I just got off of a conference call with a few other journalists and the actor Benjamin McKenzie, who is best known for his starring role on television’s The O.C. (2003-2007), and who will next be seen opposite Al Pacino in the crime thriller 88 Minutes (4/18, Columbia).
I was never as crazy about The O.C. as many of my friends were, but I do remember being struck by McKenzie’s portrayal of a troubled, brooding guy from a working-class family thrust into upper-class society. He played another outsider in the great little indie Junebug (2005) and again caught my eye—despite Amy Adams’ remarkable scene-stealing—as a Ryan Gosling/Heath Ledger type with loads of promise. I wish I could tell you how he does in this latest performance, but the film has not been screened for critics; there is some speculation that it is a bit disappointing and is only getting a theatrical release (as opposed to straight-to-DVD) as a courtesy to Pacino. Who knows?
What I can tell you is that I shot off two ‘bigger picture’ questions to McKenzie, who is 29, during the call—one about the challenges of playing other characters when one is so closely associated with one, and one about our culture’s obsession with celebrity—both of which he responded to insightfully, as you can hear by playing the podcast below…