Review: That Guy…Who Was in That Thing (2012)
That Guy…Who Was in That Thing features interviews with 16 of Hollywood’s most recognizable character actors. The title of the film is very apt as each actor is, at once, both recognizable, but un-nameable, therefore becoming “that guy who was in that thing.” It’s interesting to hear about the Hollywood ‘game’ of auditions and politics from the perspective of background players, but overall there was too much emphasis on talking heads, and not enough other visuals (short of movie stills) to keep the film going.
That Guy…Who Was in That Thing also had very little structure in terms of the interview topics. It seemed to be more free flowing conversation with actors like Robert Joy, Paul Guilfoyle (of CSI fame) and others, that was cut up after the fact and spliced together. As a result the whole film feels longer than it should. A better approach would have been to focus on fewer subjects and get a more in depth sense of their experience as opposed to stuffing the (similar) stories of 16 actors into one doc. It also would have been great to see some of the experiences being described. For instance, all the actors in the doc discuss their dislike of the audition process, but an actual audition is never shown! It would have been great to see an audition from their perspective (perhaps a hidden camera on the lapel?) This may have been difficult to accomplish because of rights issues, but it would have benefited the film greatly.
I’m curious about why That Guy…Who Was in That Thing focused solely on male players. Would the title not have worked if actresses had been included? More women, and more minorities should have been featured in this film to break up the monotony of the white male actor experience. By including only white males, the filmmakers seem to be suggesting that only these actors are recognizable, but I can think of many talented female players that warranted a mention.
Another area where That Guy…Who Was in That Thing falls flat is the cinematography. A lot of the interviews are too dark, too bright or don’t match previous shots for the same subject. The whole thing feels very amateur, and the film does not do justice to these hardworking folks, who barely get enough recognition as it is. I would recommend this film for anyone looking to learn a few amusing tidbits about male American character actors (but nothing more).