Why he’s considered an actor’s actor.
Because he’s understated and steals scenes—see his work in Ted Demme’s 1996 cult hit Beautiful Girls (playing Timothy Hutton’s average-Joe married buddy) and The Truman Show (Jim Carrey’s in-on-the-joke best friend). As a man struggling to be a good cop as his wife is dying, he easily holds his own against scenery-chewers Norton and Farrell.
How he bucked reverse nepotism and landed the role.
His brother is New Line Cinema head Toby Emmerich, who executive-produced Pride and Glory, and it didn’t help at all: The studio fought Noah’s hire, preferring a bigger star. “I sat on the bench while [writer-director] Gavin O’Connor had meetings, waiting for him to find someone he liked more than me. It was horrible,” says Emmerich. “Gavin finally went back to them and said, ‘I now know all the stars in town. I still want Noah.’ ”
And he’s an excellent jerk.
A role opposite Josh Lucas in the Off Broadway production Fault Lines gives him the chance to flex his comedy chops as an obnoxious bar patron who gets some of the biggest laughs. “The hardest part is riding the dick line. You don’t want the audience to write you off as a total blowhard. But I get to come in, raise hell, then leave. It’s incredibly fun.”