After ‘Dexter,’ Michael C. Hall Found This Role “Therapeutic”


The big picture

  • Michael C. Hall first rose to fame on the television series
    six feet under
    where he showed a wide range of emotions as the character David Fisher.
  • In the series
    Hall played an emotionally cold serial killer, which limited his ability to show emotion compared to his previous role.
  • in the movie
    Cold in July
    Hall plays a different kind of killer, showing a greater sense of remorse and showcasing his acting skills in a leading role.

Michael C. Hall has the distinction of being a part of not one, but two iconic television series of the 2000s. The first time many of us met Hall was in 2001, where he played the emotional David Fisher on the network HBO. six feet under. In 2005, six feet under ended, but Hall found even greater fame the following year with Showtime's Dexter. Dexter Morgan was the exact opposite of David Fisherwhich allowed us to see the Emmy-nominated actor's range.

While both lived with death, with Fisher working at a funeral home and Morgan examining murder scenes as part of the Miami Metro Police Department, Dexter's emotions did not control him. What controlled him was the desire to kill. For eight seasons and a reboot in 2021, Dexter: New Bloodthe emotionless Dexter killed bad guys who had fallen through the cracks. when DexterThe initial run ended in 2013, Michael C. Hall moved on to another role the following year. In 2014, Hall starred as writer and director Jim Mickle's Cold in July. He played a killer again, but a different type that gave Hall the chance to show off a wider range of acting skills.

Cold in July

When a protective father meets a murderous ex-con, they both need to veer off the path they're on as they soon find themselves entangled in a downward spiral of lies and violence while confronting their own psyches interior

Publication date
December 31, 2014

Jim Mickle

Nick Damici, Joe R. Lansdale, Jim Mickle

Execution time
109 minutes

Main genre

How many men can a bullet kill?

Michael C. Hall first found fame in 'Six Feet Under'

Before six feet underthe only television acting credit Michael C. Hall had was an episode of the 1999 soap opera While the world turns. For five seasons six feet under, we didn't see him as a famous actor playing David Fisher, but we saw him and nothing else. David was arguably the best part of this series, with Hall giving a stunning performance as a closeted gay man trying to live with the pain of who he is. He didn't like his true nature, just like Dexter Morgan later tried to hide who he really was from the world.

Like David Fisher, Michael C. Hall gets to show a wide range of emotions. We saw him scared, we saw him angry. Later, we could see him happy. David was excited. You could read how he felt on his face, through his body language and in his actions. David Fisher might have been a man in pain, but he was an easy character to understand, regardless of your sexuality.

Michael C. Hall didn't get to show much emotion in 'Dexter'

when Dexter it started just a year later six feet under By the end, viewers had to see the actor in a completely different light. Turned on six feet under, no one knew who he was, but now, although he was not yet a household name, people were used to him in a particular role. It had always been David Fisher on screen, so how could we see him now as anyone else? A cold-blooded serial killer was the exact opposite of him six feet under character


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In DexterHall got to show a minimalist side of his acting range. While David Fisher showed his feelings, Dexter Morgan not only held back, he had nothing to begin with. After the trauma of his childhood, Dexter was left as an emotionally cold man whose only impulse was to kill. He created a persona for himself, got a job, found a girlfriend, made friends, but this was a life he tolerated so he could hide who he really was and get away with it. While this is intriguing, it also meant that for eight seasons Michael C. Hall wasn't allowed to get very emotional. Attacking to kill someone was as energetic as Dexter in most episodes.

'Cold in July' shows Michael C. Hall as a very different killer

Michael C. Hall as Richard and Vinessa Shaw as Ann in Cold in July
Image via IFC Films

Michael C. Hall had been in some feature films during his TV series for movies like the 2009 one. player and in 2013 Kill your loved onesbut from 2014 Cold in July I didn't have him as a supporting actor, but as a protagonist. If you were watching Cold in July A decade or so ago, there's a good chance it was to see him. The only problem with such a big role was that, once again, Hall would make a killer.

Luckily, for Cold in July, Hall's character Richard Dane is not a serial killer. Here, he's a married man and father who kills not out of a sick impulse, but in an act of self-defense, after killing a man named Freddy Russell (Wyatt Russell) that breaks into his house. Bring Freddy's father, Ben (Sam Shepard), threatening Richard and his family. What follows is a dark thriller full of twists and turns you won't see coming.

In a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Michael C. Hall was aware of the fact that he was playing another killer, after playing one for so many years. “When am I aware of it?” he asked. “I was aware of it when I looked Cold in July script and I saw that my character killed someone in the first few pages. However, the context in which this happens is fundamentally different, both in terms of the character and the world in which he lives. Frankly, it was therapeutic to do it after Dexter and play someone who has a greater sense of human remorse.” Cold in July it might be the best work Michael C. Hall has ever done. David Fisher and Dexter Morgan disappear. All you see is Richard Dane. That's the best compliment you can pay such a phenomenal actor.

Cold in July is available to stream on Tubi in the US

Look at Tubi


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