Sure, Daniel Sunjata’s not bad to look at. But the One for the Money star is more than just a pretty face.When Hollywood casting directors are looking for that perfect blend of smoldering and smart, they look no further than Daniel Sunjata. It’s a combination that has served him well — in recent years, the 40-year-old has popped up on Broadway (Cyrano de Bergerac, Take Me Out), on the small screen (CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, Rescue Me) and at your local Cineplex (The Devil Wears Prada and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past).
Despite his screen-idol good looks, he’s interested in more than just the superficial; he revels in portraying complicated, below-the-surface men. “What excites me about a role is psychological complexity,” says Sunjata, who was raised in Chicago. “Because isn’t that what most of us are on some level? Boiling pots of contradiction?”
Now he’s bringing that complexity to the big screen, co-starring opposite Katherine Heigl and Jason O’Mara in the adaptation of the Janet Evanovich best-seller, One for the Money. Heigl plays Stephanie, a down-on-her-luck Jersey girl, O’Mara plays the deadbeat she’s chasing, and Sunjata plays a bounty hunter who shows her the ropes to catching a con. Despite the trio’s somewhat tense on-screen dynamic, it was all fun and games on the set. “The vibe was definitely a good one,” he says. “Katherine kept us all laughing throughout the arduous shooting schedule.”
Up next for the do-it-all pro? He switches gears to play a detective opposite Amanda Seyfried in this month’s thriller Gone, and this summer, he’ll appear in the highly anticipated blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises. After such heavy work, he’ll decompress with some heady hobbies — reading, listening to music and attending seminars on subjects that interest him. After all, it takes work to stay sharp — even if looking sharp comes naturally.