Saturday, April 30, 2005

Hank Azaria - The Everyman's Actor, by Kirk

Hank Azaria made an appearance on Letterman the other night to promote his new Broadway show, an all singing, all dancing Monty Python musical! And this got me thinking about what a great all round performer he is without necessarily getting the recognition he deserves.

Most famous, arguably, without ever been seen as the voices of Apu, Chief Wiggum, etc. in The Simpsons, he has also been in a string of terrific films over the last decade - Pretty Woman, Quiz Show, Heat, Grosse Pointe Blank, Cradle Will Rock, Shattered Glass and Woody Allen's underrated Celebrity to name a handful. He was unlucky not to make the A-List with Godzilla a few years back, but lucky for us as he remains one of the most versatile and talented supporting actors in Hollywood - the kind of actor whose longevity never outstays his welcome, and who gives the impression of being a really nice guy to boot. The movie roles he plays, though, rarely seem to stretch him; he is often cast as the likable ‘everyman’ and I'm certain he's capable of so much more. The Simpsons has proved he is a natural voice artist and impeccable mimic with a deadly sense of timing - I hope his career eventually gives him the chance to use these talents more overtly. Perhaps the Monty Python show does just that... Another reason for me to wish I lived in NYC.


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