Joe Mantegna played the lead roles in David Mamet’s House of Games and Homicide. Mantegna and Mamet started out together as actors in Chicago theater in the 1970s, before Mamet turned playwright. Mantegna went on to win a Tony Award for his performance in Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Glengarry Glen Ross. Often playing what he once called “the excellent man,” Mantegna has starred in more than forty films and currently appears on CBS’s Criminal Minds.
1. How cool is it to see Burt Lancaster flip Hume Cronyn off the wall? I love prison films, and this is one of the best. Bravo, Jules!
2. I remember seeing this film and wondering when anyone was going to say anything. What a testament to this great film that, with no dialogue for minutes on end, it keeps you riveted.
3. Robert Mitchum is one of my favorites, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with and becoming a friend of Peter Yates. Both were in top form with this one.
4. My dear friend Dan Lauria turned me on to a few of the selections presented here. Mickey Rooney in The Comedian gave me a whole new respect for him as an actor, and Marty and Days of Wine and Roses are both must-sees for any aspiring actor.
5. There are a few Fellini films that could fill this category, but this one is special to me, as I saw it at an age that I think helped me become intrigued with the world of film.
6. Love the Brits’ sense of humor, and I’d watch Peter O’Toole do almost anything.
7. We need one costume drama in here, and I love the fact that Kirk Douglas gave blacklisted Dalton Trumbo a shot at the script. This is a great film on many levels.
8. Jules Dassin again. One of those movies that I wish I was around then and could have been in . . . if I could speak French!
9. Okay, maybe one more costume drama, but what a one it is. Bertolucci is a favorite of mine, and this is one of those majestic films that remind you how powerful the medium can be.
10. I hope it’s not too egocentric of me to choose a film that I’m in, but I’ve had a more than thirty-five-year connection to David Mamet, and this being our first film together makes it very special for me.