Bradley Whitford: From Bad Guy To Smart Guy

bradley whitfordYou know who I really like that doesn’t get enough play?  Bradley Whitford.  You know who I mean?  He was Josh Lyman on The West Wing, but that’s not where I first saw him.  Way back when 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting came to TV, Whitford was playing Mike Todwell, the bad guy – and this is where he got type cast for some time.  Think about any old movies you’ve seen Whitford in; remember Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise?  Also came out in 1987, also features Whitford as a bad guy.  And you know what?  He’s awesome at it.  It’s not like Ben Affleck’s early career as a baddie (Dazed and Confused, Mallrats) – Aflleck is huge and looks like he can kick your ass in those movies, where as Whitford is playing the asshole and doing a great job at it.  Then, in 1995’s Billy Madison, who’s playing the bad guy?  Yep, it’s Bradley Whitford again, doing that awesome weasel laugh!  Just awesome, I love this guy!

Jump over to 1999 and boom – it’s West Wing time and now Whitford is playing the role he’s probably best known for:  Josh Lyman, an adviser to the President!  He’s a good guy and he’s awesome, delivering his lines (it helps that they’re good lines, probably written by Aaron Sorkin) with impeccable timing.  Maybe it’s not fair to say, “just like that,” but just like that, I had forgotten who Whitford was every time I saw him and accepted him against type.  It’s that easy, because he’s that good.

Bradley Whitford is awesome.  He’s a character actor, the ultimate supporting guy, and he deserves more play.  Too bad Sorkin couldn’t find a spot for him in The Social Network – he deserves the exposure.  Hey, if anyone is looking for somebody to play a character in their flick and want an actor who can do smart, funny, whitty and asshole all at the same time, give Bradley Whitford a call – he’s the man!

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on February 9, 2011, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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