Can’t Hardly Waites

Just finished watching State Of Grace…for the umpteenth time, because it’s one of my favorite films, and because today happens to be St. Patrick’s Day…and I had to wonder: Why was an actor like Thomas G. Waites, (quite brilliant in 1978’s On The Yard, as well as …And Justice For All the following year), why was an actor this talented cast for what was, essentially, a one-line, blink-and-you-miss-him cameo?

Waites shows up onscreen early in the film, recedes into the background of a few other shots around the halfway point in the picture, then vanishes without explanation long before the story concludes. And I’m left wondering, why?

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By this point in his career, Waites was established as a character actor in motion pictures and television, with notable stage credits (acting opposite Al Pacino in David Mamet’s American Buffalo, for example, shortly before being cast by John Carpenter in The Thing), yet he was cast in State Of Grace as, essentially, a background player? WTH?

Was his role more prominent in the shooting script? Did his role wind up a post-production casualty on the cutting room floor? Was he unable to complete filming and his role recast?

My inquiring mind would like to know. And, thus far, the awesome search engines of the Internet have been unable to answer the question.

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