Scrolling through Twitter yesterday, I noticed the following tweet from Vincent D’Onofrio:
Two thoughts crossed my mind. Firstly, if he has never won an award or even been nominated for anything, that is a crime. Secondly, it’s nice to see he still acknowledges that Stanley Kubrick gave him his career, and if I need to tell you the film, I’ll also need to bitch-slap you. Sorry, rules is rules…
Anyway, back to the first point. Turns out I should really read the full story. They were talking specifically about that film from the first paragraph (I feel like I could torture you if you don’t know which one by not calling it by name, but I’m sure you could just go here and find out) in which he played easily the most memorable character, Private Pyle. As implied by the tweet, this was D’Onofrio’s first foray into a big production. I wonder if he knew then how much of a hit the film would become or how his ordeal and conclusion in the story would be one of the most recognisable stories in movie history.
Following a string of TV shows and movies in the early 90’s, Vincent once again proved his acting skills in the 1996 movie The Whole Wide World (It’s important to pick this one specifically, to support a point later on). Set in the 1930’s, he plays a writer who attracts the attention of a schoolteacher (and aspiring writer) played by Renée Zellweger.
He also played Edgar in Men in Black, who most people my age will probably remember as the main villian from the first movie. Odds are you’ve seen him in a few things before you even knew who he was. To look at his acting credits, he’s covered a variety of roles in a variety of genres, from Horror movies to a long-running role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
My personal favourite character, and this will probably be the same for a lot of people due to its high-profile nature, has to be Wilson Fisk aka The Kingpin, in Netflix’s Daredevil TV Series. As amazing as Charlie Cox is at playing Matt Murdock, he always seems to be upstaged by someone else (Vincent D’Onofrio in Season 1 and John Bernthal in Season 2). Wilson Fisk was soft-spoken and calm in manner, almost seeming timid at times. However, D’Onofrio’s ability to show the many different aspects to the character made for compelling viewing. There was always a threat of a burning rage ready to erupt at any moment. Like when he appears in Ben Urich’s office for a calm chat with the reporter, there’s a menace in the room that circles like a vicious pet, waiting for the kill command. When it’s unleashed, it is brutal and yet not gratuitous or over-done. That scene provided some of the finest acting in the series. Similarly, his ability to show Fisk’s love for Vanessa is brilliant, balancing a desire to openly love another whilst also navigating the fact he could be awkward with people at times.
The first season basically became a double origin story, as the development of Wilson Fisk into The Kingpin was equally as engrossing as Matt Murdock becoming The Man Without Fear. I genuinely believe any other actor in either of these roles would not have had the whole Marvel TV Series (the plural “series” not the singular one. Serieses?) start off on such a strong note, similar to how RDJ basically set up the tone for the entire start of the MCU. If Fisk hadn’t turned up in season 2, I would have been gutted.
The most interesting thing I discovered about VD (wait, let’s never call him that again… EVER) was that he is willing to change his shape to suit the role he is going into, in the same way actors like Christian Bale are famed for. Everyone knows he did it for Kubrick’s masterpiece, gaining somewhere in the region of 70lbs for the role, but not as many people might realise how hard he works for it in a lot of other roles. In one of his more recent big screen outings, The Magnificent Seven, he had to increase his size and strength to be a considered a bear of a man. This involved eating whatever he wanted with no regard of calorie or macro-nutrient intake, mixed with powerful workouts to build bulk. The result is undeniable, Jack Horne is a bone-breaking, baddie-bashing, bruising badass beast! (I like alliteration, get used to it)
Maybe I’m just over excited because he liked one of my tweets last year…
Which leads nicely into another point I think. The guy spends a lot of time interacting with fans on Twitter, which is a great way keeping going during downtime. He has a lot of love for his supporters and, unlike Fisk, is not awkward in expressing it. Find and follow him on Twitter now!
I guess my point is that Vincent D’Onofrio is an actor who has repeatedly proven that he is not one-dimensional, doing the same things over and over again (unlike Johnny Depp). Plus he learns his lines (unlike Johnny Depp) and is willing to change his appearance and weight/shape for a role (unlike Johnny Depp).
He captures your attention and puts in 100% in whatever he does. From Fire With Fire to Jurassic World, he is memorable, intense and believable. He’s also on 99 film credits on IMDB as i write this, so hopefully number 100 is a big one (Infinity War perhaps??) I guess my other point is, I was relieved to find out he hasn’t been overlooked and has won awards for various film and television roles. The IMDB list of them can be found here for those of you who haven’t already checked it up.