A kohl-eyed actor who has oozed a steady stream of low-key testosterone through a series of films that include Dazed and Confused (1993), A Time to Kill (1996), and The Limey (1999), Nicky Katt has brought life to a stable of idiosyncratic, often dysfunctional characters that have established him as one of the more adventurous young performers in Hollywood.
A former child actor who first worked on shows ranging from V to Father Murphy, Katt got his adult breakthrough in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused, a film that also helped to launch the careers of such castmates as Parker Posey, Matthew McConaughey, and Joey Lauren Adams. He went on to do prolific supporting work, showing up to particularly memorable effect as a one-armed convenience store clerk in Gregg Araki's The Doom Generation (1995), as a belligerent redneck in Joel Schumacher's A Time to Kill (1996), and as Renee Zellweger's ambitious attorney boyfriend in One True Thing (1998). One of his most memorable roles came courtesy of Steven Soderbergh's The Limey, which featured Katt as a dreadlocked, sociopathic hitman whose running (and largely improvised) commentaries on various passersby provided some of the film's most unnerving comic moments.
Although he has been seen mainly in a supporting capacity, Katt has also done notable lead work, particularly in Linklater's SubUrbia (1997), in which he managed to stand out from a talented ensemble cast with his portrayal of an alcoholic and xenophobic ex-Air Force recruit. The actor also starred in and executive produced Adam Goldberg's Scotch and Milk (1998), an acclaimed post-noir drama that featured him as one of a group of aimless friends skulking and posing their way around Los Angeles. With a growing list of credits and further roles in such well-received films as Boiler Room (2000), which cast him as a money-grubbing broker, Katt began the 21st century on a very promising note. With roles in such high-profile releases as Insomnia and director Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal (both 2002), Katt continued to hold that note, all the while maintaining a growing fan base with his role as geology teacher Harry Senate on the popular evening drama Boston Public.
He continued to work steadily in a variety of projects including the indie I Love Your Work, doing a cameo for Richard Linklater in School of Rock, Planet Terror, and appearing opposite Jodie Foster in the vigilante drama The Brave One.