Don’t bother trying to convince James Badge Dale that there’s a cabal of Badge-ers out there, admirers from his days on 24 and HBO’s The Pacific who are committed to finally making him a household name. The 35-year-old New Yorker may have had notable supporting turns in three big summer movies, but he’s not one to get worked up over such chatter. “People chirp in your ears a lot,” he says. “They tell you, ‘This [project] is going to do this for you, this is going to do that for you.’ I’ve had 10 years of that filtered into my head. It’s not true. I’m not in the results business. You know, you do this work for yourself.”
That’s a healthy and understandable outlook for any actor — especially for one who spent years juggling construction jobs so he could do guest spots on shows like CSI and later starred in Rubicon, AMC’s promising 2010 conspiracy series that failed to build a big enough audience to last more than one season. But Dale’s most recent performances have confirmed that he can hold the screen with Hollywood’s biggest stars. Good or evil, his characters convey an innate formidability that pops on-screen and indirectly serves to raise the profile of the movie’s hero. In Iron Man 3, he was the bald-headed super-badass who tangled with Robert Downey Jr.; in World War Z, he was the bearded Army Ranger who sacrificed his life to help Brad Pitt get out of zombiefied South Korea; and in The Lone Ranger, he was the rugged Texas Ranger who blazed the trail of justice for his younger brother, played by Armie Hammer.
But it’s in Parkland, the upcoming movie about the JFK assassination that recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, that his emotional depth and subtle craftsmanship shine brightest. In an ensemble film that revisits the 1963 shooting through the eyes of several people in Dallas — from the Parkland Hospital doctor (Zac Efron), to the President’s Secret Service chief (Billy Bob Thornton), to the man who captured it all on camera, Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti) — Dale plays Robert Oswald, the stunned husband and father who realizes his world is crumbling when his younger brother, Lee, is arrested and suspected of killing the President. READ FULL STORY