Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Heart of Darkness; Dillon Calls His Racist Cop Role 'Payback Time' for the LAPD

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Heart of Darkness; Dillon Calls His Racist Cop Role 'Payback Time' for the LAPD

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL FLYNN

THERE'S a quiet intensity that hovers around Matt Dillon, even when he seems at his most relaxed, lying across a sofa in Galway's Harbour Hotel. Yet Dillon feels at home in west Ireland's party town, where he was guest of honour at last month's Galway Film Festival. He is at his ease mainly because he is, as he says, "of Irish Catholic stock". He was born in February 1964, the second of six children, to Mary Ellen and Paul Dillon, a New York stockbroker.

His black jeans, jacket and T-shirt complement the dark features and heavy brooding brow, the face a little fuller compared with the one we remember from his callow youth in the early Eighties, when he was cast as the thug next door in films such as The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. Since his days as a teen idol, the 41-year-old actor has had a habit of disappearing off the movie radar. But 2005 is proving his renaissance. We may have witnessed a few old, reconstructed faces resurfacing this year - in particular Mickey Rourke (who also starred in 1983's Rumble Fish) in Sin City - but Dillon is this year's comeback king with three wildly differing high-profile films.

It's doubtful that any screen actor has made such an eclectic series of choices in quick succession, including his enjoyable panto villain race-car driver in Herbie: Fully Loaded. But it is as a racist Los Angeles cop in Paul Haggis's Crash and, later this year, as the reprobate in Charles Bukowski's Factotum, that he comes into his own. "I'm drawn to play characters who have an edge," says Dillon.

In Crash, a collection of disparate characters collide over two days in the ethnic melting pot of Los Angeles. In a film essentially about race and prejudice, Dillon plays Sergeant Ryan, an unsympathetic LAPD cop who harasses a black Hollywood director (Terrence Dashon Howard) and his wife (Thandie Newton). …

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