So imagine my pleasant surprise when I sat down to watch All the King's Men and noticed that -- hey, isn't that Jackie Earle Haley playing Sean Penn's ultra-tough bodyguard dude?!? How cool to see him back in a movie again! Granted, he didn't have many lines, but it was still great to see an old pal after so many years. And then I headed off to see a dark comedy / suburban drama called Little Children ... and there was Jackie again, this time with a much meatier role: He plays a convicted sex offender who moves into a cushy suburban neighborhood that most definitely doesn't want him around. And the guy gives a great performance in a really difficult role.
So who knows what's next for Mr. Haley? This New York Times article does a fine job of summing up the guy's comeback, and I think that both of the directors involved (Steven Zaillian and Todd Field) deserve a hearty round of praise for pulling Jackie Earle out of obscurity and giving him another shot in the spotlight. Based on the two performances I just witnessed, I suspect Haley will be popping up a lot more frequently in the near future.