By SCOTT SIEGEL and BARBARA SIEGEL, Special to The Record

There are a slew of name actors in "2 Days in the Valley," a film that follows four stories that ultimately intersect. But it's James Spader who
has the movie's best role, playing a vicious, but exceptionally stylish, killer.

Asked what intrigued him about playing the film's most villainous character, Spadersaid it was the character's relationship with his wife (played by Charlize Theron).

"Murder just seemed to be a hobby that he turned into a career," he said. "It fueled his life with his wife. He's an adrenaline junkie, a real

A versatile actor who easily segues between heroes and villains, Spader has won his war against typecasting by following a simple rule: "What you have to do is be patient," he said. "If you do a film, and you do it well, that's what you're going to be called upon to play again next. So you wait, and be patient, until you find something different."

Good friend that he is, Spader called his pal Eric Stoltz to tell him that there might also be a part in "2 Days in the Valley" for him.

"Eric and I are very old friends who have worked a lot together in films," Spader said, adding, "It always seems to be that my character is always kicking Eric's character around the room."

"Eric called me back and said, 'Well, I guess I know which role you're playing in the film, and I guess I know which role I'm playing in the film.'
And I said, 'Yes, you're right.It's another role where I get to kick you around the room.' "

Stoltz agreed with Spader's version of the story except for one important detail: "I met with the director," Stoltz said, "and I tried to convince him to give me Spader's part. He'd have none of that, though, so I ended up with the thankless cop role.

"We have a gentle competition; we're rarely up for the same role. ... We're always trying to, I wouldn't say upstage each other, but we give each other a healthy amount of guff."

© Scott Siegel; Barbara Siegel, 1996 Bergen Record Corp.
The Record (Bergen County, NJ), Sept 29, 1996 pY3 (Thank you, Susan)