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I Know That Face: HITG (Hey It's That Guy/Girl!)

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It's such a staple of TV talk, I was surprised to find no topic yet.

 

Personally I'm shit at spotting them, but I know we have some total experts at that.

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Since I tend to watch a lot of shows on both sides of the Pond, I recognize actors a lot but don't tend to know their names. A guy that I've seen a lot if of (had to look him up) is Samuel Page. He was Greg in Mad Men, Colin in Gossip Girl, a lawyer in Switched at Birth, Underwood press guy in House of Cards, saw him in Scandal too and a bunch of other TV things. What made me remember him was that in most of the the show he's in a multi-episode arc, but he always gets written off.

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I can easily spot the more familiar/popular current ones--James Marsters, Mark Sheppard, the Ashmore brothers, Lochlyn Munro, Graham Greene, current H!ITG Emeritus Malcolm McDowell, and so on--but beyond that it gets fuzzy due to my tendency to avoid a lot of Gen-Y programming.  (I seriously wonder if a six-degrees-of-H!ITG by modern standards would lead almost exclusively back to the Whedonverse.)  A lot of the "classic" H!ITGs seem to have faded into the woodwork.

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I like to play the "guess that Canadian actor" game when I watch shows shot in Vancouver. It's always fun to spot Christopher Heyerdahl (Stargate Atlantis, Supernatural, Sanctuary, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica; Hell On Wheels); Ryan Robbins (see Christopher Heyerdahl and add Dead Like Me); Ty Olsen (Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, Eureka); Katherine Isabel (Supernatural, Hannibal and more) and a lot of others. I watch far too much genre TV.

 

This is a fun thread.

Edited by DittyDotDot
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BTW, if "H!ITG" is more correct than HITG as the abbreviation, by all means, mods, please alter the title.


I like to play the "guess that Canadian actor" game when I watch shows shot in Vancouver.

Ah, Vancouver.  Home of "Hey, It's That Location!"

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My sister and I call Lochlyn Munro "that guy" and we always know who the other one means. It took us forever to find out his name. We remembered him from Northwood, then started seeing him in everything. At one point I saw him in 3 different shows in one week. 

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I caught a great documentary on Netflix a while back, That Guy Who Was In That Thing, that was all about HITG-type character actors. I think the most famous ones they interviewed were Xander Berkley, Mark Sheppard's father, and the dude who played Lassie on Psych.

One guy I've always liked was Sam Anderson. He's probably best know today for playing Bernard on Lost, but I first remember seeing him years before that on WKRP. (In fact, he showed up on that show three or four different times, as a different character each time.)

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24 is a great show for HITG spotting since they seem to have cast just about everyone except J.K. Simmons and Clancy Brown at one point or another.

 

Let's see: Xander Berkley, Kim Raver, Eric Balfour, Peter MacNichol, William Devane, Michelle Forbes, Zeljko Ivanek, Powers Boothe, Sprague Grayden, Alberta Watson, Colm Feore, Shohreh Aghdashloo (Hey! It's the only Persian actress in Hollywood getting regular work!), Daniel Dae Kim, Richard Burgi, Peter Weller, Regina King, Cameron Bancroft, Paul McCrane, Reed Diamond, Gina Torres, Alexander Siddig, Kurtwood Smith, Misha Collins, Geraint Wynn Davies, Andrea Thompson, Peter Wingifeld, Kai Penn, Kevin Dillon, Michael Shanks, Kevin Alejandro......

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No way is Daniel Dae Kim a HITG.  Or Bill Devane.  Or Peter MacNicol.  They're not big stars, sure, but there's a difference between being a well established character actor and being a HITG, in my opinion.  Viewers know these names, whereas with... take Xander Berkley for example, I bet most wouldn't.

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I caught a great documentary on Netflix a while back, That Guy Who Was In That Thing, that was all about HITG-type character actors. I think the most famous ones they interviewed were Xander Berkley, Mark Sheppard's father, and the dude who played Lassie on Psych.

 

I watched that it was really interesting. Although I would say the most famous is the dude who played Jim Brass on CSI (Paul Guilfoyle). I mean sure he hasn't been in a lot of stuff (and he almost always plays cops) but he was on CSI for 14 years and for a good chunk of that time it was the #1 show on TV. The funniest thing about that movie was seeing some of the other actors talking about how they still have to work hard, go to open casting calls and basically take what they can get. While Guilfoyle can probably live extremely well off of CSI residuals for the rest of his life.

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One guy I've always liked was Sam Anderson. He's probably best know today for playing Bernard on Lost, but I first remember seeing him years before that on WKRP. (In fact, he showed up on that show three or four different times, as a different character each time.)

 

I loved Sam Anderson on Lost, Bernard became one of my favourite characters, but he'll always be Holland Manners from Angel to me

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Two women that came to mind were Anna Deavere Smith and Anne Marie Johnson. It seems if a show needs a women of color to play a professional or government official one of them is usually playing them.

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Two women that came to mind were Anna Deavere Smith and Anne Marie Johnson. It seems if a show needs a women of color to play a professional or government official one of them is usually playing them.

You mean in the event that they can't get CCH Pounder who would also fit that same description.

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I thought of her too but she is more well known at least to me since she had major roles in both Warehouse 13 and The Shield.

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There was a strange phenomenon in early 2013 where Chris Diamantopoulos kept showing up in stuff I watched (The Office, Arrested Development, Community). I didn't care for him in any of those roles so I don't know why he was suddenly everywhere.

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I'm generally pretty good at spotting actors usually when they are in a show that I love Daniel Dae Kim, Alexander Sidig or Calm Meany (who seems to just pop up randomly in things lol)

 

Though one time I was watching Flight of the Phoenix, a movie about survivors of a plane crash in the desert. And the whole time my mom and I were trying to figure out why we reconized the female lead. When we went to Imdb after the movie we realized she was in Lord of the Rings.

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There was a strange phenomenon in early 2013 where Chris Diamantopoulos kept showing up in stuff I watched (The Office, Arrested Development, Community). I didn't care for him in any of those roles so I don't know why he was suddenly everywhere.

 

This is the guy who played Moe in the Three Stooges movie, right?  He also does Charles Schwab commercials.

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Mark Margolis being on Constantine a couple of weeks back and last night on Gotham got me smiling. I just looked and the man has about nine different projects finished or post-production.  The man must be a workhorse.

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I just finished binge watching Merlin on Netflix.  I had a ton of fun recognizing British actors that I've seen on other shows.  Especially Game of Thrones, The Musketeers & Salem. 

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To me, James Rebhorn, Dennis O'Hare, and Michael O'Neill have for the longest time been the quintessential "H!IH" actors (I believe some of them were once interviewed by L.A. Times in a series dedicated to such actors). But then, they all got pretty mainstream  -- and while I was happy for them, I felt some sadness, too. You know, that oh-shoot-now-everyone-knows-who-they-are feeling.

 

BTW, I know it's not quite what this thread is intended for, but I enjoy watching the credits from the old L&O: SVU episodes just for the "hey, he/she's in it!" moment, too.

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Kavan Smith is my go-to Hey It's That Guy. Basically flip to the Lifetime Movie Network any day and there's a decent chance he'll be there playing someone's boss or sleazy boyfriend.

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We're starting to watch Bosch, and the casting is running pretty HITG- Troy Evans (Frank Martin on ER), Titus Welliver in the lead, Lance Reddick in the obligatory Dude from The Wire spot, and Sarah Clarke in the obligatory actor from 24 spot.

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For me, this is James Frain. He's in almost everything I have seen in the last 5 years. Tudors, Grimm, FlashFoward, True Blood, The White Queen, Agent Carter just to name a few.

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Two women that came to mind were Anna Deavere Smith and Anne Marie Johnson. It seems if a show needs a women of color to play a professional or government official one of them is usually playing them.

 

You mean in the event that they can't get CCH Pounder who would also fit that same description.

 

And if they want a younger and pretty woman of color to play a profressional, they go to Merryn Dungey, though she's sometimes cast as the nice woman who has a bit of crazy bubbling under.

 

Ivonne Col will probably be remembered as Jane the Virgin's abuela, but she had a similar English-speaking role on Switched at Birth. Even better, she was the leader of a Mexican gang of werewolf hunters on Teen Wolf. She got one really awesome line. Two guys were pointing guns at each other and then she enters the room and deadpans, "In Mexico, we call this a standoff."

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The two HITG! for me are: David Costabile (consistently good) and Victor Garber (who is either good or terrible, for me).  Looking them up, I guess I am showing my Alias ignorance.  For whatever reason, I can never remember DC's name.

 

Zeljko Ivanek used to be a HITG!, but then turned into a bona fide star.  I will stop whatever I'm watching casually and stay for him, whenever he's on.  Still have to look up the spelling of his name, though.

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For me Garber can't count as a HITG. 

 

Why?  Because I'd argue he's recognizable by name as WELL as by face.  He may not be the main star of anything, but he's a "name" guest star.  He doesn't slot into an appearance as a vaguely recognizable face who, as such people do, blend into a show.

 

I don't know if there's really a name for what he is, but IMO it's not a "Hey It's That Guy!", when you're saying "Hey, It's Victor Garber!"--or more often, "Hey, It's SpyDaddy!".  That last is no big deal, because even if it's not his actual name people always retain, it's a distinct consistent identity people know him by.  They know him--they aren't straining their brains saying "I recognize him somehow, it's on the tip of my tongue..."

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Titus Welliver is TG in practically everything I watch.  :D

Everytime I see that guy all I can think of is "fuckin' Adams!". Even though without the beard he looks nothing like his deadwood character.

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Increased star power or not, Zeljko Ivanek is still the guy that casting directors have on speed dial if they need a weaselly bureaucrat for a 3-7 tv  episode run.

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I think the most famous ones they interviewed were Xander Berkley, Mark Sheppard's father, and the dude who played Lassie on Psych.

Timothy Omundson played Lassie on Psych.  I always kind of wonder when a performer passes from H!TG to something beyond a journeyman/woman actor/actress.  Omundson does a lot of guest appearances but he also was a regular for five seasons on Judging Amy, did 8 seasons as a regular on Psych and was one of the draws to Galavant. I almost think that's too much regular work to be one of those guest stars who pop up all over. 

 

For a long time, my big H!TG was Garret Dillahunt.  His IMDb page is a long list of guest starring roles.  In fact, I used to love all the roles he'd do but didn't start recognizing him until after his stint on Life.  That is still pretty much his career but I wonder if being pretty much the male lead on a sitcom that ran four seasons pushed him beyond that H!TG category.  

 

If Garret Dillahunt is still considered a H!TG, then I'd like to nominate him and his H!TG wife, Michelle Hurd, as the H!TG power couple.

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I had no idea what "that guy's" name was, even though I had heard of the name Victor Garber.  All I knew was that I'm not a fan whenever he shows up.  I feel like I have seen him play far too many an evil capitalist pig or smarmy, snotty upper class business twit.

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I had no idea what "that guy's" name was, even though I had heard of the name Victor Garber.  All I knew was that I'm not a fan whenever he shows up.  I feel like I have seen him play far too many an evil capitalist pig or smarmy, snotty upper class business twit.

Are you perhaps thinking of Alan Dale. Because he is the HITG I think of for that description. He was Charles WIdmore on Lost, Caleb Nichol on The OC and a ton of other similar roles.

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I had no idea what "that guy's" name was, even though I had heard of the name Victor Garber.  All I knew was that I'm not a fan whenever he shows up.  I feel like I have seen him play far too many an evil capitalist pig or smarmy, snotty upper class business twit.

Here is a very different Victor Garber -- starring in Godspell! http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/307787/Godspell-Movie-Clip-Save-The-People.html

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I had a recent HITG moment, watching an episode of Newhart when I saw an actor playing one of the backstage crew at the TV station and thought:  "It's Richard Stahl!"  He was great at somewhat world-weary guest characters; I  had also seen him on Barney Miller, but as mentioned in his wiki page here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stahl he made nine guest appearances on The Odd Couple, never playing the same character twice.  (I can think of two offhand, The Frog, and The Odd Monks, the others escape me at the moment.)  He was always great in guest roles.

 

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I think the 70s might've been the high water mark of HITG character actors. Before the VCR, the huge syndication outlet of cable, and increase in serialized storytelling outside of soap operas, the same actor could appear several times on the same show as different characters and only people like us would notice.

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I had no idea what "that guy's" name was, even though I had heard of the name Victor Garber.  All I knew was that I'm not a fan whenever he shows up.  I feel like I have seen him play far too many an evil capitalist pig or smarmy, snotty upper class business twit.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one then.  When an actor was second billed on a network show (and nominated twice for an Emmy for the role) that ran 5 seasons, a good part of it rated in the Top 20, I can't consider him a HITG.  That's just me.  He's also a three-time Tony nominee, although I do know that only a certain audience would necessarily recognize someone by that.  

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There's something to be said about these kinds of actors. I call them 'professional actors' even though they are all professionals. Much of what makes a show work is creating a real, live universe. We watch the main characters every week, so there's lots of room for growth and development. But as a showrunner, I would need people to come in for a one or two off and give me a real, 3D character from take 1.

 

That's these people. You need a lawyer on a scifi show? You need someone to come in a play a hard nosed police commish? A shady senator? 

 

Think how many characters these actors have played. It's really invaluable, and being able to draw on that in a short time frame and delivering, should be commended. You know when you see their name in the opening credits there's going to be something good coming up. 

 

Kavan Smith

 

Back at the other place, when The 4400 ended, we were saying how cool it was that Agent Garret's double was able to join up with the Air Force and grow into such a valuable member of the Stargate team. LORNE!

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I can always tell when a show is filmed in Vancouver or Toronto because there's a bunch of people who inevitably show up.

Edited by ABay

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Way back in the early days of the intrawebs, one of the running jokes in Highlander fandom involved playing 'Spot the member of the Vancouver Repertory Company'. There were actors who you could follow from X-Files to Highlander to Forever Knight to Due South (brief Ontario trip there) back to Sliders and then Highlander in a different role.  Bonus when they showed up in the Stargate franchise again a few years later.

 

Getting his Can Con paperwork pretty much kept Jim Byrnes in an acting career.

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I can always tell when a show is filmed in Vancouver or Toronto because there's a bunch of people who inevitably show up.

 

Not to mention that there is one alley that all of the shows shot in Vancouver film in.  You can recognize it over and over again.

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Way back in the early days of the intrawebs, one of the running jokes in Highlander fandom involved playing 'Spot the member of the Vancouver Repertory Company'. There were actors who you could follow from X-Files to Highlander to Forever Knight to Due South (brief Ontario trip there) back to Sliders and then Highlander in a different role. Bonus when they showed up in the Stargate franchise again a few years later.

Getting his Can Con paperwork pretty much kept Jim Byrnes in an acting career.

Don't forget Viper. I was living in Vancouver when it was on and I was working in an industrial building . One day we had to close our big doors because they were filming Viper in the building next door. They dressed it up like a US government building, and then blew it up.

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One of my favourte H!iTG actors is probably starting to get too much work in high profile shows to be classified as such for much longer, but I submit for consideration - Tom Cavenagh. I remember liking him in a one and done role in Sentinel, and then him popping up in a bunch of my favourite shows in the 90's - Providence, Sports Night, Cold Squad... After that he had Ed which kept him busy (gosh, I miss that little show), but then from 2004 he became H!iTG again, popping up in a bunch of tv movies, as well as Eli Stone, Jack and Bobby, and, of course Scrubs (as JD's brother).

Currently he is, of course, better known as Harrison Wells, but pre-2014, he was an awesome H!iTG...

I agree with the mentions of Kavan Smith (Lorne!, Deputy Andy!) and Niall Matter.

Also for consideration: Aaron Douglas. Sure, he is known for playing Chief, but he has been popping up on my tv screen in a bunch of different things for a while now - Flashpoint, Falling Skies, Eureka, The Firm, etc.

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One of my favourte H!iTG actors is probably starting to get too much work in high profile shows to be classified as such for much longer, but I submit for consideration - Tom Cavenagh. I remember liking him in a one and done role in Sentinel, and then him popping up in a bunch of my favourite shows in the 90's - Providence, Sports Night, Cold Squad... After that he had Ed which kept him busy (gosh, I miss that little show), but then from 2004 he became H!iTG again, popping up in a bunch of tv movies, as well as Eli Stone, Jack and Bobby, and, of course Scrubs (as JD's brother).

I dunno. I put him in the similar territory to Victor Garber, and how some said he is a HITG. Garber was the second lead in what was the biggest show on TV for years, ergo was elevated out of HITG-land. Cavenaugh was on a much less successful show, but it's still a show that cranked out four full seasons on a major network, and Tom was the STAR of the show, not the second lead. If it had been a one season wonder that would be one thing, but four years on NBC is four years.

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