Sam Rockwell


  1. Gale Hansen, Dead Poets Society, 1989.     He came close to winning – neither of the straight-lacers (Ethan Hawke or Robert Sean Leonard) but the typically Rockwell off-kilter guy, would-be beatnik Charlie ‘Nuwanda’ Dalton.  Rockwell started acting at ten and loved“the adventure of the actor’s life – even the struggling actor’s life.”
  2. Chris O’Donnell, Scent of a Woman, 1991. All the young turks were in the pot for Charlie, the prep schooler babysitting a blind Al Pacino (to his Oscar). Rockwell, Ben Affleck, Randall Batinkoff, Matt Damon, Stephen Dorff, Brendan Fraser, Cole Hauser,  Anthony Rapp and Christopher Serrone.
  3. James Woolvett, Unforgiven, 1991.  Missed out on being in the third Western to win a Best Picture Oscar (plus the first directing Oscar for Clint Eastwood).  The younbg Canadian won The Schofield Kid (named after his Schofield model Smith & Wesson), tempting Clint’s gunfighter turned hog farmer into a $1,000 bounty hunt. Rockwell would have been better.
  4. Noah Wyle, ER, TV, 1994-2009.   In the  Emergency Room mix for Dr John Carter, of Chicago’s County General Hospital. Although one cannot quite see Rockwell as a comfy tele-medico – even one created by Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg. 

  5. Robert Downey Jr, Iron Man, 2008.    
    During the 17-year gestation, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman, Timothy Olyphant and Clive Owen were also run up the Marvel flagpole – and Rockwell was  once offered the lead. “We had a phone conversation about it, and then I didn’t hear anything and that was it.”  Michael Jackson pushed hard to be in in the 90lb suits of about 450 separate pieces. After musing over Hugh Jackman, Timothy Olyphant and Clive Owen, director Jon Favreau only wanted Downey. “The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark.” A year later, nFavreau invited Sam to be Iron Man’s (rejuvenated) arch nemesis, Justin Hammer, Sam agreed. He’d loved the first film. Of course, he had. His girl, Leslie Bibb, was in it.

  6. Ben Mendelsohn, Killing Them Softly, 2011.    As the title changed – although Killing Them Softly is Cogan’s Trade! – so did the ex-con robber from Rockwell to Javier Bardem or Mark Ruffalo in the testosterone-packed film (really) noir. Changing George Higgins’ 1974 Boston-set thriller to New Orleans in 2008, made it more suitable for enforcer Brad Pitt’s line: “The United States is not a country. The United States is a business. Now gimme my money.”
  7. Jason Sudeikis, Movie 43, 2010.     Rockwell was due to replay Batman in the superhero segment, due as a sequel to the 2005 short, Robin’s Big Date. He split to join Seven Psychopaths – opposite Colin Farrell, who had been asked to play The Leprechaun here. They made the right decision as this collection of comedic (?) skits ’n’ sketches was labelled by Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper as the “Citizen Kane of awful.” And in New York magazine, David Edelstein asked: “Was someone holding Kate Winslet’s children hostage? Threatening to release compromising pictures of Emma Stone? Did Richard Gere or Hugh Jackman have gambling debts?”
  8. Chris Pine, Rise of the Guardians, 2011.   Jason Bateman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sam Rockwell and Jim Sturgess were on the voice list for Jack Frost in the DreamWorks toon about saving childhood, itself, from Jude Law’s dreaded Pitch Black. Other guardians included Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and a Santa Claus complete with tatts and a Russian accent!
  9. Alexander Skarsgard, Mute, 2017.     Director Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son) said this was the first script he offered to Rockwell. But it was considered “too big” (ie a pricey gamble on a new helmer) and they knocked off the smaller (better?) Moon, instead. Jones then called this drama of a mute barkeep v urban gangsters “a spiritual sequel” to Moon.
  10. Bill Hader, It Chapter Two, 2018.   Josh Gad, Ed Helms,and Sam Rockwell   were suggested for   Richie TozierKaspbrak – in the 262nd of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits … and his second biggest hit! The first?  It, 2016, of course. (King Kameo: Pawnbroker).
  11. Richard E Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? 2018.   Grant’s agent gave him a script and told him he had 24 hours to read it and say yay or nay. “What is this,  Mission Impossible,” said Grant. “Who’s dropped dead or who’s dropped out?”  The trish O’Dowd was out of the project, stalled when auteur Nicole Holofcener  sacked Julianne Moore.  Melissa McCarthy took her place (the already cast Ben Falcone, suggested her – well, that’s what husbands are for). Sam Rockwell passed on the real-life literary forgery scam artist Jack Hock. Grant grabbed it – and an Oscar nomination.  Grant is proof that if you made a cult classic as early as your third film, you’re  never out of work. His was Whitnail & I in 1986 and this was 122nd role since then.

  12. Ewan McGregor, Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), 2019.  Copley and (the faviourite matrix but busy) Sam, Rockwell were in the panel for Black Mask – nabbed by McGregor. Unlike Marvel, when a DCharacter is called Black Something (Black Mask, Black Canary), he or she isn’t.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  12