A darkly handsome actor who has made an impact with memorably menacing work in gritty independents, Nicky Katt had a minor acting career as a child, took some time off and returned to the business as an adult, finding success with character parts on film and television. His early TV credits included guest shots on the NBC series "CHiPs" (1981), "Quincy, M.E." and "Father Murphy" and he was featured in the timely ABC special "Goldie and the Kids ... Listen to Us," starring Goldie Hawn. Katt went on to land regular roles in several short-lived TV series: playing Dean Jones' stepson in "Herbie, the Love Bug" (CBS, 1982), providing a character voice on the cloying, animated "Get Along Gang" (CBS, 1984), and portraying Marc Singer's son in "V: The Series" (NBC, 1984-85). Also in 1984, the young actor hit big screens nationwide with a small role in the popular film "Gremlins." After a five-year break, he returned to features with a similarly minor role in the creepy comedy "The 'Burbs" (1989) followed three years later with a cameo role as a waiter in "Sister Act."
In 1993, Katt began a career upswing with a small but memorable role as belligerent hard man Clint in "Dazed and Confused." This 70s-set coming of age comedy paired him with filmmaker Richard Linklater and featured him alongside such future stars as Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey and Adam Goldberg. He went on to play similarly small parts in the spy thriller "American Yakuza," the AIDS drama "The Cure" and the sci-fi epic "Strange Days" (all 1995). Soon Katt would earn a reputation for chilling portrayals of despicable villains, many of whom had an oddly seductive charm. He was featured opposite Alicia Silverstone as an insidious teenage hood in the direct-to-video "The Babysitter" (1995), perhaps a warm-up for his next prominent part. As one of the perpetrators of a child's rape in Joel Schumacher's "A Time to Kill" (1996), Katt reached his widest audience to that point, and showed an onscreen ease with unsettling characters. Even more people caught his guest turn on a 1996 episode of NBC's "Friends," where he typically played a bully who ousts the coffee-loving pals from their Central Perk perch. The actor reteamed with director Linklater for perhaps his best screen role to date in the film adaptation of Eric Bogosian's "subUrbia" (1997), as one of the more explosive slackers hanging out at the local convenience store. Playing Tim, Katt growled his way through the role of a tattooed ex-Air Force man who got discharged by chopping off a finger.
Situated among the ranks of independent film-friendly burgeoning talents (like frequent co-stars Ben Affleck, Giovanni Ribisi, Adam Goldberg, Matthew McConaughey and Cole Hauser), Katt stood out due to his ability and willingness to take on unappetizing but challenging roles attested to by his supporting turns in Schumacher's "Batman & Robin" and Scott Silver's L.A. hustler chronicling independent "johns" (both 1997). Katt next had a more subtly villainous role essaying Renee Zellweger's self-absorbed and insensitive boyfriend in the 1998 tearjerker "One True Thing." That year proved a busy one for him as he had a supporting part in the festival screened independent comedy "Delivered" and reteamed with Affleck in Dean Koontz's pedestrian horror thriller "Phantoms," playing a doomed deputy of a ghost town. Katt was also featured in Adam Goldberg's feature directorial debut "Scotch and Milk," a hipster, commiserative take on the buddy flick co-starring much of the Linklater-veteran boys' club. The actor adeptly flirted with leading man status as star of that year's heartfelt indie "Say You'll Be Mine," playing an aspiring writer questioning exactly what it is he wants from a relationship.
Katt impressed audiences with a featured turn as a hit man in Steven Soderbergh's stylized action thriller "The Limey" in 1999, and started out the next year with as a tyrannical young stockbroker who gives Giovanni Ribisi's promising newcomer a vengefully hard time in the compelling drama "Boiler Room." A small role in William Friedkin's "Rules of Engagement" (2000) as the son of Tommy Lee Jones' military lawyer assured moviegoers that Katt could convincingly play a normal, non-maniacal character. In 2000, he took on a regular series role in "Boston Public," yet another David E. Kelley Beantown-set series. Katt played educator Harry Senate iduring the first two seasons of the look at the personal and professional lives of public high school teachers.
The actor continued to appear in clever supporting turns in features, including a hilariously obnoxious scene-stealing stint in Soderbergh's return-to-indie-style filmmaking "Full Frontal" (2002) as an obtuse, self-absorbed actor, a convincing amateur rock-and-roller in Linklater's hit comedy "School of Rock" (2003) and a few brilliant moments as an assassin for hire stupefied by an arrow injury in the comic book noir "Sin City" (2005)--his other credits included Linklater's animated "Waking Life" (2001), "Insomnia" (2002), "Secondhand Lions" (2003) and "I Love Your Work" (2003)
Cast (Feature Film)
First TV credit, playing Pat McGuire in "Diamond in the Rough" episode of NBC's "CHiPs"
Acted in ABC variety special, "Goldie and the Kids... Listen to Us"
Portrayed Dean Jones' stepson on the short-lived CBS sitcom "Herbie, the Love Bug"
Appeared as Marc Singer's son in the NBC's "V: The Series"
First feature credit as a schoolchild in "Gremlins", billed as Nick Katt
Returned to films after five-year break in "The 'Burbs"
Was a waiter in "Sister Act"; first association with producer Scott Rudin
First collaboration with director Richard Linklater, "Dazed and Confused"; also first film with Ben Affleck
Appeared in the crime actioner "American Yazuka", Peter Horton's AIDS-themed drama "The Cure" and Kathryn Bigelow's futuristic thriller "Strange Days"
Had small role in Gregg Araki's "The Doom Generation"; also acted in Guy Ferland's "The Babysitter", executive produced by Joel Schumacher
Appeared on episode of NBC's "Friends" as a cafe "bully"
Had a pivotal role as one of the rapists in Schumacher's "A Time to Kill"
Portrayed Spike in Schumacher's "Batman & Robin" and appeared in Scott Silver's street hustler parable "johns"
Played featured role in Linklater's "subUrbia", scripted by Eric Bogosian
Joined Liev Schreiber as Affleck's deputy sheriffs in "Phantoms", scripted by Dean Koontz from his novel
Reteamed with Ferland for "Delivered"
Starred as sad sack would-be writer caught between his empty ideal of love with one woman and the real, warm thing with another in "Say You'll Be Mine"
Had small role as Renee Zellweger's self-absorbed boyfriend in "One True Thing"
Featured in "Scotch and Milk", a film by Adam Goldberg, whose character took the brunt of his abuse in "Dazed and Confused"
Signed exclusive talent holding deal with 20th Century-Fox Television
Played a hired killer in Steven Soderbergh's "The Limey"
Portrayed Hayes Hodges III, Tommy Lee Jones' son, in William Friedkin's "Rules of Engagement", second film for producer Rudin
Co-starred in the David E Kelley Fox fall drama series "Boston Public"
Featured as a young stock broker in the thriller "Boiler Room"; third film with Affleck
Cast in "Riding the Bullet" based on the novel by Stephen King