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Brion James

  • American actor
  • Born February 20, 1945
  • Died August 7, 1999

Brion Howard James (February 20, 1945 – August 7, 1999) was an American character actor. Perhaps best known for his portrayal of Leon Kowalski in Blade Runner, James portrayed a variety of colorful roles in popular films such as Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs., Another 48 Hrs., Silverado, Tango & Cash, Red Heat, The Player and The Fifth Element. James' commanding screen presence and formidable physique at 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall usually resulted in his casting as a heavy, appearing more frequently in lower-budget horror and action films and TV shows throughout the 1980s and 1990s.


Blade Runner helped make my career. Everybody was in it. Who knew?




I never play a villain that I don't have something I can either do or say so the audience sees there is something redeemable about them. In other words, I don't want to do evil for evil's sake. I don't want to do Jason slasher movies. There's no point in that.




I was a different kind of kid, oversensitive and all that.




You never know what show is going to change your life.




I've never considered myself a leading man, don't look like one, don't want to be one.




Larry Kasdan is a great director.




I still do television. I don't care. I just want to work. I love to work. I want to do 500 movies.




I'm a parrot. I can pick up an accent and just do it.




The bad guys are the best parts.




Since very early in my career, I have always did my own stunt fighting.




Work begets work.




I could talk about Blade Runner forever.




I couldn't say no to jobs and I couldn't say no to drugs. I'd get high from a movie, I'd be somebody else because I didn't particularly like me, so long as I had a script in my hand, I was okay. As soon as the movie was over, I didn't know what to do.




I'm a character actor, so I don't take the hit if the movie's bad, the lead does. So, I don't want to be the lead. He takes the hit, I don't.




Producing is nothing more than bringing all the elements together, connecting people.




I'm big and a lot of the stars are smaller so if you're big and mean looking, you play bad guys. After Blade Runner, I was the meanest guy in Hollywood.




My dad had a movie theater so I was there every night.




I prayed to God for help and I put myself in a recovery house called Studio 12. It was for people in the business and you didn't have to have any money to go, which was good because I was broke.




I play out negative fantasies for people. I'm the guy people love to hate. And they always remember the bad guy.




My whole deal when I do accents or dialects is I gotta fool the locals. If I fool the locals then I've done my job.




You know, stand-up comedy is where I pretty much started out.




Westerns was why I got into the business. I grew up on a small farm in California and all I ever wanted to do was to play gangsters and cowboys in movies.




The best thing about Sci-Fi, which is my favorite genre, is that there are no rules for behavior. So you can do anything you want.




The interesting part of the process is developing the character, you know, why did he become that? Why is the guy a murderer, or why is this guy a pervert, or whatever he is. So that's the fun part for me to delve into the abyss.




In the '70s, everybody was doing drugs, so long as you showed up and did your work, they'd use you until you died.




I did 125 films, and over 100 television shows, and you've never seen the same character twice.



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