Brutus Howell in The Green Mile

David Morse - Dancer in the Dark

Friday, September 29, 2000

TV Guide Online

Dancer Star Takes a Stand

By Rich Brown

David Morse is proud to have starred in two movies that decry capital punishment — The Green Mile and the newly released Dancer in the Dark. But the actor tells TV Guide Online that he's frustrated neither film is likely to have any impact on death penalty laws in this country.

"The problem with The Green Mile is it was still too much of a fantasy," says Morse, who played tough-guy penitentiary guard Brutus "Brutal" Howell in the 1999 film. "As much as it dealt with the death penalty, it was presented in a way that you could say, 'It's a movie.'"

The grim drama Dancer in the Dark is more realistic, he says, but it's likely the offbeat Cannes Film Festival winner will be preaching to the already converted. "Most of the people who go to this kind of movie already share the sympathy of the movie," he says.

Which is distressing news for the actor, who, like many in Hollywood, is strongly opposed to the death penalty. "I don't think you can sacrifice innocent people to do it," he says. "I think as long as we are imperfect, our laws are going to be imperfect and we have no business doing something so final."

Morse, who next stars opposite Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe in Proof of Life, admits it wasn't easy taking on his most recent role as corrupt cop Bill in Dancer. "The character was a really hard one to do because I did not sympathize with him," he says. "I didn't know how I was going to do this character that I couldn't relate to. It could've just flopped."



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