Several actors on IMDB’s cast listing under Michael Mann’s Blackhat don’t have a character name assigned to them. One is Yorick Van Wageningen, a dutch actor known for his roles in The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, The Chronicles of Riddick and The New World. He has a brooding character that is effectively manipulated into malice – perfect for his role as the token baddie in Blackhat – or at least, that is what the trailer leads us to believe. So, it may not be the truth of the film’s story after all. Perhaps like many who watched the trailer, it wasn’t clear who this faceless hacker was that spoke with an effected English accent. Upon study, it would appear to be Yorick van Wageningen.
The video interview I include here isn’t a particularly good one, but it was shot in 2013, around the time he was probably about to shoot his scenes for Blackhat – it does look and sound like him. I realise I am slow to catch on to this, but I can’t be alone, wondering who this enigmatic character is.
The perceived anonymity of this hacker is no doubt why Mann chose not to reveal the face or much of his story in the trailer, but we all know that any Michael Mann film is as much about the character background of the force for perceived bad, as it is for the good. The trailer reveals the nuances of Nicholas Hathaway and his relationships (Chris Himsworth), but there is nothing to reveal those belonging to Van Wageningen’s so far unknown character name. The trailer in fact gives the impression he is totally isolated, just like Vincent was in Collateral – detached, unreachable and deadly focussed. In Public Enemies, the coin was turned over, and it was Christian Bale’s conflicted and law abiding character, Melvin Purvis, who came across as alone, though never detached. Far from it, in fact. The true story of Purvis is tragic, in that he committed suicide later in years. The conflict in that man, out to do good in a world of bad is harder to reconcile than living recklessly “in the moment”. To share the darkness of another person’s life is examined over and over in Mann’s films. I can never forget the line in The Insider when Wigand was outside the courthouse and was so conflicted as to what to do that he said something along the lines of, “I can’t seem to find the criteria to make a decision”. Knowing “which way is up” was a conflict Sonny Crocket struggled with in Miami Vice.
Any commercial trailer has to be fast to give a basic plot line for the prospective movie goer to grasp. Yet, we know that Mann’s films are more about character studies than the plot itself. We don’t know much about Van Wageningen’s character, which is certainly a great reason for Mann to cast him in this shadowy role, but whilst he is barely featured in the trailer, one must expect him to have a central role within the film.
That all said, I may have egg on my face if it turns out not to be Yorick Van Wageningen at all. But it looks likely. What do you think? I include a video interview, so you can see him and compare his voice.
Looking forward to Trailer #2!
The evening after I posted this article I was watching a movie called The Way. It featured a rather plump Yorick Van Wageningen in a role far away from a Blackhat hacker – a pilgrim on his way to make the El camino de Santiago. It’s always intriguing when one has these coincidences!