That Guy…Who Was in That Thing

that guy poster

In my family we have our own version of the “Celebrity Game.” It involves player 1 saying the name of a famous individual (e.g. Brad Pitt) and the next in line using the first letter of the surname as the first letter of another celebrity’s first name (e.g. Paul Giamatti), and so on. On road trips my sister and I have played this game for hours without repeating names. It’s a point of pride recognizing and remembering names. Yet, despite the countless names I remember, there are still those pesky character actors that can never be recognized except for as That Guy…Who Was in That Thing.



Chronicling the careers of character actors, That Guy provides the story of a dozen or so different actors who many will recognize for certain roles. We see Bruce Davison…you know, the senator in the first X-Men who eventually melted on the beach. No? How about Zeljko Ivanek from Argo, In Bruges, or countless other films and shows. Still nothing? Ok, what about Xander Berkeley from Taken, Gattaca, Air Force One, or as the president in 24?

Well, you may not know their names, but you sure know their faces. The remaining actors on the list are equally recognizable as “Hey, that guy.” Like many, I’ve always wondered what a life must be like for these guys because they are rarely recurring characters. Most often, they hardly even get lines.


This little film gives an all-encompassing look into the stressful, thankless job of the actors that “move the plot along.” As one points out, more often than not these guys are in the trailer explicitly describing the conflict (e.g. “You’re going to be evicted if you can’t make the payment”). To someone not in the business, the description of their work sounds fairly swanky. They get higher treatment and paid fairly well. There is one problem though. That one check typically has to last them months.

That Guy first showcases the actors’ works and then gets into the nitty gritty with some compelling anecdotes from each actor. The most common theme stemming from each interview is the love of acting. No matter how hard life gets or how long between paychecks, these guys simply love acting and want to do it for a living.

I like to think the purpose of That Guy is more than simply telling the story of some actors you might not know. It’s more about appreciating the unknowns. Sure, each actor would love for the rest of us to know his name, but that’s not the point. The characters not in the spotlight are still essential to the whole. A movie, play, or television show is the sum of its parts, not equivalent to the star power of its headliners.

that guy 2

In that regard, That Guy works brilliantly. You develop a sort of gratitude for these men who risk financial and occupational security simply to get the thrill of being on screen/stage. However, these stories are not terribly long ones, so the film drags a bit. Yes, the director tries to alleviate this by including so many different actors, but they all have the same story more or less (not to diminish their personal backgrounds). Also, the absence of a feminine presence is a little disconcerting since I know there are an equal, if not greater, number of female character actors out there.

All in all, That Guy is an interesting rendering of a part of show business that is often ignored.

**I couldn’t find a trailer for this one unfortunately. I’ll keep digging a bit later when I have some time. You can click the ad to satiate your need to watch a video when visiting MHMR 🙂

  1. This sounds great. I can see the point about it being same-y, but still. I’d enjoy this.

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