With all of the guy-love I’ve been showing Scott Sigler of late, I thought it might be a good idea to make a monthly (or every other month, whatever) feature of all of the men in show biz that deserve a little bit of recognition every now and then. In a world where guys like Channing Tatum are getting all of the street cred in Hollywood, it’s nice to let the world know about actors that have way more talent, but are just fine with taking backseat roles. This month, that guy is Barry Pepper, a man that may be a recognizable face, but certainly not a household name. He just so happens to have played some pretty memorable characters, including one of my favorite supporting characters in a movie. So without further adieu, a look into the interesting life and career of Barry Pepper.
Best. Childhood. Ever.
Well, at least in my eyes it is. What say you, Wikipedia?
Pepper, youngest of three children, was born in Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada, the son of a retired lumberjack. When Pepper was five years old, his family set sail in a homemade ship, navigating through the South Pacific islands for five years. His education was completed in both public schools and correspondence courses. Due to the lack of television as entertainment, the family used sketch acting as a means of fun. When the family had finished their travels, they returned to Canada and set up a shop on Denman Island off Vancouver Island.
Father was a lumberjack? Setting out on a boat for five years, and before that living in the country of maple syrup and funny hats? Sign me up! [Citation needed]
Best. Christian Sniper. EVER.
When I was in the fifth grade, I watched my first ever R-rated movie. My family was living a one story home in Grandview for about a year’s time while a new home was being built. Due to the small size, it was easy to hear everything in the house, so when Father Suppes started up the film with max volume, I had to check it out.
“What’s this movie, Dad?”
“Saving Private Ryan”
“Is it R?”
“Yes, but you can watch it if you want”
“Sure, have a seat”
As far as I’m concerned, that’s where my love with movies began. Seeing the D-Day scene, watching all of violence and cussing and war, it was definitely an eye-opener. Now, being a fifth grader meant that I didn’t care as much about the psychological conflicts going on with the soldiers as much as the big gun fights. The two biggest things that I got out of Saving Private Ryan during my first viewing were:
1) What the…. is that the guy who played Woody in Toy Story?
2) That praying sniper guy is flippin’ awesome!
Now, I didn’t know the name of that awesome sniper dude (surprise! It was Barry Pepper), but his awesome Bible quotes followed by head shots method made him one of my favorite characters in the whole movie. It is now seen as Pepper’s most memorable movie role.
Along with his role in Saving Private Ryan, Pepper has appeared in a grand total of three war films (four if you count his Razzie Award winning performance in Battlefield Earth). Along with Private Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, he played on of the Iwo Jima flag raisers in Flags of Our Fathers and a photographer that experiences the horrors of war first-hand in We Were Soldiers. Those three films may contribute to a percentage of people who call Pepper a war movie guy, but he has appeared in supporting roles for plenty more films, including Enemy of the State, The Green Mile, Casino Jack, and True Grit.
And for quick reference point, this is Barry Pepper not in True Grit.
This is Barry Pepper is True Grit.
I had no clue it was him when I saw the movie. He needs to play greasy Western bad guys more often. He was really good in limited screen time as Ned Pepper. Oh, and this is Barry Pepper in Battlefield Earth.
TV Movies count too, but I haven’t seen them so there’s not much to say here
Outside of his work on the silver screen, Pepper has also appeared and starred in a good number of TV movies and mini-series. These include historical roles such as Dale Earnhardt in 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story, Roger Maris in 61*, and Bobby Kennedy in the upcoming mini-series The Kennedys (if they can find a TV station that will show the damn thing). As you can see, Pepper doesn’t have much trouble finding work, and he even has some starring roled under his belt on the small screen.
What’s next for Mr. Pepper?
The only future movie role showing up on the likes of IMDB and Wikipedia for Barry Pepper is called ‘Untitled Terrence Malick Project”. Um, he’s a pretty good filmmaker, so I’m guessing Pepper will once again be a solid supporting role in another good film (his character is called Father Barry, so I’m guessing that he’s a priest).
My Top 5 Movies with Barry Pepper
5. We Were Soldiers
4. 25th Hour
3. The Green Mile
2. True Grit
1. Saving Private Ryan
Worst Movie with Barry Pepper
1. Battlefield Earth
Yep, Barry Pepper has done quite a bit for the world of movies, be it in the form of war movies or Razzie-winning performances. He’s a Canadian bad-ass, and and a guy I’m not ashamed in having a man-crush for. Keep on keeping on, Mr. Pepper!