Think fast: when was the first time you remember seeing Sam Rockwell on the big screen? Most people probably caught up with him in the late-1990s in films like “Safe Men,” “The Green Mile” and “Galaxy Quest.” Others perked up, surely, when George Clooney had the vision to give him the starring role in “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.” For me, it was a near walk-on in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
He’s come a long way since taking on the role of a punk kid in the Foot Clan factory. I’ve loved him in pretty much everything, be it his aptly named Jimmy Silk in David Mamet’s “Heist,” his equally compelling grifter in Ridley Scott’s “Matchstick Men,” his underrated portrayal alongside Casey Affleck and Brad Pitt in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” or, certainly, his pitch-perfect work in last year’s sadly forgotten (come awards season) “Moon.”
This year the actor is poised to potentially break out into the Oscar scene with a quality, lived-in piece of work in Tony Goldwyn’s “Conviction.” Rockwell stars as Kenny Waters, a Massachusetts bad boy wrongfully imprisoned and eventually freed through the diligence of his sister, Betty Anne, who put herself through law school in order to prove his innocence. Fox Searchlight has provided us with an exclusive clip featuring Goldwyn and Betty Anne Waters discussing the casting of the role. Check it out after the jump.
And why not, here he is in the aforementioned 1990 hit: