Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Monday’s “That Guy:” Peter Greene

In Movies, That Guys on April 13, 2010 at 1:20 am

The other day I was watching the new Timothy Olyphant cop show, Justified. In the opening scene, Olyphant’s U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens has a showdown with a Miami crime boss. This scene, which is great, really sets the tone for the whole show. This two actor scene needs someone who can bring the intensity to match Olyphant (whose intensity is already legendary to you Deadwood fans. Anyway, who was the actor but Peter Greene. Greene isn’t maybe the best known, but I always find his performances mesmerizing. He has this sheer natural talent; this completely natural delivery that makes me upset that he isn’t more well known. The man may be a little limited, at least in what I’ve seen, in the roles he can play. He has criminal lowlife down so well, however, he should be in every crime movie. Let’s look at what Peter Greene, my “that guy” for the week, has done. I’m sure you will agree with me soon.

The first time I ever saw Greene was in a small movie called Laws of Gravity about some small time Brooklyn hoods whom get in over their heads. The acting, simply stated, is phenomenal. Greene was one of the leads and, after just a few scenes, I wanted to see more this guy. The movie is so gritty, it almost hurts to watch. It portrays a world I don’t want to live in. Hell, I have a hard time even visiting. I’m not sure if this movie is even available and I’ve only ever met a few lucky people who ever saw it. Anyway, this movie put Peter Greene on my map.

Zed's afternoon takes a turn for the...well...just terrible.

He had a string of very strong roles in the 90’s. To start, he was the immortal Zed in Pulp Fiction. He brings such a creepy, yet believable vibe to that role. Why he has never appeared in another Tarantino film is beyond me. Besides that, he was Redfoot from The Usual Suspects. Again, playing a fence was right in his wheelhouse and when he flicks a real lit cigarette at Stephen Baldwin’s eye…what else can you say? Finally, he was the main villain in Jim Carey’s The Mask, bringing a well-realized reality to a movie that had no need of it. It seemed like Peter Greene’s star was on the rise at the end of the last century.

And then he kind of disappeared. He had some roles, for sure, like in Blue Streak . He showed up briefly in Training Day and had a role on the short-lived Black Donnellys, but his exposure has been very low. I’ve heard rumors of personal problems and maybe that contributed to me not seeing a lot of him. Whatever the reason, I think we all need some more Peter Greene in our lives. I hope his brief but important part in Justifiedmeans I’ll be seeing more of him soon.

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  1. I like Justified. Good show.

    Also, I ate dinner next to Peter Greene once in L.A. It was in the same restaurant that I saw Margaret Cho. For awhile there… she was a drunk. Coincidence? Who’s to say…

  2. You could say PG is really a method actor attracted to those darker roles. Greene hid out in theaters after running away from home and drifted into acting, eventually excelling at portraying villains, all the while ingesting various drugs from cocaine to heroin. He’s saw the death of at least one person, up close and personal, along the way. Greene has admitted to attempting suicide in March 1996. Shortly thereafter, he sought treatment for his addictions. Having seen him around, he’s as intense in life as on-screen. Glad he’s still working and, hopefully, clean.

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