We are hitting quite the milestone here at Celebrating the Living today. For the very first time, I’m writing about someone I’ve actually met. Once, many years ago, but still. In fact, I’ve been in a hotel room with him. I mean, it’s not as interesting as it sounds—it was a Lord of the Rings convention, and Merchants’ Row was just the hallway the merchants’ hotel rooms were on, and the merchants closed their doors when their businesses were closed. I was at work, and he had a lovely chat about racetrack rescue greyhounds with my Ren faire boss, who also did cons in those days. He might remember the conversation, but I’d be shocked if he remembers me.
Brad Dourif is a heck of an actor, though. Definitely one of the hardest working people you’ve seen. And if you haven’t seen him, do you even watch movies or TV? His first credited role was in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and he’s so far made a total of 99 movies with five more either announced or in various stages of production. Likewise 53 TV shows with another in production. It doesn’t matter what genre appeals to you; he’s done it. Chris Carter was so determined to get him on The X-Files that he called the president of the network on Thanksgiving; legend has it the guy agreed just so he could get back to his dinner.
It’s really quite sad to me that most of the attention he’s gotten in his career has been for ensemble performances. Oh, of course he’s been in some incredible ensembles, going back as far as Cuckoo’s Nest. (A movie I loathe that nevertheless has an astounding cast.) He’s gotten awards and nominations for ensembles in Lord of the Rings and Deadwood. Not for Dune—I’m not sure any of the ensemble awards existed yet at the time—but Dune has an amazing cast even if you don’t like the movie, which I do.
But he’s an incredibly talented actor, and he’s not the worst part of those ensembles. (A debate I’ll let you have among yourselves.) He’s done some really great work—he’s worked with David Lynch, Spike Lee, and Werner Herzog. I don’t actually have the slightest interest in Child’s Play, but it would not surprise me to learn that he’s the reason the series has lasted as long as it has—one of those upcoming roles is the pilot of a Child’s Play TV show, which I guess is a thing that the fans wanted?
Let’s be real; I, too, am taking a ridiculously long time in getting to him, and as established, I’ve actually met him. He’s incredibly talented and has had an amazing and long career. And, quite simply, people don’t think of him until they see him being incredible. My partner actually expressed surprise that our con was big enough to get him. (I don’t actually know what his appearance fee for cons is, because not my department, but presumably we paid it.) But before he said it, I had to establish for him who Brad Dourif is, which is pretty much what I’m sure he regularly gets.