The Supporting Cast
Working with Jackson and Spacey in supporting roles was a group of highly respected actors, most of whom are also stage-trained
Working with Jackson and Spacey in supporting roles was a group
of highly respected actors, most of whom are also stage-trained.
"They all brought different things to the table," says
Gary Gray, "all different colors that made this painting.
And that's what I liked about the ensemble; they were all so different
from each other, so no matter what came out of their mouths, there
was a strong individual point of view. They made my job a lot
According to David Nicksay, "The actors brought a great amount
of mystery to their roles. As characters, we're not certain where
they stand, we're not sure which side they're on, and that's very
critical to the storytelling in this film. We need to be suspicious
of each character at every step along the way.
David Morse, who plays Commander Beck, the head of the TAC force,
at 6'5", with a shaven head, brought enormous power
to his role. "Adam Beck, the SWAT Commander, is extremely
professional, almost to the point of being annoying," says
Morse, "but the thing that's foremost in his mind is the
welfare of his men; it's his greatest responsibility and he truly
takes it to heart. And he has very little sense of humor about
anything. Beck has very strong feelings about the right way to
do things, and he's at odds with the way that first Danny Roman
and then Chris Sabian do their jobs."
Says Arnon Milchan, "Ron Rifkin's a very unlikely choice
to play Commander Frost, a friend and colleague of Danny's who
becomes one of the hostages. But he gives a great performance,
"I'd never done a film like this before, never played this
kind of character before, a guy who's deputy chief of police of
Chicago," says Ron Rifkin. "I usually play either European,
sophisticated people, or urban people, lawyers, doctors. Just
on that basis alone, Frost seemed to be an intriguing character
for me to play. It was also an interesting cast and I liked the
Regina Taylor, who plays Danny's wife Karen, says, "I felt
in the character of Karen Roman there was an intriguing personality.
I liked the relationship between Karen and Danny, and I wanted
to explore it with Sam, with whom I've worked before on an episode
of 'I'll Fly Away.' Karen and Danny are newlyweds and they're
trying to find the boundaries of their relationship. I think what
attracts Karen to Danny is that he's a risk-taker, but that horrifies
her as well, because she doesn't want to lose him. And that's
her whole drama throughout the film -- she cares about him, but
what excites her about him is the same thing that puts all of
them in peril."
As for working again with Jackson, Taylor enthuses, "It's
a wonderful rapport that we have; there is an innate energy between
us and he's such a solid actor that he uses that and we bounce
off each other in our scenes.
"My character, Niebaum, is the head of the Chicago LAD and
he gets some information through an informant that there's a scam
going on," said J.T. Walsh. "Danny Roman takes me hostage
and wants me to open up about what I know so he can clear his
name, but to his frustration I won't, particularly when I have
the whole Chicago police force outside ready to help me. Our interaction
tests both of our wills."
John Spencer as Chief Al Davis, Danny's boss, "feels like
Chicago," according to Hoberman. "He's the calming influence
between Chris Sabian and Commander Beck during<
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