Before They Were “That Guys”: William Forsythe in “Cloak & Dagger”

Since we just recorded a Shouts From the Back Row podcast on our favourite character actors, a.k.a. “That Guys”, “Before They Were Stars” will temporarily be changing its name to “Before They Were ‘That Guys'” this week, in order to showcase how some of our most prominent character actors started their careers. Today, my feature subject will be another selection from my personal “That Guys” list: William Forsythe. Mr. Forsythe has made a career out of playing mainly tough guys and gruff characters, but in one of his earlier roles, he was cast against type as the ultimate 1980s video game nerd. One of my very first “Robin’s Underrated Gems” columns was for a childhood favourite of mine called Cloak & Dagger, where Henry Thomas of E.T. fame plays a kid who winds acquiring an Atari cartridge containing classified military secrets. At the 1:50 mark of this clip, you’ll see a virtually unrecognizable Forstyhe playing Morris, a geeky game store owner who looks like he hasn’t shaved, showered or cut his hair in months. Nostalgic gamers will probably have a field day just looking at all the old games on display in Morris’ store. The movie’s a whole lot of fun, but it’s almost worth the price of admission just seeing Morris disassemble the Atari cartridge to find the hidden microchip inside and obsessively playing the game in order to unlock the top secret military plans. Ah, the days when this type of technology blew my mind!

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