Monday, October 15

UCLA grad breaks out of uniform with “˜Confidence’


Actor Brian Van Holt is making quite a name for himself. But
don’t think it’s Dutch.

“I’m actually Scotch-Irish,” Van Holt said.
“My nickname is “˜Dutch,’ but my family’s
part of the McGregor clan. No one really knows where “˜Van
Holt’ came from.”

Regardless of where the name came from, Van Holt is going places
in Hollywood. He’s worked with the likes of John Travolta,
Dustin Hoffman and Samuel L. Jackson, but a key part of this
Illinois native’s journey happened right here at UCLA.

“I didn’t think I would get in, actually,” he
said. “I just had some friends of an ex-girlfriend of mine,
and their family were all UCLA grads, and they were very
encouraging. It made me a better person to go to school.”

Van Holt went in as an English student but left with a degree in
sociology and a minor in psychology while acting in commercials to
pay the bills and subsidize his education. He couldn’t wait
to leave college and empathizes with people soon to be graduating,
but he harbors some regrets.

“I was right there, too, man,” he said. “I
felt the same way. But you look back and go, “˜I had it
made.’ I wish I had been more enthusiastic and involved. A
word of advice: Take advantage of what’s in front of
you.”

After graduating in 1993, Van Holt was accepted into New York
University’s Tisch School of the Arts screenwriting program
but bypassed that opportunity in favor of more acting roles; he has
had the good fortune of working consistently since then.

His largest role to date was opposite Amanda Peet in
“Whipped,” but Van Holt’s career has been one of
uniforms, uniforms and more uniforms, from “Black Hawk
Down” and “Windtalkers” to the upcoming
“SWAT.”

“It just happened that those were the movies that came my
way,” he said. “I think I’m starting to get
pigeonholed.”

He gets to break the mold in his latest picture,
“Confidence,” a smart and stylish take on the celluloid
sting. Director James Foley asked Van Holt to join the group of
grifters personally.

“I have a personal relationship with (Foley) as a
fan,” he said. “When I saw “˜At Close
Range,’ it had such an impact on me. I became a fan of film
from that day on. When he asked me to do it, it was a
no-brainer.”

Van Holt plays Miles, part of a highly successful team of con
artists led by Jake Vig, played by Edward Burns. The film also
stars Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia and Dustin Hoffman; according to
Van Holt, it was a joy to be on the set.

“We all agreed it was, hands down, the funniest job
we’ve all done,” he said. “We hated to go home at
night. Everyone was very laid back, no divas. It was a pleasure to
be on that set. We’re lobbying for the sequel.”

With “Basic” already in theaters,
“Confidence” on the big screen Friday and
“SWAT” on its way soon, the stars are in alignment for
this up-and-coming player. Scripts are being delivered to his door
constantly, but he hopes to one day pen a screenplay or two instead
of just read them. For his next project, though, he has one simple
request.

“I gotta kiss the girl in the next movie, bro,” he
said. “I live with my girlfriend, though, so in case she
reads this, I’m just looking for a girl with a sense of
humor.”

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