He probably hit his pop-culture high when he cut off a police officer's ear in one of the most gruesome scenes in film history. Of course, just this year, he was burying Uma Thurman alive.
And in the fine tradition of "The Professor," "Fossilman" and "Devilfish," Madsen will be playing Don "The Matador" Everest. Hmmm... not the best poker nickname I've ever heard...
Madsen joins Chris Bauer who was great in season #2 of HBO's The Wire. But it doesn't bode well that Bauer's next role is "White Cop #1" in an upcoming TV movie called The Exonerated.
Also in the cast is Eddie Cibrian. This guy I couldn't pick out of a line up. He's apparently best known for his role in Third Watch, but I never watched the show so I couldn't tell you if he's any good.
The show debuts January 13th at 9 PM ET. The pilot was written and directed by the two men who wrote Rounders, so it's got that going for it.
Will it be any good? Who knows. I think many of us have become concerned that the avalanche of poker on television could actually hurt the game. I know those who are making money off of televised poker are concerned about that avalanche. In fact, the people behind the World Poker Tour sent warning letters to affiliates who were considering showing the syndicated series Ultimate Poker Challenge. (I guess it's that whole, "You stole my idea" thing.)
And now we have poker's answer to Playmakers. Perhaps you remember the ESPN series that showed the darker side of professional football. The NFL was so upset about its portrayal that it basically bullied ESPN into dropping the series. That's despite it's strong performance in the ratings.
Now ESPN wants to give us an inside look at the fast-paced, high-stakes world of poker. Will Tilt also bring us the struggle of a gay poker player or efforts to beat a drug test? Okay, probably not... but I'm sure the fine folks at ESPN are coming up with wonderful storylines that are destined to make us groan.