I’m working on a scene that involves a powerful character’s lowly, world-weary servant. He’s basically a custodian. And that has me thinking about memorable custodians, service people, bank tellers, bellhops, bouncers (etc) who are not major characters but who still make an impression in their one fleeting scene.

I think of the woman who endures Steve Martin’s request for a @#$%ing car in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I can remember her expression very clearly.

Or Steve Buscemi, the first time I ever saw him, as Chet, the hotel check-in guy in Barton Fink.

I’m tempted to mention some Gosford Park character, but there are no minor characters in Gosford Park, even among “the help.”


Who’s your favorite big screen janitor, or cashier, or guard… someone who only appears for a scene or two playing what is probably a minimum-wage character, and somehow makes an impression?

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