Kevin Pollak has been acting in movies for decades. But perhaps his most famous role was Todd Hockney, a member of a criminal gang hired by a mysterious mobster known as Keyser Söze to pull off a disastrous job in 1995’s The Usual Suspects. In an interview with Yahoo Movies (watch it above), he talks about his participation in the acclaimed Bryan Singer-directed thriller, which went on to win two Oscars (for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Kevin Spacey).
Pollak recalls that Singer was less than pleased with his cast’s inability to stop laughing while filming the famous police lineup scene that gives the film its memorable poster image. “We were supposed to be very stoic, very unimpressed, unintimidated,” says Pollak. But when the cast had to read the profane stickup line from a card, “we would lose it over and over and over.” At lunch that day, Singer begged them to get serious. As Pollak recounts however, it was the actors’ inability to keep straight faces in that moment that resulted in a “happy accident” that has helped the film continue to be a crowd-pleaser more than 20 years after its release.
In the chat, Pollak also discusses how Singer gave him the option to choose between two roles — Hockney or mumble-mouthed Fred Fenster, the role eventually played by Benicio Del Toro in his breakthrough performance. While Pollak opted for Hockney after having reservations about Fenster’s early demise, he confesses that Del Toro went on to steal every single scene he’s in, thus proving that he’s a “masterful” actor.
Watch the ‘Usual Suspects’ trailer: