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ADAM GOLDBERG: Mixed Blessings
by Nancy Simon

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An Intense Adam Goldberg

An Intense Adam Goldberg
While it may seem easy to be the funny one; in actuality, comedic acting often requires a special talent that only a select few possess and far fewer have found a way to build a career around it.

Yet, in the case of 36-year-old, Adam Goldberg, while he is among the few who have a true knack for generating laughter-he also has an innate ability to handle serious, more complex roles. Perhaps, that is why his best roles are those that meld the two in a dark comedic sort of way.

Now that having been said, we are not completely certain as to where STAY ALIVE, the next generation of horror films, rests on the continuum; but let's just say it is definitely not a comedy although the film does have some non-rhetorical, tongue-in-cheek jabs.

After the vile demise of a friend, a group of friends come to have in their possession a video-game called "Stay Alive", supposedly the frighteningly true account of a 17th century noblewoman known as "The Blood Countess". Though instructed not to play the game, they—of course—do, only to their horror to learn that "when you die in the game you die for real." Pretty soon, the group (including Goldberg as Miller) is being pegged off one by one. It is then they determine they must defeat the "Blood Countess" or they will all be doomed.

Often referred to as jittery and Jewish, in truth, neither trait is 100 percent accurate. While he has on numerous occasions played the "nervous" guy, methodical and proactive is more in-line with Goldberg's natural state. And with regard to his religion; it is in fact his father who is Jewish and his mother that is a non-practicing Catholic. By Jewish law, that renders him as a non-Jew.

And though opposed from doing religious-centric interviews, his spiritual status-quo has not prevented him from playing a roster of Jewish roles from Mordechai Jefferson Carver, the Jewish superhero who saves Hanukah, in the jocular THE HEBREW HAMMER (2003) to Private Stanley Mellish, the Jewish infantryman, in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998).

After catching an episode of the short lived ABC-TV drama "Relativity," Spielberg, who instantly classified Golderg as–intense, funny and Jewish, sought him out to for the pivotal role in the emotional World War II film, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.

Apparently, Goldberg, who often takes on hybrid character roles—part Bronx, New York (although, ironically, he was born in Los Angeles) | part offbeat, neurotic—has found a formula that works for him whether he is playing it straight or spiking it up a bit.

From deeply moving to light-hearted material, Goldberg has a remarkable knack for appearing highly competent within both genres as demonstrated by his supporting performances in ALL OVER THE GUY and HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS and his more substantive roles in SALTON SEA and THE
Writer | Director Adam Goldberg filming I LOVE YOUR WORK

Writer | Director Adam Goldberg filming I LOVE YOUR WORK
BEAUTIFUL MIND.

And in possession of a distinctive speaking voice, Goldberg has contributed to such animated films as: Richard Linklater's introspective flick-WAKING LIFE (2001) and the more mainstream, BABE: PIG IN THE CITY (1998).

Along with "Relativity", Goldberg, who has been working since he was 20-years-old, has done more than simply flirt with the small screen. Encased within his massive body of work are a dozen plus television guest role stints dating all the way back to "Murphy Brown" and "Designing Women". Future forward, the list also includes an eclectic grouping comprised of such sitcoms, drama series and sci-fi shows as: "Head Cases", "My Name is Earl", "Will & Grace", "The Practice", Law & Order: Criminal Intent, "Outer Limits", "Space: Above and Beyond," as well as, the zany recurring role of Chandler's (Matthew Perry) psychotic roommate, Eddie, on "Friends."

And, somewhere in between the features films and television programs, Goldberg has managed to scrounge up time to write and direct his own films. To date, he is be credited with the following: I LOVE YOUR WORK (2003), showcasing a stellar cast inclusive of: Giovanni Ribisi, Christina Ricci, Jared Harris, Jason Lee, Vince Vaughn and Elvis Costello; RUNNING WITH THE BULLS (2003), a 41 minute film randomly playing on IFC; and the neo-noir SCOTCH & MILK (1998) about a bunch of would-be jazz musicians contemplating life.

Within his own productions, one gets the sense Goldberg is attempting to find the meaning of life if one were to take a disjointed, nonsensical path to get there. For example, RUNNING WITH THE BULLS has been characterized as a physical and metaphysical journey across the United States.

Able to ingeniously meld the elements of poignancy and humor, is perhaps Goldberg's greatest gift—well, that and being able to craft bizarre, albeit believable stories while alleviating self-deprecation to that of an art form.

About his thoughts as both a filmmaker and an actor, in a recent interview with www.adherents.com Goldberg stated, "I want total latitude in my work." And with SAG INDIE he commented, "It is difficult to figure out the direction I should pursue... If I were to totally pursue my directing career, I don't know that I would be able to make a living, at least if I continue writing my own films."

Next on the horizon for Goldberg is the Jewish comedy, KEEPING UP WITH STEINS—directed by Scott Marshall (son of Garry, nephew of Penny); ZODIAC—directed by David Fincher (FIGHT CLUB, SE7EN); and DÉJÀ VU—directed by Tony Scott (DOMINO, MAN ON FIRE).

Not necessarily neurotic, Goldberg seems to be more of a self-possessed, analytical force focused on actualizing his dreams of cinematic stardom—just not in the conventional sense....

Adam Goldberg on Matchflick

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Every other Friday

A capsulized profile on an emerging talent, i.e., actor/director in the film world and a snippet as to why he or she is destined to soon become a household name.


Other Columns
Other columns by Nancy Simon:

EMILE HIRSCH: Young Upstart

SIENNA MILLER:B-day Girl\ Factory Girl

DJIMON HOUNSOU: A Diamond in the Rough

ABBIE CORNISH: Who's That Girl?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: Daring to go further

All Columns


Nancy Simon
A Chicago-based freelance writer and film enthusiast, Nancy has an insatiable curiousity and knack for picking out talented, promising individuals.


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If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Nancy Simon by clicking here.


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