When I first saw Frank Whaley in ”Swing Kids,” I practically cried! His character “Arvid” is both vulnerable as a cripple and he’s also courageous as someone willing to stand up to the Nazi’s. He’s got three strikes against him in the film: he’s a cripple (something the Nazi’s hated because it was considered not superior), two of his best friends wind up in the Hitler youth (one remains anti-Nazi while the other one gets brainwashed), and he openly stands up to the Nazi’s (a big no-no in those days). You can’t help but cheer him in the movie and at the same time, you feel sorry for him. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes! I’ve had to deal with friends’ back stabbing me, but I couldn’t imagine having my friends join a hate group and then threaten my life! I don’t blame him for a decision that he makes later on in the film (which I won’t tell you about in case you haven’t seen the movie yet).
Besides playing a cripple, Frank Whaley has also played a baseball player in ”Field of Dreams,” a murderer in ”Hoffa,” a 20-something slacker in ”Career Opportunities,” a millionaire playboy in ”Café Society,” a war soldier in ”A Midnight Clear” and “When Trumpets Fade,”, an American tourist in ”Back in the USSR,” Lee Harvey Oswald in ”Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald,” and a disgruntled employee in ”Swimming With Sharks.” He’s played everything from simple characters to complex characters, nice guys to bad guys, intelligent men to naïve and not-so-smart guys. I think he’s perfect when he plays quirky characters who don’t seem to know what’s going on, like in ”Career Opportunities” and “Cold Dog Soup.” In those movies, his characters get themselves into the biggest messes! They start out trying to do something simple, and before you know it, everything goes wrong and it just goes downhill from there. I guess in a way, I can relate to that!
I do think Frank is a good looking guy, but my interest in him, as you can see, goes beyond his good looks. There are plenty of good looking guys in the entertainment industry, but they usually have short lived careers. They’re hot one minute and on every magazine cover, but the next minute, you hardly hear about them. For some reason, the truly talented actors rarely get that exposure (after all, I don’t see Kevin Spacey on every magazine cover and he’s one of the most talented guys in the entertainment industry). I want Frank to get a lot of exposure, but at the same time, I don’t want them to over do it. If I saw Frank everywhere I looked, I think people would get sick of him after a while. There should be just enough recognition so that he gets his much-deserved credit and to keep the interest in him going.
Ever since he won his first award for his upcoming movie, ”Joe the King,” I’ve thought about what may happen when the movie is finally released. If it gets enough exposure by the critics and if Trimark Pictures does it’s job promoting the movie as much as possible, the film could be the one to really bring Frank out into the open for all to see. A lot of people watch independent movies and many have gone on to become big hits, and with the cast that “Joe the King” has, it could get plenty of recognition. I just hope and pray that Frank isn’t over looked since the movie does include big names like Val Kilmer, Ethan Hawke, and Camryn Manheim.
I really hope and pray that Frank doesn’t die in ”Joe the King” because he seems to die in so many of his movies! They just love to kill him off, but being a fan of movies that make you cry, that doesn’t necessarily bother me. I just don’t like seeing it happen to the same actor, over and over again. I enjoy seeing him play bad guys, because that’s a side of him you don’t see too much in his movies. He looks like a really nice guy (and he probably is in real life), which makes it so much scarier to see him become mean and angry. That’s what’s so great about his character in “Swimming With Sharks.” His character starts out as a hard working, nice guy who hopes to get ahead in the movie business, but when he’s pushed too far by his boss (played by Kevin Spacey), he turns into a very angry and cruel kidnapper. He goes back and forth between being nice and being cruel. Kevin Spacey is the same way. That’s what makes it one of my favorite movies.
I think Frank Whaley is a bright talent, but he’s not getting the recognition that he deserves. I hope that I will be able to turn some people into new fans and please those who are already fans, through this site of mine. Keep an eye out for Frank, he’s a true talent and not to be missed! Not knowing who Frank Whaley is means missing out on one of the next up and coming stars!