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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 easier!"

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, very understated."

"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 script."

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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