There comes a time in every nice-guy-actor’s career when he must cast off, like a serpent, his slough of likable personas, and reveal his more dangerous side. Look at him, whether as Slumdog Millionaire himself, or lifted directly from his recent GQ pictorial, we all want him to win. For Dev Patel, I think playing youthful Amad in our hypothetical film version of Clotho’s Loom would be the perfect opportunity to resist type. Amad first meets Professor Will Wyrd as one among many college students, but quickly distinguishes himself: not only is he academically superior, but he operates a guerilla cell, fighting clandestinely and without oversight by his native government, out of the Middle East! Later in the novel, he returns in a more sinister incarnation, as a homicidal desert sheik.
Barry Corbin has appeared in roles requiring a uniform countless times in his career: sheriffs (old west and new), sergeants, generals. You name the government agency, he’s headed it. Here, we need him for the more ambiguous role of ultra-patriotic Marine Colonel Mingo. For some unknown reason, Mingo, while not having risen quite to the top of officer ranks, has also been left out of the latest war overseas. He’s been relegated to administration of a large recruitment center back in the States, whose sole interesting task is the impressment of vets, like former Corporal Wyrd, back into service against their wills. But something tells me that he, like Amad, will find his way back into the thick of the action, by hook, or crook. The photo says it all. Barry has aged a bit since this was taken (he currently appears as Ed in Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management). But I actually prefer the older, balder Corbin for this nefarious villain.