Tom Sizemore has been in some brilliant films. And he’s been great in them. As an uncredited DEA agent in ‘Point Break’, via a despicable detective in ‘Natural Born Killers’ to a fearless soldier in ‘Black Hawk Down’, he’s a magnetic screen presence. And that’s not even counting his stoic sergeant in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and loyal thief in ‘Heat’. The slightly twitchy mouth, face filmed with sweat, a demeanour that seems like it could explode at any second, he’s an actor you always want to watch.
Which is why it’s so disappointing that his most recent movie roles have included starring alongside Vinnie Jones and Dominique Swain in ‘6 Ways To Sundown’ and playing a racist prisoner in ‘Cellmates’, a film that looks like it was made on the set of a porn film once the performers have gone home for the day.
In other words, all has not been well in the world of Tom Sizemore.
Much of this isn’t surprising considering his well-charted off-screen troubles. In February, the 52-year-old had to issue a public apology after wrongly claiming Elizabeth Hurley had had an affair with Bill Clinton.
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This was one of the long stream of issues related to a sustained period of substance abuse, which saw the actor sent to jail for physically assaulting his girlfriend (former madam) Heidi Fleiss.
There were also flings with Hurley and Juliette Lewis, meth-fuelled nights out with Hollywood superstars and a sex tape – in between memorable performances in Scorsese’s ‘Bringing Out The Dead’ and blockbusters like ‘Pearl Harbor’.
But while some actors-cum-drug-addicts have been allowed back into the industry VIP room with nary a sideways glance (Robert Downey Jr, Drew Barrymore), Sizemore’s journey appears to be filled with more obstacles.
WHAT HE’S DOING
The trailer for ‘Reach Me’ has already been dubbed one of the worst of 2014. And a quick Internet trawl of his latest projects suggests a career desperately in need of rehab. He pays homage to his addict past as a drugs counselor in horror/thriller ‘Private Number’ with that bloke who was in ‘Dawson’s Creek’ for a while (no, that one, the one you don’t remember).
In ‘Bordering on Bad Behavior’, he’s an American soldier locked up for six hours with an Israeli and an Arab. Hi-jinks don’t appear to ensue. And his role in ‘Terms & Conditions’ – playing baddie El Viejo – is almost incomprehensible. He’s giving it his verbose all in the trailer, but the results are utterly baffling. In 2014 alone, he is due to appear in 19 films. Of the footage available online, only ‘The Bronx Bull’ – a sequel to ‘Raging Bull’ no less – looks like it might be watchable. And he’s not playing the lead.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN
So what can he do?
- For starters, he needs to learn how to say no. He has another six movies scheduled for 2015. There may be legal and rehab bills to pay, but a comeback is never going to happen with this much pap on your CV.
- Smile a bit more and be ostentatious about your positives. Downey Jr (who starred with Sizemore in 1993’s ‘Hearts and Souls’) shrugged off his druggie past with jokes and a new, classy wife. Sizemore needs to do the same.
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- He needs to reconnect with the people who think he’s great. Spielberg, Marty Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Michael Bay – they’re all still A-list directors. Swallow your pride, get them on the phone and ask for a favour.
- Court Tarantino: Quentin is the king of comeback. John Travolta owes the last 20 years to him, he has recalibrated the careers of people like Samuel L Jackson and Kurt Russell and his films are littered with previously-forgotten stars, including Pam Grier and Don Johnson. With ‘The Hateful Eight’ due to film next year, there are parts a-begging. Also, the pair have previous - Sizemore auditioned six times to play Mr Pink in ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and only just missed out on the part.
- Look to TV. There’s a new series of ‘True Detective’ on the way. Marvel are bringing some of their superheroes to Netflix. Hell, there’s always another CSI on the docket. The small screen is where some of today’s best roles and performances are happening. And being recognized.
- Find the new hot shot. Paul Thomas Anderson has a familiar repertory company that was forged in his first film ‘Hard Eight’. The same can be said of Christopher Nolan. Sizemore needs to get his agent digging around the latest tyro directors to whom he can hitch his talented wagon.
So…enough of Assemblyman Dean Batta in ‘Clandestine’, so long Orphanage Headmaster in ‘Laugh Killer Laugh’. And please not another visit to ‘Celebrity Rehab’. For 2016, Tom Sizemore should be all about landing a supporting role in ‘Captain America 3’ or the next ‘Bourne’. And then there’s the follow-up to ‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’ or Spielberg’s ‘Halo’ TV series. You can do it, Tom. You can do it.
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Photos: Press Association/Rex/Moviestore/Everett Collection/KPA/Zuma