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Jeffrey Jones

March 9, 2007

I was thinking about devoting this blog entry -- no doubt the first of many -- to Johnny Depp. I watched his performance in Tim Burton's Ed Wood again last night, having not seen the film since it was first released in 1994. But I realized this morning while doing one-legged arm curls on a big, inflatable ball at the gym, that it's not Depp that I should be writing about today, but Jeffrey Jones.

Jones is one of those hard-working actors who crops up in countless films but whose name is just beyond reach. I think I first saw him act in Ferris Bueller's Day Off years ago and was quite taken even then with his weak-chinned energy and beady frog eyes. In Ed Wood, Jones plays Criswell, one of the oddball members of the B-movie director's entourage. He's a huckster and a storyteller. A bit of an outsize, aging Artful Dodger.

I've also enjoyed watching this actor in movies as diverse as Amadeus (where his perfunctory "well, there it is" gave the character of Emperor Joseph II a comical edge) and The Crucible (where he lent gravitas to the role of Thomas Putnam.) I think he's one of the most compelling, interesting, magnetic actors on screen.

It's strange, considering how much respect I have for this actor and how many times I've seen him act, that I can never remember his name. Today I had to go to IMDB and look up the cast list for Ed Wood in order to find him.

Like many film actors, Jones operates just below the threshold of recognition, yet he's constantly working and doing great things. He's not a star. He's a real actor. I'd like to see him perform on stage.

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2 Comments:

  • I don't think you'll see him on stage, or in a film, or anywhere else, for a while, Chloe. The sad story is here.

    By Anonymous George Hunka, At March 9, 2007 at 3:13 PM  

  • I like his performance as Emperor Joseph II at "Amadeus".It was really outstanding.

    I think his post-production is "Who's Your Caddy?".
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0785077/
    (of course you know,it's IMDB's data.)
    And "Deadwood" is a product of 2006, so you will not be discourage.I am afraid occasion will less than former,but will not zero.I hope so.

    I live in Japan so that will have no chance watching his performance on stage.
    But perhaps you will.

    I'm sorry my English is so bad.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 19, 2007 at 8:56 AM  

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