here). Until then, I hope you enjoy my insight into the wonderful career of this most talented character actor.
I don’t want to spoil Jack McCall’s big statement, but I will say that it makes for one of Deadwood’s most memorable moments. There wasn’t an inkling of Garret Dillahunt to be found in Jack McCall. It’s an actor wholly committed to displaying a truly vile man.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
That’s one of my favorite lines from No Country for Old Men, delivered by the film’s main source of comic relief, Deputy Wendell. Wendell’s a hard character to pull off – the amicable buffoon stuck in the dead-serious thriller. But among the many feats in the Coen brothers’ canon is an exquisite sense of comedic timing. They know how and when an amusing line should be delivered, but finding the appropriate actor to execute those lines is certainly no easy task. Enter Garret Dillahunt, who struts onto No Country for Old Men as a guy perpetually two steps behind.
There are really two schools of thought when it comes to comedy: play it straight, or go for the laugh. Dillahunt isn’t playing it straight here, but he’s so good at masking his humor. We believe this is how Wendell really behaves, and that, perhaps, is the greatest gift an actor can bestow.
Raising Hope (2010-2014)
Winter’s Bone (2010)
“Is this gonna be our time?” Teardrop blankly asks through his driver’s side mirror. Fearing the worst, Baskin backs down. Think about the psychology of this scene for a moment. Think about the humiliation and dereliction of duty Sheriff Baskin must feel in backing down from a mean old bastard with a rifle. Honestly, it doesn’t require much thought, because it is written all over Dillahunt’s conflicted face, resulting in a wonderfully taut moment between two great character actors.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
The Best of the Best
In the truest sense of the term, Dillahunt’s work here is a genuine role reversal. Jack McCall is the loud braggart, filthy from years of whiskey and nights in the mud. Francis Wolcott is the two-faced gentleman, with a proper, well-kempt exterior that conceals his tormented, psychopathic personality. The first time I watched the show, I genuinely had no idea they were both Dillahunt, which is a testament to his abilities.
As mentioned, Francis Wolcott has some issues. At first meeting, there’s nothing in place to rouse our suspicions about Wolcott. He’s an unassuming geologist working for George Hearst, sent to Deadwood to evaluate its land. But as the season progresses, we’re privy to Wolcott’s inner madness. A sexual deviant and habitual murderer, there’s seemingly no end to Wolcott’s grotesque behavior. Thing is, he’s aware of the brutality of his actions; ashamed by then, even. He regrets his misdeeds, but simply can’t curb his lust for murder. All of this, it should be noted, is contained within Wolcott’s inward sensibilities. There’s nothing flashy about his crimes; they’re instead committed with a shameful monotony.
Simply put, Francis Wolcott was one of Deadwood’s most complex characters; an utterly fascinating portrayal of a man gone mad, never to return.
Other Notable Roles
The Believer (2001)
The 4400 (2005-2006)
The Book of Daniel (2006)
The Book of Daniel (2006)
John from Cincinnati (2007)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009)
The Last House on the Left (2009)
The Road (2009)
Burn Notice (2010-2013)
Any Day Now (2012)
Looper (2012)Houston (2013)