Hard-working character actor James Remar has been mainly typecast as a psychopathic killer in a wide variety of thrillers, both blockbusters and low-budget straight-to-video. A native of Boston, he studied acting at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse and made his Broadway debut with Bent, opposite Richard Gere. His first major film role was gangster Ajax in Walter Hill's 1979 action drama The Warriors. The film gained a minor cult following and seemed to cement Remar's reputation as a bad guy. He would continue to work with director Hill for Windwalker (1980), 48 Hrs. (1982), and Wild Bill (1995).
During the '80s, he played psycho gangster Dutch Schultz in Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club, a maniac killer in Rent-a-Cop, and a Neanderthal in The Clan of the Cave Bear. He got a little break in 1989 as the cop Gentry in Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy. During the '90s, he made a deal with the devil in Tales From the Darkside: The Movie and appeared in many movies that ended up on TV or home video. He had played so many villains that he was able to spoof himself as Max Shady in the comedic thriller parody Fatal Instinct. A few gentle comedy dramas followed with Penny Marshall's Renaissance Man and Herbert Ross' Boys on the Side.
Many film roles opened up in the late '90s, from Victor Salva's independent comedy Rites of Passage to the big-budget Robert Zemeckis mystery What Lies Beneath. After playing Frank Cisco on the TV series Total Security, he showed up on HBO's Sex and the City as Richard, Samatha's (Kim Cattrall) rich boyfriend of the moment. He then joined the cast of the USA original series The Huntress as fugitive Tiny Bellows, the love interest of Dottie Thorson (Annette O'Toole). In 2003, he could be seen in feature films from the action moneymaker 2 Fast 2 Furious to the light comedy Duplex.