As Seen In: Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Other Significant Work: Public Enemies (2009), Lawless (2012)
Place of Birth: Austin, TX

Tom Sinclair knows that his career—which, while far from reaching leading-man status just yet, is steadily rising—could be in a much bigger place now had he not gotten overly squeamish.

At first, Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow cast Sinclair as Dan, the C.I.A. officer (ultimately played by breakout star Jason Clarke) who tortures the detainee during the film's brutal opening sequence. "I thought I could handle it when I first read the script," says the 47-year-old Hollywood journeyman. "Once we began filming that scene, though, I got a bit gun-shy. It was too real. I vomited all over Jessica Chastain's shoes, ran out of the room, and cried."

Bigelow, bless her soul, felt compassion for Sinclair; rather than giving him the proverbial boot off her set, she found a small part for the embarrassed actor: He's one of the anonymous soldiers running around the Jalalabad, Afghanistan, base when Chastain's character confirms Osama bin Laden's dead body. "Kathryn could have been like any other director and fired me," says Sinclair, "but she kept me around. You've got to respect that."

Since Zero Dark Thirty's release, Clarke's stock has grown considerably—he recently landed the lead in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the highly anticipated sequel to 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. As for Sinclair, he'll next be seen in the summer blockbuster White House Down, playing a random Secret Service agent who gets his ass whooped by the film's villain, played by, that's right, Jason Clarke.

"I'm currently trying to play one of the apes in Dawn," says Sinclair, looking toward the future. "Jason's putting in a good word for me, too. I think I'm becoming his good luck charm." —MB