Sizemore caught the acting bug at a young age, when he saw “Beckett,” along with Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole, and then a few years later, “Taxi Driver“. Robert DeNiro became his icon, the ideal he would aspire to forever. In fact, it might be useful to think of Sizemore as the culminating character of O’Toole’s Henry the 2nd, the tormented interior of Burton’s Becket, and the seething confusion and self-loathing of DeNiro’s Travis Bickle. He can be a terrifying enigma or a chummy menace, slapping you in the back before the knife goes in. He will channel O’Toole as the villains of “Natural Born Killers“and”Strange Days,” Burton in “The Relic“and”Saving Private Ryan,” and DeNiro in “Heat,” which found him opposite the man himself. He never outshone his heroes and was always a supporting player to the big icons, holding down the rhythm section while the soloist like DeNiro, Wesley Snipes, Robert DowneyJr, Nicholas Cageand Tom Hanks got the spotlight.
He graduated from Wayne State University with a theater degree, then transferred to Temple University to get his masters, and then he moved to LA to look for opportunities. Small parts in movies, TV, and commercial gigs got him going, but it was only a matter of time before someone noticed the magnetic Sizemore. Small parts of “Blue Steel“and”Born on the Fourth of July” was crucial to getting his foot in the door of high-profile directors on both films. Oliver Stone noticed Sizemore practicing stunts in his wheelchair ten nights a week before a difficult day of shooting and admired his dedication. He didn’t want Stone to use a stunt double for him. Bigelow offered her a part in “Point Break,” which she almost turned down because it wasn’t big enough, but she liked working with him so much she decided to do it without credit. It’s probably what endeared him to Bigelow, enough that when it came time to drop the mercurial second fiddle with the secret of “Strange Days,” Sizemore came to mind. It was during this early part of his career that he was introduced to cocaine. He saw successful actors doing hard drugs, people who had the kind of career he was chasing and thought, “If they’re doing it I should be.” This indicates a bad pattern. He was kind enough to prepare for the films and then go to the set and see the beautiful people rising and participating.
He continued to get bit parts in high profile movies that failed to live up to expectations, such as Simon Wincer“Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man” and John Milius‘ “Flight of the Intruder,” when she was given the second lead in the now-forgotten 1991 thriller “Where Sleeping Dogs Lie,” in which she played a creepy muse for a blocked writer. Dylan McDermott. The movie is bad but Mcdermott and Sizemore both understand that a canvas is a canvas so they better paint. Sizemore’s stumbling, stuttering tenor is a great look at his blend of broader theatricality and camera-friendly subtlety. It’s a great performance in a movie that refuses to earn it. Everything from the way he puts a briefcase to the uncomfortable smile he gets when thinking about his twisted past is so good, a great invention. He took a supporting turn in “Passenger 57,” again as a sidekick, which did well at the box office, and as a hopelessly romantic ghost in the box office flop “Heart and Soul,” where he meets his friend that Robert Downey, Jr, whose own struggle with addiction became a negative image of Sizemore’s. Downey Jr. can get up. from his public collapse and come back from the bottom to become the biggest box office draw in the world. Sizemore’s friends often stopped returning his calls after his troubles became public.