Elias Koteas has the honor of being the first actor chosen to be highlighted in my now to be weekly “Actor Spotlight”. Elias Koteas is a sweet little character actor who bares a strikingly similarity to Christopher Merloni. He brings a certain air of gravitas to any role he takes.
Early in his career, Koteas had to make the most of the parts he was given. From the Skinhead (no, he wasn’t a neo-Nazi) character in Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) to Casey Jones in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Saga (1990s), he manages to stand out among the silliness, breathing life into his kooky characters.
After the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie (and my favorite of the
franchise), Koteas began to appear in small parts in more serious films.
In 1996, he appeared in David Cronenberg’s Crash, Gattaca (1997), Fallen (1998!) and a substantial role in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line (1998), tackling a variety of different roles. In Crash, he plays a man, who along with James Spader, gets his jollies by watching and being apart of car crashes. Creepy, yes, but a turning point in Koteas’ career.
Since the late 1990s, Koteas is steadily working, even scoring a pivotal guest appearance on “House M.D”, where he plays a character named Moriarty who shoots Dr. House. His path to character actor Hall of Fame has been sealed, especially with his recent bit roles in action movies like Collateral Damage (2002) and Shooter (2007) as well as a police officer in David Fincher’s Zodiac (2007). Koteas usually has several stand out scenes that tend to steal the movie away from the stars of the movie, ahem, Mark Wahlberg.
One of my favorite Koteas’ role is in the 2006 film, Skinwalkers, where he plays the patriarch to a family of werewolves. Laugh if you must, but it’s a fun, little horror flick that also stars Jason Behr and the too hot for her own good, Rhona Mitra. Koteas, the head of a good werewolf clan, must save Mitra and her young half boy/half werewolf son from the bad werewolf clan, lead by Behr, who are trying to kill them to stop them from fulfilling a prophecy that would turn all werewolves into humans.
Koteas is a sympathetic hero, trying to keep his fellow skinwalkers alive while they are being attacked by the warring werewolf clan. Koteas’ yearning to be like the humans he loves is heartbreaking as he sacrifices everything to see that the werewolf gene, that he sees as a curse, is lifted. Koteas gift as an actor is that he can bring respectability to any role he plays. This coming 2009, he will be playing a priest in The Haunting in Connecticut as well as a roles in James Gray’s Two Lovers and Martin Scorese’s Shutter Island.
- Koteas is the one bound to the wall by leather straps. Half werewolf mode!!!
Now, for your enjoyment, Koteas as Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: