The secret life of Barry Pepper

The secret life of Barry Pepper

Barry Pepper (Image:

If you don’t recognize Barry Pepper’s name, you’ll likely know his face. He’s the striking fellow with the angular features and clear blue eyes who got his big break as sniper Daniel Jackson in 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. Since then, the British Columbia native has become something of a darling among many of Hollywood’s hottest directors. Pepper has a key supporting role in the Coen Brothers’ upcoming adaptation of True Grit and in the Kevin Spacey vehicle Casino Jack. The media attention has revealed some little known facts about the charmingly down-to-earth actor. Here are a few things about Barry Pepper that make us pleased he’s one of our own.

He plays Americans better than Americans do
Pepper is frequently cast in quintessentially American roles, from a private in Saving Private Ryan to a western outlaw in True Grit to Bobby Kennedy in the made-for-TV series The Kennedys.

He’s a DIYer
Pepper wanted to be in the Coen film so badly that he made his own audition tape in the wilderness near his Gulf Island home with his wife as the cinematographer.

He comes from settler stock
Pepper was born in Campbell River, B.C., and comes from a long line of settlers. When she was pregnant, his dad’s mother rode eight miles by horseback to the nearest hospital to give birth to Pepper’s father, and then rode all the way back with her newborn son.

He was raised at sea
When Pepper was a kid, his parents built a 50-foot fibreglass sloop and spent five years sailing it around the South Pacific.

He’s a genuine creative type
Pepper actually received scholarships as an artist rather than an actor.

He owes it all to Johnny Depp
While attending college in Vancouver, Pepper regularly spotted a young Depp filming 21 Jump Street. After getting on-set as an extra, Pepper was bitten by the acting bug and never looked back.

• Barry Pepper: a Canadian in iconic American roles [Globe and Mail]
• True Grit’s Barry Pepper explains how to fulfill what’s on every actor’s wish list [National Post]