Officer Olson: Uh-huh. In what way?
Townsperson: Oh, just in a general kinda way.
Steven Vincent Buscemi (born December 13, 1957 in Brooklyn, New York) is a character actor beloved of The Coen Brothers, Adam Sandler, Quentin Tarantino, and anyone and anything related to the world of independent cinema.
In a career spanning over thirty years, Buscemi has carved himself a niche playing an assortment of freaks, losers, weirdos, creeps, and psychos. It is possible that his role as a man who gets fed through a woodchipper may well have him forever pegged as that "kinda funny lookin'" guy.
In addition to his work as an actor, he's also directed a number of feature films and episodes of such television series as Homicide: Life on the Street, OZ, Nurse Jackie, and The Sopranos, notably the latter's celebrated "Pine Barrens" episode.
Buscemi later stepped out of his "creepy weirdo" oeuvre to play the lead character Enoch "Nucky" Thompson in HBO's Prohibition Era drama Boardwalk Empire, and in The Death of Stalin, he played the closest thing the movie had to a hero, Nikita Khrushchev.
Prior to his acting career, Buscemi was a firefighter with the FDNY. On 9/11, he dropped everything he was doing and went to help out his old firehouse once news of the attack broke.
- Parting Glances (1986) Nick
- Mystery Train (1989) Charlie the Barber
- King of New York (1990) Test Tube
- Miller's Crossing (1990) Mink
- Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990) Bellingham
- Barton Fink (1991) Chet
- Billy Bathgate (1991) Irving
- Reservoir Dogs (1992) Mr. Pink
- In The Soup (1992) Aldolpho Rollo
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1993) Phil Hickle
- Rising Sun (1993) The Weasel
- Airheads (1994) Rex
- Living in Oblivion (1995) Nick Reve
- Desperado (1995) Buscemi
- Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) Mr. Shhh
- Homicide: Life on the Street (1995) - Gordon Pratt
- Fargo (1996) Carl Showalter
- Escape from L.A. (1996) Map to the Stars Eddie
- Trees Lounge (1996) Tommy Basilio (also writer/director)
- Con Air (1997) Garland "The Marietta Mangler" Greene
- Armageddon (1998) Rockhound
- The Big Lebowski (1998) Theodore Donald "Donny" Kerabatsos
- The Impostors (1998) Happy Franks
- 28 Days (2000) Cornell Shaw
- Animal Factory (2000) - AR Hosspack (also director)
- Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) Neil Fleming
- Ghost World (2001) Seymour
- The Grey Zone (2001) "Hesch" Abramowics
- Monsters, Inc. (2001) Randall Boggs (voice)
- Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002) Romero
- Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) Romero
- Big Fish (2003) Norther Winslow
- Home on the Range (2004) Wesley
- The Sopranos (2004-2006) Tony "Tony B" Blundetto/ Man
- The Island (2005) James McCord
- Charlotte's Web (2006) Templeton (voice)
- Interview (2006) Pierre Peders (also writer/director)
- Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014) Enoch "Nucky" Thompson
- Hotel Transylvania (2012) Wayne (voice)
- Monsters University (2013) Randall Boggs (voice)
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2016-2019) - Steve Buscemi
- The Boss Baby (2017) Francis E. Francis
- Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) Daytrader (voice)
- The Death of Stalin (2017) Nikita Khrushchev
- Lean on Pete (2017) Del Montgomery
- Elena of Avalor (2018) Saloso
- Miracle Workers (2019-present) God/Eddie Shitshoveler/Benny the Teen
- The Dead Don't Die (2019) - Farmer Miller
- Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? (2020) - Steve Buscemi/Paolo
- The King of Staten Island (2020) - Papa
- Hubie Halloween (2020) - Walter Lambert
- Rick and Morty (2021) - Eddie
- Ax-Crazy: Comes with playing criminals with hair-trigger tempers.
- Butt-Monkey: Particularly in his early career, Buscemi's characters were rarely taken seriously by others, usually being the objects of abuse. This usually went against their desire for respect, often culminating in them getting way in over their heads and then killed. Later, this would often be subverted wherein his characters would turn out to be genuinely dangerous or even successful, particularly in Fargo and The Death of Stalin.
- Chronically Killed Actor: He's well aware of it, too. Especially in The Coen Brothers movies, and the brothers note that his remains get smaller and smaller through each film.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The comic book The Ultimates redesigned Bruce Banner after Buscemi's likeness.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: In addition to dying a lot, most of his deaths are gratuitously graphic and violent, most notably being fed through a wood-chipper in Fargo.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Particularly in his more comedic roles, like Spy Kids.
- Deadpan Snarker: His dialogue in most of his roles is drenched with sarcasm.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Buscemi is very good at portraying the pent-up agitation of characters like Mr. Pink and Carl Showalter.
- Hidden Depths: He worked as a firefighter before becoming an actor, and famously aided in relief efforts following the 9/11 attacks. Even that tidbit wasn't made public until years after the fact because he didn't want to make a spectacle of it.
- Jerkass Woobie: Invoked; many of his characters would be sympathetic if they weren't so unpleasant or ruthless.
- Lunatic Loophole: Armageddon, Con Air, Reservoir Dogs.
- Motor Mouth: A recurring trait of his in most roles. Lampshaded with Donny in The Big Lebowski, who is frequently told to "shut the fuck up" by Walter.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: In Barton Fink, Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, and Con Air.
- Playing Against Type: As the adorably affable and harmless Donny in The Big Lebowski.
- While he's played plenty of villainous criminals, they're typically weasley, low-end hoodlums. Nucky Thompson, however, is a charismatic and cunning crime boss.
- In fact, his mostly comedic roles feature him as a Nice Guy, which is a more accurate description of Buscemi in Real Life.
- Pretty much everyone in Animal Factory is some kind of criminal - which is fitting seeing as it's set in a prison, making it a surprise that Buscemi plays a law-abiding prison official trying to keep the place in order. Admittedly, he's still an out-of-touch Jerkass, but he's nowhere near as bad as the prisoners in his custody.
- Production Posse: With Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, Jim Jarmusch, and Adam Sandler.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Many of his characters, but Fargo's Carl Showalter stands out. Also best shown in an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street where his character is a pretentious longshoreman with delusions of genius who talks down to the detectives whom he views as inferior. They bring in his copy of a Greek manuscript which he cannot read but which Pembleton, who's been playing thick in accordance with Buscemi's racism, can. Averted in his later career: He gets to play characters in Armageddon, Spy Kids, Boardwalk Empire, and others who really are as smart as they think they are.
- Typecast: Usually as wise-asses, psychos, criminals, or some variation of "the creepy guy."