- Universal Pictures
In his more than 40-year-long career, Brooklyn-born actor William Forsythe has played his fair share of interesting characters. From shifty prison escapee Evelle Snoats in the Coen brother’s 1987 dark comedy Raising Arizona to butcher and crime boss Manny Horvitz in TV’s Boardwalk Empire, Forsythe has been known to take on some extremely shady roles.
In his newest film, the crime thriller Awake, which hits VOD platforms August 16, Forsythe plays Roger Bower, a local sheriff who teams up with an FBI agent to track down a potential serial killer suffering from amnesia.
- Cinedigm Entertainment Group
“Awake reminded me of a classic thriller – one of those good ol’ throwback movies,” Forsythe, 64, told the Current during an interview last week. “My character is a good man, but he is a tortured man, who is holding secrets.”
It’s not the first time Forsythe has played a character who is consumed by mystery. Some might remember him in the 1984 spy adventure Cloak & Dagger starring San Antonio native Henry Thomas (E.T. the Extraterrestrial) and Dabney Coleman (9 to 5). In the film, which was shot and set in the Alamo City, Forsythe starred as Morris, a video game shop owner who [spoiler alert] meets his demise early in the film when he is asked to inspect a video game cartridge filled with classified military information.
Although he is killed off a little over half an hour into Cloak & Dagger, which celebrated its 35th anniversary last week (it was released in theaters on August 10, 1984), Forsythe said he went all out and gained 70 lbs. for the role.
“I threw myself into it,” he said. “I had already done some good and important work in my career, but I wanted to take a chance and create this character. So, I grew a beard and started drinking Big Gulps. It probably wasn’t worth it. The director didn’t even notice. He was like, ‘Nice beard.’”
Forsythe’s mother did notice, however. He had just starred as a thin, clean-shaven gangster named Cockeye alongside Robert de Niro in filmmaker Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America the year before, so the change in appearance came as a shock to her.
- Universal Pictures
“My own mother didn’t even recognize me,” he said. “She thought some weird guy with a beard was coming after her. She was screaming, ‘What did you do?!’”
Besides scaring his mom half to death for the movie, Forsythe remembers how “fabulous” of an actor Thomas was as a kid and playing Dungeons and Dragons with him on the set in San Antonio.
“I have good memories,” Forsythe said. “I had a good time even though it’s the only movie I’ve ever done where, for half the movie, I’m dead.”