NEW YORK — In the crime drama thriller “A Single Shot,” Sam Rockwell stars as John Moon, a man who gets caught up in a tense cat-and-mouse struggle with a pack of hardened criminals after mistakenly shooting a woman and then discovering a box of cash by her body. Rockwell describes Moon as a “down-on-his-luck” anti-hero who is really trying to “get reunited with his family.”
Moon is a character familiar to Rockwell, who is known for taking on dark, off-kilter characters such as the crazed prisoner “Wild Bill” Wharton in “The Green Mile” or the unemployed actor and dognapper Billy Bickle in “Seven Psychopaths.”
While he takes on other kinds of roles, like the affable water park manager Owen in “The Way Way Back” or a serious journalist in “Frost/Nixon,” Rockwell acknowledges that he’s attracted to “dark stuff.”
“I love to go back to this kind of stuff and shake it up a little bit,” he said in a recent interview to promote “A Single Shot,” which opens in limited release Friday in New York theaters. He said some of his offbeat characters seem to be “a kind of cousin” and that he returns to these roles the way some actors revisit “Hamlet” or Stanley Kowalski in an effort “to perfect an archetype.”
Rockwell, meanwhile, confirmed he’s in talks to appear opposite Rosemarie DeWitt in a remake of “Poltergeist,” saying he and the filmmakers are “just addressing some script stuff, but I think it may be happening.”
He said 1982’s “Poltergeist” was a “big deal” for him. “I was blown away by that film.” He also said the new movie won’t reprise the characters played by JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson. “It’s a very different story,” Rockwell said. “They’re a little more working class.”
The 44-year-old actor said he’s heard there has been some chatter about a possible Oscar nomination for his role in “The Way Way Back,” but he doesn’t take it seriously.
“Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz,” he said. “It is what it is. That’s why they call it buzz.”