"It's fun to do a great number of roles--doing the same thing over and over can get extremely boring," says actor Peter Boyle. And Boyle, who says varied roles are "what keeps life interesting," has a chance to prove his versatility in his current roles--three of them--which are varied enough to perk up even the dullest of lives.
On the big screen, Boyle plays an advertising executive with a Christ fixation who winds up in a psychiatric hospital in the box-office hit "The Dream Team"; in addition, he is the police chief opposite John Candy in the just released car chase film "Speed Zone."
Switching to the small screen and a much straighter role, Boyle also plays the "very together, military man all the way" John Poindexter in "Guts and Glory," a two-part television miniseries about Iran-Contra figure Oliver North that begins Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBS.
Boyle, who is an alumnus of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe and has starred in such movies as "Joe," "The Candidate" and "Young Frankenstein," said that although he may do a lot of advance leg work for "historical roles" and the like, his preparation often relies on "intuition," "hunches" and "observation."
But for his "Guts and Glory" role, a bit of research, such as watching tapes of the Iran-Contra hearings and gaining insight into Adm. Poindexter's character through talking with those who had been around the hearings, was necessary.
"There's a very clear person there, and my focus is just to present him in that context . . . (with) some authenticity and depth," says Boyle, who added that the publicity surrounding North's trial didn't affect his portrayal of Poindexter.
So are there any roles that Boyle yearns for that he hasn't tackled in his more than 25 movie roles? "I'd like to play a World War II air ace," he says. "I used to fantasize about (being one) as a kid."