What you definitely know him from
Band of Brothers, Office Space
What you might know him from
Sex and the City, Swingers, The Time Travellers Wife
What you probably don’t know him from
Adaptation, Dinner for Schmucks, Going the Distance
Before clicking onto this page, I would have been extremely impressed if you knew Ron Livingston by name, and probably totally gobsmacked if you could name three things he’s starred in. My guess is that most of you will have recognised the face, but probably not the name. And there’s a definite reason for this. Livingston has been in some pretty decent, successful films in the past, but every role has been extremely minor. And there’s a reason for that too…
If you fall into the group that does know and recognise Livingston, it’s going to be from one of three roles. Two are iconic, one being a legendary cult character and the other being a badass Paratrooper, whilst the other is iconic in a rather different way…
Sex and the City
Yes, the female readers among you will now be clicking your fingers and nodding your heads as I re-introduce you to the man behind the iconic character of Jack Berger, the man who dumped Carrie by post-it note. Douchebag. Livingston popped up for a fair few episodes in Season five, playing Carrie’s witty, writer boyfriend. Berger soon became a fan favourite, appearing to be the male counterpart to Carrie. But then the dreaded yellow sticky note was left and everyone detested him with a passion, and understandably so.
For any actor, this kind of role in a TV show such as Sex and the City should be no stretch. The character is fairly normal with nothing too kooky or out of the ordinary about him, but for some reason Livingston seems to overdo it. He tries too hard to be the character and fit into the female dominated show. And, although by no means terrible looking, Livingston does not scream out “leading man” material. And to anyone who disagrees… “I’m sorry, I can’t. Don’t hate me.”
Yes cult fans, rejoice! It’s Peter Gibbons from Office Space, the man we’ve all wished at some time or another to be. The laid back approach to work would never pay off for us like it does for Livingston’s lead character, which is why we secretly hate him. But still, he’s so loveable and constantly seemingly high that it’s kind of hard to be annoyed with the man. Plus he also somehow managed to pull Jennifer Aniston, so respect.
Again, the role of Gibbons wouldn’t and shouldn’t be a stretch for any professional actor. Relaxed, content, satisfied, he constantly walks with a smile on his face and a spring in his step, and Livingston plays it perfectly. He manages to portray a character that everyone can relate with and look up to, and it is magical. He is the man that everyone wishes to be, and this is all down to Livingston’s excellent portrayal. But Peter Gibbons is a character that pretty much anyone could play and do it justice, so does this validate Livingston being a decent actor?
Band of Brothers
If you’re still clueless to who Ron Livingston is by now, I dearly hope this clears it all up for you (and if you haven’t watched this show, and as often as I say this, please, please, please stop reading this and go and watch Band of Brothers. It is by far one of the best pieces of cinema to have ever been produced). Livingston plays the role of Captain Lewis Nixon, Easy Company’s alcoholic Intelligence Officer. Episode nine, Why We Fight, predominately focuses on Nixon and his time at war, and believe me, the episode is absolutely incredible.
I can safely say that the role of Nixon was only as good as it is thanks to Livingston. His performance is pretty much faultless and it is such a joy to watch. Saying that, there are few actors who appear in Band of Brothers who take a single step wrong, but there is something about Livingston as Nixon that just seems so right. His saunter and deathly glares are believable, but it is the times that are spent with Major Winters (Damien Lewis) that are the true gratifying moments. Their relationship is electric, showing that their bond in real life must have been as close. Captain Nix is the role that Livingston was born to play, and anyone who disagrees hasn’t watched Band of Brothers as many times as I have…
It’s safe to say Ron Livingston isn’t one of the best actors to walk the planet, nor is he even scratching the surface. Many of his film roles have been extremely small with only a few lines, and it is his earlier work that remains some of his best. The important thing is that he’s still getting work, which is good as he deserves to remain pottering around Hollywood. He’s proven he can act, but sadly I believe he is the actor equivalent of a one hit wonder. Band of Brothers is and will always be the best thing to have happened to Livingston’s career, and for everyone involved I’m sure it would be hard to top. But that’s it, that was the pinnacle for Livingston. He has since appeared in a number of successful films, but no one remembers him. He is Peter Gibbons and Lewis Nixon, and sadly that’s all he’ll ever be. He simply does not have the skills as an actor to top these roles.
But on the bright side, what awesome roles to be remembered by.