By Adrian Ernesto Cepeda
Friend of WordTheatre® Stephen Tobolowsky, character actor extraordinaire who cinephiles will recognize from his memorable roles in Sneakers, The Insider, Groundhog Day, Memento, and Robots, can be found on the big screen once again in The Barber.
You may be wondering how Tobolowsky seamlessly finds his way into such well-known supporting roles as Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day. Well, Stephen shared some of his secrets of his craft with A More Beautiful Question, when the actor said, “ I think improvisation works because it’s about the leap and not about the landing. It says, “It doesn’t matter where you land. You could succeed and fail and that’s not the issue. The issue is that you take the leap.” When you take the leap, it allows instincts to take over. […] I think that’s what improv does; it frees you in that way. It says it’s okay to have instincts and okay to fail. It’s a free place to fail.”
Clearly, improv has worked well for Stephen as he has found success in a plethora of character roles since his first performance in 1984’s The Philadelphia Experiment. And now he continues his extraordinary career with The Barber.
Directed by Basel Owies, The Barber, which stars Scott Glen, tells the cinematic story of two men fixated on what triggers the enormity of evil: a father whose life is destroyed in pursuit of a killer, a son caught in a deadly charade as he tries to unravel his father’s obsession. The film is already getting rave reviews as The Wrap declared that The Barber has “a slow-burn sensibility” and made special shout outs to the supporting cast, especially Tobolowsky’s role as Chief Hardaway.
Stephen Tobolowsky has found his calling playing character roles. It is something both enjoyable and challenging as he admitted to Interviewly, “character actors have to invent that life off screen and bring that reality on screen. It’s much more imaginative work and the hours are better.” So cheers to our dear friend who has thrived in the entertainment industry by perfecting the art of reinvention.