Talk about a late bloomer: Ed Lauter has appeared in dozens of television series and movies in his long career, but at seventy-three the character actor seems to finally have become more than just a vaguely recognizable face after appearing as a butler in last year’s The Artist. This fall he appears in two films, Trouble with the Curve and Ed Burns‘ The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, and he took a few moments to speak to the Los Angeles Times about his recent success.
As for how Lauter was chosen for The Artist, Lauter admits that because of the silent nature of the film he was chosen more for his looks than for anything else. He explains, “They put me on film because the director wanted to see me and when he saw me he said, ‘I love that guy’s face. I want that guy.’ The French are probably the foremost moviegoers. So I knew I was recognized there…. You know, years ago, I was thinking about getting my nose changed, but I am so glad I didn’t.”
His prominent role in the Oscar-winning silent film has since helped him get more roles. Lauter reveals, “People were talking about me for Trouble With the Curve, but in the middle of the conversation they said he’s also in The Artist, and it piqued their interest even more. The Artist percolated things.”
Perhaps Lauter’s greatest missed opportunity was his lone starring role as a detective in the NBC TV movie Last Hours Before Morning. Although it was aired with the potential of being spun off as a series, it never happened. Lauter believes that his career would have gone much differently if it had. He says, “It would have changed my life. Just name value alone. A lot of people say, ‘I know you,’ but they don’t know my name. But I’ve had a great run.”