Measuring the Ruler
Forest Whitaker pulls out all the stops to embody "The Last King of Scotland"

Back Stage | December 26, 2006

By Nicole Kristal

Known for his sensitivity, gentility, and vulnerability onscreen, Forest Whitaker didn't immediately strike first-time feature director Kevin Macdonald as the dictator type during casting for The Last King of Scotland, a fictionalized thriller that centers on real-life Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who draws a naive Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) into his inner circle. Even after meeting with Whitaker, the director wasn't convinced that the Emmy winner and two-time Screen Actors Guild Award nominee was right for the part, so Macdonald asked him to participate in a "work session." ...

The Dark Avenger
Michael C. Hall takes a killer role to the next level on 'Dexter.'

Back Stage | December 03, 2007

By Nicole Kristal
Michael C. Hall never intended to become casting directors' go-to guy for death-centric dramas. True, after playing mortician David Fisher for five seasons on HBO's Six Feet Under, he began wielding saws and knives as the title serial killer on Showtime's Dexter. The last thing he wanted to do after putting aside the embalming fluid was commit to another one-hour drama with 11-to-15-hour workdays. But after reading the script for Dexter, Hall didn't feel he had a choice...


American Filmmaker in 'Paris'
Julie Delpy learns to create her own best roles.

Back Stage | August 14, 2007

By Nicole Kristal

"I don't audition much, because people don't really call me for anything," says actor Julie Delpy with a laugh. The statement is hard to believe. Sharp intelligence and edgy humor permeate Delpy's performances, the most impressive of which are in roles she has written for herself...

Lighting Up

Back Stage | December 05, 2007

By Nicole Kristal
It's been a long time since Mary-Louise Parker has been typecast as the "long-suffering girl next door" (aka the girl who always dies in movies). Though she earned those stripes for bringing audiences to tears by croaking in films such as Fried Green Tomatoes and Boys on the Side, those performances — which formerly defined Parker's 22-year career — have since been replaced by her 2001 Tony Award-winning turn as Catherine in Proof and her now-signature role as Nancy Botwin on Weeds, which won her a 2006 Golden Globe for best actress and Golden Globe and Emmy nominations this year...

Spousal Support
As Larry David's put-upon wife in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' Cheryl Hines takes suffering to new heights

Back Stage | Dec. 14, 2006
By Nicole Kristal

If you want to know why viewers have found HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm so consistently funny for the past five seasons, look no further than Groundlings alumna Cheryl Hines. As Larry David's onscreen wife—named Cheryl—Hines has the abnormally daunting mission of taking David to task for his inappropriate behavior...