The first thing that comes to mind when most people think of Ron Livingston is Office Space, where he memorably played smug slacker Peter Gibbons who rebels against office politics and bosses in general with a guffaw-inducing indifference. With noteworthy turns in such heralded productions as Swingers,Adaptation. and Sex and the City, Livingston is generally regarded as a comedic actor even though he’s won the most critical acclaim for his supporting role in the World War II miniseries Band of Brothers. Perhaps this is what has drawn him to Fort Bliss, an indie drama wherein Variety reports he will co-star opposite the striking but generally underused Michelle Monaghan.
The follow-up to writer-director Claudia Myers’ feature debut Kettle of Fish, Fort Bliss will center on a soldier (Monaghan) who struggles to rebuild her relationship with her 5-year-old son after returning from a long tour of duty in the war in Afghanistan. The trade didn’t detail what role Livingston might play, but it seems likely he could portray the father to the boy, and by extension possibly Monaghan’s onscreen husband.
Now some might ding the project for having a similar setup as the recent drama,Return, which starred Linda Cardellini as a soldier dealing with an emotionally troubling homecoming. However, with so many service men and women returning from our wars abroad, it seems to me there are plenty of stories to tell and many points of view worthy of exploring. So I’m interested to see what Myers has up her sleeve.
Plus, Monaghan is an actress I haven’t been able to get enough of since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. She proved a sharp comedy partner to Robert Downey Jr. there, then followed it up with a layered and compelling performance in 2007’s Gone Baby Gone. How she’s stayed a supporting player—often stuck in thankless girlfriend roles—since then is beyond me. Ultimately, Monaghan and Livingston are well-matched pair to tackle this tricky material, and both have something to prove, which could make Fort Bliss an incredible drama as well as a major moment for each.