There was a time when Steve Buscemi was known exclusively for his off-beat supporting roles, in films like “The Big Lebowski,” “Fargo,” “Con Air,” and “Armageddon.” Now, after several years as the lead on HBO’s impressive “Boardwalk Empire,” he is returning to the entertainingly peculiar characters that helped launch his career.
In “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” which hits theaters this Friday, the actor plays Anton Marvelton, an aging Vegas performer and magic partner to the film’s titular character (played by Steve Carrell). Here, Buscemi explores his more colorful side, right down to the ridiculous wigs and velour suits.
“That was part of the appeal to want to do the film. I don’t think I’ve quite played a character like this,” Buscemi told Moviefone. “Also, I loved the script [and] the opportunity to work with Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, and Olivia Wilde. It really was a no-brainer.”
He and Carell were able to pull off a few tricks of their own while filming, including their characters’ most popular illusion, the Hangman. The two even stood in a plexiglass box above the Vegas Strip for one of the movie’s most memorable sequences.
“That was really something, because they had us float there doing the scenes in the box above the Strip. Doing that makes it all that more authentic and exciting,” Buscemi said.
In addition to “Burt Wonderstone,” Buscemi was nice enough to talk about a few of his supporting roles over the years. So, before the magic begins this Friday with his new film, see what the actor had to say about his performances in “The Big Lebowski,” “Reservoir Dogs,” and more.
WARNING: Some of the videos below include cursing.
’New York Stories’
“Well that was the first time I worked with Martin Scorsese. The performance piece I do in the film is something that I wrote. That was a very exciting time. Before that film, I had worked with Jim Jarmusch on “Mystery Train.” I felt very privileged to go from one great director to the other.”
“That was my first Coen brother’s film and that was a big deal for me. I auditioned for the part down in New Orleans, and we shot it there. I just love working with them because they really create their own world, and was on a nice run with them for awhile.”
“Another great one for me, getting to work with Quentin [Tarantino] in his first film. I loved the part and all the other actors. It was creatively fun to do. It also I think helped my standing in the business because it lead to other opportunities.”
“Michael Layman, whose work I really admired, it was fun to work with him and to work on a bigger canvas of a studio film. And that’s where I met Adam Sandler, and it was another relationship that was formed there that I really loved. I love working with him.”
“Again, it was getting to be in a bigger film — an action film. The people I got to work with — John Malkovich, Nicolas Cage, Ving Rhames, John Cusack — were people’s work I admired. It was a lot of fun being on that film.”
’The Big Lebowski’
“Any time I worked with the Coen brothers has been fun. I have just been reading this book with Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glasserman. It’s called ‘The Dude and the Zen Master.’ It’s just really nice to see how people responded to it. We could never have imagined what that film would do and what it now means to so many people. It was a privilege to be apart of it.”