Share via Email Sofia's choice: Stone was casting World Trade Center, looking for an actor to play the cop who finds Nicolas Cage buried alive in the rubble. Dorff wanted the part, but Stone wouldn't give it to him.
I look like this now cos I'm not playing the part! If you give me the part, I'm gonna look completely different, I'm gonna sound completely different. Are you telling me that I can't do my job? But the movie's so dark — you can't even tell it's me! I worked hard and I totally disappeared into the role. And I said to myself then, 'I've gotta get back into this. And I don't wanna do it any more. His TV career began in the mids, his film career in the mids, when his artistic decline began almost immediately.
No matter that he was the smart, sexy star of youth-orientated movies like the Beatles biopic Backbeat or co-starred with such heavyweights as Jack Nicholson and Michael Caine in Blood And Wine, by he was already in grade-Z genre fare with titles like Space Truckers and Quantum Project. Two years after that, he almost sealed his fate by playing the bad guy in vampire thriller Blade; it killed his career almost stone dead, and for a full decade — in which the only high point was a berserk John Waters comedy, Cecil B Demented — it seemed he'd never get a serious role again.
With Sofia Coppola 's new film Somewhere, however, Dorff is getting a second chance, much like the character he plays. More than a little similar to Coppola's breakout film Lost In Translation, Somewhere is about a hotel, a girl and a father figure, although this time the father figure really is the girl's father.
Not that you'd know it. Played with heartbreaking sincerity by Dorff, Johnny Marco is a suburban lost boy wrapped up in a Hollywood star persona. He drinks too much, pops pills, screws any woman with a pulse, and has next to no interest in his year-old daughter Cleo Elle Fanning. But when his estranged partner leaves the preternaturally grown-up Cleo with him for a long weekend, Marco's dormant conscience starts to stir. Like Marco, Dorff comes with a lot of baggage, but he's also very hard to resist.
His pretty-boy, leading man face now bears a few more interesting character-actor lines, and his body language is alpha male but loose and friendly. He slouches in his seat, squints like Columbo when he's thinking, and makes a lot of eye contact. For Dorff, just the chance to play a human being in Coppola's new film was a godsend. I mean, before the crop of British movie stars came, I was playing all those parts.
And then the whole world changed. The movie business, the TV business and the internet became one big unisex … bikini! And I found myself a little lost, because we used to have this movie club where I knew who my competitors were. But then the rules changed; I was losing roles to guys that were on TV shows, or guys that were male models, or guys off a reality show. I just went with it, y'know? Call me a bad boy? Well, let's be bad! Cos when I was growing up, they said it about Sean Penn, then they said it about Johnny Depp, when he was trashing hotel rooms … They said it about every young actor with some sort of an edge.
They didn't say it about Tom Hanks! But I think, as a young person, I bought into it. Well, not bought into it, I just went with it, y'know? So is he behaving himself? But if I'm dating someone who's not, I don't wanna bring them into the media.
I'm gonna have to introduce her to this mad world sometime! I just wish I didn't have to deal with that, but I guess it's part of the game …" He trails off.