Thursday, December 18, 2014

Michael Clarke Duncan Remembered

Movie Fans Loved Gentle Giant Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan Remembered

There's a nice bit in the Hollywood Reporter about the late Michael Clarke Duncan -- a quote from his agent saying that when people saw him in the street they didn't ask for autographs, they asked for hugs.

Duncan was a big man (over 6-5) with a booming voice, former bouncer and bodyguard who had more than a few tough guy/bad guy roles (including "Daredevil"), but there was a warmth to him that fans and moviegoers instinctively connected with.

Precisely the quality that Frank Darabont was looking for when he cast the role of hulking death row inmate John Coffey in the 1999 hit "The Green Mile," choosing Duncan, a virtually unknown actor at the time. Duncan, the former bouncer, had bonded with ex-bartender Bruce Willis on the set of "Armageddon" a year earlier, and Willis had personally recommended Duncan for the role. Willis and Duncan went on to make four movies together, including "The Whole Nine Yards," "Breakfast of Champions" and "Sin City." 

Early in his career Duncan was typecast as a bouncer/enforcer type, but later showed a knack for comedy. I'll remember him "Talladega Nights," trying to keep a straight face while while Will Ferrell stabs himself in a futile attempt to prove he has no feeling in his legs. 

Duncan recently succumbed to the after-effects of a heart attack suffered in July. He was 54.

 

 

Gary Thompson Daily News Film Critic
About this blog
Gary Thompson is the Daily News film critic. Reach Gary at thompsg@phillynews.com.

Gary Thompson Daily News Film Critic
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