"Zooming in on James Spader's Top Secret Debut"
the story was supposed to introduce an important young actor named
James Spader, who has had strong supporting roles in such recent hits
as "Baby Boom" and "Wall Street," and is smashingly
good in his fist starring role as twins in a very clever thriller
called "Jack's Back."
one of those cases where a small film company [nce known as Cinema
Group and now called Pallisades Entertainment] already has made its
profit through cable and video sales and doesn't have the desire to
give the movie any kind of what might be a costly big push.
film cost only $1.5 million to make [less than one-tenth the industry
average]. And it's a shame the way they're treating it because I think
it's a good picture. It's the first film directed by Rowdy Harrington,
who previously worked as an electrician on lots of other movies. Did
you guess the killer?"
Back" is more than a superior thriller. It might as well serve
as an audition reel for Spader, showing him in both a light and a
Boom," Spader plays the snotty Yuppie executive who takes over
Diane Keaton's ad agency job. In "Wall Street" he's seen
of his movies, Spader has played the rat: the rich kid who tries to
keep Andrew McCarthy away from Molly Ringwald in "Pretty in Pink";
the jerk who almost prevents the same McCarthy from having a romance
with a magical hunk of plaster in "Mannequin."
phone, Spader is soft-spoken, much the same as we see him at the beginning
of "Jack's Back," as a bright young medical student at a
clinic. When his character dies early on, we then see the more high
strung Spader of his previous films-a nervous twin accused of murder.
later, we meet Spader as the twin, a nervous time bomb. For his role
in "Wall Street" Spader admits, his character's history
Boom" said Spader, who is married, played more of a traditional,
single-minded young corporate shark. "The greatest part of the
movie for me however," he said, "wasn't my character but
playing a few scenes opposite Diane Keaton. She's the finest actress
I've ever worked with. In fact, I was so in awe of her openness that
it caused me to lose control of my character for a moment-the only
time that's ever happened to me in a movie. I was doing these close-ups
of her where I was off-camera reacting to her, and when she got angry
at my character, I felt so sorry for her, Diane Keaton, that I actually
became James Spader for a second, I was professionally ashamed of
myself, but she's that good. And she's completely willing to talk
about how to play a scene or anything to do with a movie. She's not
the least but impressed with herself."
biography and indeed, Spader himself, initially described his movie
debut as playing Brooke Shield's older brother in "Endless Love."
But maybe because it was 10 in the morning on a sleepy Saturday and
Spader had just rolled out of bed, he decided to reveal his actual
movie debut. "It was a non-union film that I made when I was
17 and had just come to New York. I did it for literally no pay; the
catered lunch was fabulous, the best one I've ever had in any movie
to this day."
was one of those really soft core sex films, like 'Cheerleaders.'
Originally, the title was 'A Goal to Go,' but they changed it to 'Teammates'
From drunk guy in a B-film to a leading role co-starring with himself in "Jack's Back"-James Spader has come a long way in the last decade, and his career is just taking off.
© by Gene Siskel for the Chicago Tribune 6/5/1998 Sec 13 Page 21 (Thank you, Susan)