Freeheld stumbles over too many hurdles to recommend it. The film’s heart is in the right place, but its focus is not.
Roy Scheider in "If I Didn't Care" (2007).
From the Associated Press:
Scheider was nominated for a best-supporting actor Oscar in 1971’s “The French Connection” in which he played the police partner of Oscar winner Gene Hackman and for best-actor for 1979’s “All That Jazz,” the autobiographical Bob Fosse film. [...]
“He was a wonderful guy. He was what I call ’a knockaround actor,”’ [Scheider's "Jaws" co-star Richard] Dreyfuss told The Associated Press on Sunday.
“A ’knockaround actor’ to me is a compliment that means a professional that lives the life of a professional actor and doesn't yell and scream at the fates and does his job and does it as well as he can,” he said. [...]
A few moments before Scheider utters the now-famous line that he must have known would be quoted in his obituaries.
Dreyfuss recalled Sunday a time during the filming of "Jaws" when Scheider disappeared from the set. As the filming was on hold because of the weather, Scheider “called me up and said, ’You don’t know where I am if they call.’
“He’d gone to get a tan. He was really very tan-addicted. That was due to a childhood affliction where he was in bed for a long time. For him being tan was being healthy,” Dreyfuss said.
In his original 1975 review of "Jaws," Roger Ebert wrote: "All three performances are really fine. Scheider is the character most of us identify with. He's actually scared of the water, doesn't like to swim and, when he sees the giant shark swim past the boat for the first time, we believe him when he informs Quint, very sincerely, 'We need a bigger boat.'"
He added that Scheider “was a pretty civilized human being — you can’t ask for much more than that.”
Scheider was also politically active. He participated in rallies protesting U.S. military action in Iraq, including a massive New York demonstration in March 2003 that police said drew 125,000 chanting activists.
Scheider had a home built for him and his family in 1994 in Sagaponack in the Hamptons, where he was active in community issues.
According to IMDb, Scheider has two more films completed or in post-production: "Dark Honeymoon" and "Iron Cross."
Read Dave Kehr's NYT obit for Scheider here.
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