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Denver isn’t an obvious place to live for an actor looking to make it big. But for Marty Lindsey, it’s home. He has a house in Arvada (his family also lives in the area), although he bounces between Colorado, New Mexico, and Los Angeles. Lindsey knew he wanted to be an actor around age 12, but was recruited to play football at Fort Lewis College in Durango. “I realized during fall training that football was not what I wanted to do,” he says. After catching a theater rehearsal, he switched gears. (While still in school, he worked on some experimental films with the then-unknown Trey Parker and Matt Stone.)
Lindsey has been in the acting game for more than two decades, and while the 44-year-old has played the lead in some indie films, you’ll often find him in supporting roles in bigger flicks. As Lindsey sees it, that’s just the way it is. (For every J-Law, there are dozens of fantastic actors without cutesy nicknames.) “I feel like I’ve earned my place,” he says. There’s no doubt about it: Lindsey’s resume includes 2005’s The Zodiac, the just-released Outlaws and Angels, and myriad TV appearances (Manhattan, The Night Shift, Better Call Saul), as well as his own writing and directing projects. Currently, you can catch the actor playing the SWAT team leader in Sicario, the drug cartel thriller starring Emily Blunt that opened earlier this month. (It’s currently sitting at number two on the list of top U.S. independent releases in 2015.) We caught up with Lindsey at the Bardo Coffee House to talk film, fame, and destiny.
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On Sicario … “It’s an intense movie. It was a lot of sting training: protocol, how they move, how they carry a gun.”
On working with Emily Blunt … “All my scenes are with Emily. She’s a non-superstar superstar. It’s so great to see this very smart, talented, lovely woman pick up a gun and just get dirty and sweaty.”
On Better Call Saul … “It’s so well written. I love it because it’s got some humor to it. And it’s the first time, TV-wise, that I’ve been able to go head-to-head with a series regular.”
On movies versus television … “I love doing movies. There’s nothing better than getting up and driving to set, or getting picked up. It’s my wheelhouse.”
Lindsey looks appropriately serious standing behind Emily Blunt in this screen shot from “Sicario.”
On manifest destiny … “Around October 2013, I’m at the Denver Pavilions [to see Prisoners]. As I’m walking out, I say, out loud, ‘I’m going to work with this guy [director Denis Villeneuve]. I have to work with this guy.’ I loved the movie so much. Eight months later, I get cast in Sicario. You really truly can make things happen—you have to say it out loud.”
On his foray into soap operas (the early 2000s Passions) … “So ridiculous.”
On the actor he’s dying to work with … Sean Penn
On whether he’d rather be behind the camera or in front of it … “Where I’m right in the saddle, it’s as an actor. It’s what I’ve been working on the hardest for close to 20 years. I’m in my forties. I just got to the point where I can handle these characters—authority figures, power figures. It’s interesting how the casting world sees me.”
On his favorite films … Annie Hall, Taxi Driver, A River Runs Through It (among others)
On working in the movies … “I really do love what I do. I feel incredibly privileged to have this life, but it’s been a lot of a work, a lot of time paying dues.”