Dave Karger
July 30, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT


First of all, we’d like the name of the person who decided that Skeet Ulrich was a movie star. Sure, he can smolder with the best of them, but to be honest, we don’t see any Oscars in his future. And when a picture calls for a leading lady over 35, doesn’t your Palm Pilot have anyone besides Meryl Streep and Susan Sarandon? Here’s a rundown of some underused talent whom you’ve relegated to supporting parts. Remember these names, call their agents, and put them above the title.

STEVE ZAHN We got a taste of his melancholy clowning in That Thing You Do! and Out of Sight; this fall, he proves he can carry a film with Happy, Texas. What better way to revitalize the humorless action-movie genre than to let him run wild and save the world at the same time?

ALLISON JANNEY Uncommonly beautiful and infinitely expressive, she’s always memorable, even though she’s rarely given more than three scenes (see Primary Colors and The Object of My Affection). It’s time for Janney to land some big-screen leads. Since NBC cast her in its new political drama, The West Wing, you may have missed your chance. But there’s always the summer hiatus.

VERNE TROYER He was brilliant in the Austin Powers sequel. Now imagine what Mini-Me could do with some lines! Please, do not let this gold mine fall by the wayside like The Island of Dr. Moreau‘s Nelson de la Rosa. What? No vehicle for Verne, you say? Well, surely you’re contemplating a live-action South Park movie. And I dare you to find a more perfect Cartman.

JANEANE GAROFALO A few years back she proved she’s a better catch than Uma Thurman in The Truth About Cats & Dogs. Didn’t you notice? Sure, it’s a kick to see her play a smart-ass superhero in Mystery Men. But her self-deprecating romantic appeal is as wide as Julia’s grin.

WILLIAM H. MACY Is there nothing this guy can’t do? He’s the ultimate in professionalism whether tackling comedy (Mystery Men) or tragedy (Boogie Nights). But not since Fargo has he truly been challenged. Here’s a tip: Cast him in a sexy thriller with his real-life wife, Sports Night spark plug Felicity Huffman. There’s an It Couple for you.

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