I was flipping around the TV last night and came across a rerun of Bones, which is a show that I usually never watch, but I left this episode on because Loren Dean was in it. (He has an infrequently recurring role as Bones’ brother.) It seemed like, in the late 1990s, that he was on the verge of Hollywood stardom, after roles films such as the underrated Mumford and Apollo 13 (where he affects the most perfect nerd diction as one of the NASA technicians). Or maybe in indies and foreign films after his work in the wonderful The War Bride and Wim Wenders’ The End of Violence. I loved the odd onscreen quality that Dean had, sort of nice boy-next-door but with dark and even menacing undertones — in fact, that quality of his partly inspired me to write my screenplay Cat and Mouse; I created the protagonist with him in mind.
Dean’s IMDB page shows that after vanishing from the scene for several years in the early 2000s, he’s now showing up once in a while in guest spots on TV shows. I don’t like to think that maybe, I dunno, he was sick or something, and now isn’t able to work more regularly because of that. I don’t much care about gossipy personal stuff anyway, but it also would be a different matter from what I suspect maybe the case: that he’s just too odd a screen presence and no one knows what to do with him, and/or that he wants more interesting roles than are on offer. (And TV does, at least, at the moment, offer far more creative challenges to actors than film does.) The idea that a talented actor with a distinctive quality can’t get enough work? That would make me mad.
Anyway, today’s question is: What actors who should be working (or working more) make you wonder, Hey, whatever happened to them?
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