abraham Lincoln’s formative years. Clarke will play Thomas Lincoln, the future president’s father. Rounding out the cast are Brit Marling and Diane Kruger as other Lincoln family members. The movie’s produced by Terrence Malick which might explain why we don’t know much about it at this point; Malick is notoriously secretive about his films. We do know it’ll be shot in black and white which might bring an interesting sensitivity to the story.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (summer 2014) – Sequel to 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, the movie takes place 10 years after that film, in the aftermath of the plague that “Rise” ended with. A group of San Francisco scientists, lead by Clarke, are trying to survive and make peace with the dominating Ape species… but will it work out? We must wait a whole year to find out 😦
“Candy Store” (Fall 2014): Written and directed by Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan (“Traffic”, “Syriana”), this crime thriller has a great cast which is a draw on its own: Robert de Niro, Christoph Waltz and Omar Sy (another rising star coming off the popularity of his French film “Les intouchables”). Sounds to me like Oscar bait for 2015!
“Child 44” (April 12, 2015): Clarke’s casting has just been announced in this adaptation of the Tom Rob Smith novel about a series of child murders set in Stalin-era Soviet Union. Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Noomi Rapace are all part of the cast. I’m hooked, perhaps I should read the book! (Update August 3, 2014 – the role of Philip Seymour Hoffman has been given to Vincent Cassel.)
But what I find most interesting with Clarke is that his career is finally peaking in his mid-forties! Not that he’s been out of work up until now, but it’s nice to see a hard working actor making a name for himself in supporting film roles and TV roles finally getting leading man status in a big budget motion picture (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) and interesting supporting parts in A-list projects with veteran actors/award winners. This will sound like I’m getting ahead of myself, but I almost feel like renaming the article 2014: the year of Jason Clarke… but let’s just see what lies ahead 😉