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PICTURES: Actor William Fichtner Visits WBEN

(WBEN) If the name doesn't ring a bell, the face is instantly recognizable- often portraying evil- on the big screen

Cheektowaga's William Fichtner  appeared in the opening scene of "The Dark Knight" Batman movie with Heath Ledger. He was in "Armageddon" with Bruce Willis, in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith " with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie,  and in "Black Hawk Down" as Delta Force Soldier Jeff Sanderson.  

And these days, he looks forward to returning to his Western New York roots.

In town Wednesday to visit his 3 siblings, Fichtner is also working to try and lay the groundwork for an independent film project to be shot around here next year.   "I'm at the point in my life where I want to tell stories," he said.

In an interview Wednesday morning with WBEN's John Zach & Susan Rose, Fichtner talked of hard it was to get into the movie business, moving to New York City  at age 21 but not landing his first movie role until he turned 36.


"The dream really started when I was 21 years old working at Mulligan's Beach Bar on Sunset Bay," the 1974 Maryvale High School graduate and SUNY Brockport alum says.  " I took a bus from there, right out of Buffalo, to New York City and started waiting on tables."

Even Fichtner's IMDB.com bio, makes prominent mention of his Buffalo pride:

"A small-town guy with a big heart, William Fichtner has been captivating the hearts of Western New Yorkers for decades. Bill was born in 1956 on Long Island, New York, raised in Cheektowaga, and graduated from Maryvale High School in 1974. His first roles were in soap operas such as As the World Turns (1956) and sitcoms like Grace Under Fire (1993). He has also been in films such as Armageddon (1998), Empire Falls (2005), uncredited in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) as 'The Marriage Counselor' and most recently The Dark Knight (2008). A fan of the Buffalo Sabres, Bill always stays true to his roots."
" The system doesn't favor a young actor starting it off. but that's no reason not to begin the process. Because if you believe in your self, you are going to keep going and one of these days the pieces are going to come together," Fichtner said.

 Currently, Fichtner is about to appear as "Shredder" in the August release of a live action version of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.".  He is also appearing as a voice actor in the Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty video games. But his next effort is a more personal project with a upstate New York feel.

"I'm at a place in my life where I want to tell my own story.  I co wrote an indie film, and with the help of the Western New York Film Commission with (Executive Director Tim Clark and Rich Wall who works with him, and a lot of support form back here in Buffalo, especially our good Mayor Byron Brown. It is something I'd like to shoot part of up here.

"It was written for the rolling hills of the Finger Lakes, and it's something I want to do . I want to star in it, I want to direct it , and I'm up here right now doing a little work on that, trying to pull the pieces together. We shoot it next year, and hopefully everything will come together and we will do that."


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