Throughout his career, award-winning actor, Dennis Christopher, has had the good fortune of working with many legendary film directors. In addition to Quentin Tarantino, Dennis has worked with Federico Fellini (Roma), Robert Altman (3 Women and A Wedding), Hugh Hudson (Academy Award winning Best Picture, Chariots of Fire), Peter Werner (Don’t Cry, It’s Only Thunder) and Randall Kleiser (It’s My Party).
Dennis is perhaps best remembered for his role in Breaking Away, as the idealistic cyclist "Dave Stoller," a working class boy who fantasizes about being an Italian bike racer, and looks forward to the day when an international race will bring excitement to his boring hometown. The film, also starring Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and Paul Dooley, was the sleeper hit of 1979. His performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination, a British Academy of Film and Television Award (BAFTA) and a Youth in Film Award. His other motion picture credits include Trapped, Mind Lies, Circuitry Man and Circuitry Man II, A Sinful Life and Jake Speed, among others.
Dennis is no stranger to period dramas. He was featured in the final season of HBO’s Deadwood, a re-working of the traditional Western. His other television series credits include starring as "Jack of all Trades" in Profiler and recurring roles in Roswell and Kate Brasher. He has guest starred in series such as Six Feet Under, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Crossing Jordan, among others. Mini-series and other long form credits include Stephen King’s It, Golden Dreams: The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, Natural Enemies, Curaçao and Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story.
In addition to his film and television career, Dennis has had quite a career on stage. He starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of The Little Foxes. His other performances on the New York stage include originating the starring role in Retribution, and in Brothers with Carroll O’Connor. His stage accolades include both the L.A. Drama Critics Award for Lead Performance, Drama-Logue Award for Best Actor and L.A. Weekly Award for his portrayal of WWII code breaker "Alan Turing" in the West Coast premiere of Breaking the Code. He received two other Drama-Logue Awards for his performances in Balm in Gilead and American Buffalo.
He has also starred in the Pasadena Playhouse’s production of Side Man and, more recently, the Unknown Theatre’s production of Grand Motel. Additional Off-Broadway and regional credits include Elegies: For Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, The Slab Boys, A Pound on Demand, Summer and Smoke, Butterflies Are Free, and he originated the title role in Yentl: the Yeshiva Boy.
Now, Dennis stars as "Leonide Moguy" in Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s action epic set in the antebellum American South, about a ruthless bounty hunter and the slave he promises to free upon capturing their quarry. The film, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell, is set for release on Christmas Day, 2012. Dennis portrays the lawyer to DiCaprio’s "Calvin Candie," the owner of a plantation where slaves are forced to fight one another. Into this world enters bounty hunter "Dr. King Schultz" (Waltz) and his slave "Django" (Foxx), whose ultimate goal is to find and free his still enslaved wife.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? "When I was a little boy I thought that priests in the catholic church were magicians. I hadn't hit puberty yet so I couldn't understand why everybody didn't want to be one. It was an easy jump from the church to the theater."
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? "Film directors alphabetically & not complete: Ben Affleck, Jacques Audiard, Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels, Lena Dunham, Angelina Jolie, Ben Lewin, Sarah Polley, Jason Reitman, David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese & Steven Spielberg. And just about anyone with a great play."
3. What attracted you to Django Unchained? "Quentin Tarantino called, I answered."
4. What do you identify most with about your character, "Leonide Moguy"? "There was very little to personally identify with. But Mr. Moguy was an exceptional lawyer that excelled in keeping Candie Land highly profitable. He was very successful at commerce with national & international cotton markets. Having said that, my character is a wicked man. Who doesn't even realize the depth of his culpability and complacency when it comes to racism."
5. What was the best part about getting to work with Quentin Tarantino? What did you learn from working with him? "Working with a master filmmaker is a rare opportunity. Being on Quentin's set for almost all of four months, I was constantly being swept up in the kinetic, focused, joyous energy that Quentin brings to work every day. It's a great thing to love your Boss and the job you are called upon to do. "WE LOVE MAKING MOVIES" Q. Tarentino"
6. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Django Unchained? "I know a subconscious thing I believe the audiences will come away with and I really can't explain it, but I believe it's a healing."
7. In addition to film, you have also had quite a career on the stage, starring opposite Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes and Carroll O'Connor in Brothers. What was it like to star alongside these legendary performers? "Awesome. I can't deny it. But with both of these 'stars' I soon learned that they were actors just like me. With many of the same insecurities, obsessions, vulnerabilities and dedication that is required to practice a life long craft. Before they were famous, they were actors."
8. You have won several awards for your film and theatrical work. What do these accolades mean to you? "It's really very nice. But I must say creating a competition out of an artistic expression is kind of strange."
9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? "That I love having an effect on people; also that I don't know how to do anything else."
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Save ten percent of the gross."
11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? "My dead friends."
12. Favorite way to spend your day off? "Abundant sleep, a trek with the dog, great food & a good snog."
13. Favorite way to stay in shape? "Walking the dog and going to the gym."
14. Boxers or Briefs? "Only one way to find out."
15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? "Indestructibility."