Kevin Durand: Chameleon

March 13, 2010

There are minor Lost spoilers in this article.

When Kevin Durand popped up this season on Lost, he was reprising his role as the villainous Martin Keamy … but in a completely different way. Where his first take on Keamy, in season 4, highlighted Durand’s big physique and bigger menace, this time around, he was smooth, charming and, as many other people have pointed out, doing an interesting take on Christopher Walken. With eggs.

This got me curious about the actor, whom I knew was Canadian. It turns out he’s from Thunder Bay, a city where I spent a good chunk of my youth. The bio I read described Durand as a “chameleonic character actor,” which surprised me; I guess I assumed a six-foot-six muscleman with pale blue eyes and a distinctive toothy smile would have trouble getting lost in a role.

That assumption was shot down a moment later when I realized Durand played Carlos in The Butterfly Effect — he was Ashton Kutcher’s scary tattooed Latino cellmate. Really? I had to go check the DVD, and sure enough, there he was, startlingly unrecognizable. The more I read, the more I realized I had seen this man over and over (Smokin’ Aces, 6:10 to Yuma, Wolverine, etc.) without realizing it, and it wasn’t always because of makeup or costuming. It was because he’s very good.

Durand is a rare kind of actor: a guy with leading-man looks who excels at character parts. But it’s time for him to break out, and I’d like to see that. There’s even a property he’d be perfect for: Lee Child’s Jack Reacher book series. The rights to the books have been kicking around Hollywood for a decade, with no actual film in sight, but if it ever happens, Durand is the guy. He’s huge like Reacher, and has the charisma, but at the same time can turn on the terror when needed. I have no trouble picturing him as a roaming adventurer who charms the ladies in the afternoon and mercilessly hunts down bad guys at night.

Whatever path Durand takes, he’s an actor to watch.

  • P.S. He was the Blob in Wolverine. With makeup.

One comment

  1. It’s 3:10 To Yuma , genius !

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