James Ransone

The Baltimore-born James Ransone‘s had a few false starts along his decade-long career so far, but hopefully a recent run of success will mean more people start taking notice again. The actor made his debut in Larry Clark‘s controversial, little-seen “Ken Park,” giving a storming performance as the auto-aspyhixiating, murderous Tate. Even if people didn’t see it, he didn’t have to wait for too long for more exposure. He played Ziggy, one of the most memorable (and infuriating) characters on the divisive second season of HBOclassic “The Wire,” a few small movie roles followed, but Ransone was hooked on heroin in his mid-20s, weighing a mere 115 pounds, and ended up 30 grand in debt, which understandably curtailed his career somewhat. When ‘Wire’ creator David Simon cast him again in military miniseries “Generation Kill,” Ransone sorted himself out, and has steadily been climbing up the ladder again. HBO has continued to be good to him, with recurring roles on “How To Make It In America” and “Treme,” and after smaller parts in “Prom Night” and “The Next Three Days,” he’s had more impressive parts in indie favorite “Starlet,” and stole the show as the deputy in horror sleeper “Sinister.” Next year should be good to him, too. He’s got roles in Albert Hughes’ Broken City,” Dito Montiel‘s “Empire State,” AMC pilot “Low Winter Sun” with Mark Strong, indie “The Timber” and Jim Sturgess vehicle “Electric Slide.” Perhaps most importantly, he’s become something of a protege of Spike Lee. After cropping up in “Inside Man” and “Red Hook Summer,” the director cast him in a key role in his “Oldboy” remake when Nate Parker dropped out. This is all heading in the right direction, but Ransone strikes us as the kind of guy who deserves leads, the kind of parts a young Pacino would have played. And we hope that casting directors start to realize the same thing soon.

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