1. You need to ask questions and you need to ask the right questions. Alan asked me how I saw the man and I said, ‘I saw him as Abraham Lincoln –- I don’t see him as a villain. This man is a hero with his agenda, with his point of view.’ I did not intend to play Clayton Townley as one chromosome short of a human being, like a lot of people will play various villains in movies … In real life, everyone kind of sees themselves as the good guy, doing what they’re doing. They see themselves as a kind of hero, and I wanted to make sure Clayton Townley … wasn’t played as some kind of genetic miscreant.

    — Stephen Tobolowsky on playing the role of Ku Klux Klan leader Clayton Townley in “Mississippi Burning”

  2. Stephen Tobolowsky

    acting

    Mississippi Burning

  1. Actor Stephen Tobolowsky’s theory on the names of less important characters

If it’s a comedy, you get your job description and your first name like in ‘Wild Hogs’ I played Sheriff Charlie… If you are playing a serious role, you get the job description and your last name - Detective McClaren, Agent Jones. Now then there’s a level below that in which you get no name… You just get sometimes your job description - homeless man, man on train, man with a limp.

    Actor Stephen Tobolowsky’s theory on the names of less important characters

    If it’s a comedy, you get your job description and your first name like in ‘Wild Hogs’ I played Sheriff Charlie… If you are playing a serious role, you get the job description and your last name - Detective McClaren, Agent Jones. Now then there’s a level below that in which you get no name… You just get sometimes your job description - homeless man, man on train, man with a limp.

  2. Stephen Tobolowsky

    acting

  1. Remember Ned, Bill Murray’s annoying friend from high school in Groundhog Day?

    Am I right, or am I right, or am I right? Right? Right? Right?

    Tomorrow’s show: character actor Stephen Tobolowsky, who has a new memoir The Dangerous Animals Club.

  2. Stephen Tobolowsky

    Fresh Air

    Groundhog Day