Creating an account with gives you access to more features and services, like our weekly newsletter and other special features just for the film community.

Large james badge dale iron man 3

Working Actor: James Badge Dale

This ascendant young "Iron Man" actor is poised to become the king of summer blockbusters this year. But he's been working at it for the last ten years. Where have you seen him before?

(They're in the movies, but rarely in the tabloids. In this series, we take a look at America's most valuable Working Actors.)

You've Most Likely Seen Him In ...
...A certain box-office phenomenon currently blowing up multiplexes all over the world. Certainly the highest profile gig for this up-and-coming actor is on screens right now in Iron Man 3. Dale plays the top assassin for baddie-bad guy Guy Pearce, and his "light on the words, heavy on the sneer" approach is quite magnetic. Here's hoping this glimmer of star power will only lead to more (and bigger) roles.

Unless You've Really Been Paying Attention, in Which Case You Remember Him From ...
...Michael Fassbender sex dramas set in New York. Yes, that was Dale as the obnoxious work friend of Fassbender's character in Shame. It was actually one of the more underrated performances of that year, every bit the outwardly sleazy counterpoint to Fassbender's simmering sexuality.

"Wait, So He's That Guy From ..."
...That crazy shootout at the end of The Departed. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to be in a Martin Scorsese picture, especially one that was good enough to go on to win the Oscar. Dale played a cop in the film, a role that achieves immortality once the film reaches that wild climax where shocking reveal tops shocking reveal. Not a bad day's work taking part in one of the most memorable scenes of the past decade.

You Can Also Go Back and Spot Him In ...
...A couple tales of desperate men and plane crashes. In The Grey, you can find Dale as one of the victims of the opening plane crash that sends Liam Neeson on his epic battle against many, many wolves. In Flight, you'll have to look a bit harder. Not because his role is so small -- it is, but it's quite a memorable scene -- but because Dale is practically unrecognizable as a cancer patient wasting away.

Perhaps Your Cultural Tastes Extend Beyond Movies, In Which Case...
...You've seen the bulk of Dale's highest-profile work. His breakthrough performance came as a featured performer in the third season of 24. If fighting terrorists alongside Jack Bauer set one kind of template for Dale's roles, it would later be reinforced by leading role in HBO's WWII miniseries The Pacific. Dale would have a very different follow-up to The Pacific with his next lead role in the ill-fated AMC conspiracy drama Rubicon. If you watched Rubicon you know how good it was. If you didn't, IT'S YOUR FAULT IT GOT CANCELLED.

Later This Summer, You Can Find Him In ...
...Two more massive blockbusters. James Badge Dale is kind of poised to become the king of summer, at least when it comes to accumulated box-office dollars. After Iron Man, he'll be taking in the zombie apocalypse with Brad Pitt in World War Z, and after that, he's got The Lone Ranger lined up. It's the Summer of Dale, get onboard now!

Related: Working Actor: Radha Mitchell


What you need to know today