When it came time to casting a husband for Angelina Jolie in "Salt," the star's real-life husband piped in and suggested the excellent Diehl.
"Brad had said what a strong actor he was," director Phillip Noyce tells PopcornBiz. "And we were looking for someone with no baggage. We wanted a fresh face -- to keep the audience off guard."
The careful observer will recall that there is actually some baggage. Diehl is such a menacing presence in his beer hall scene of "Basterds," that he's really hard to forget.
But he's almost unrecognizable in "Salt." Amazingly, he does a 180 degree temperament turn -- playing a sensitive, warm husband apparently truly devoted to the study of spiders and his wife. Diehl actually has very warm smile lines on his face, an expression he didn't use at all in "Basterds."
"Yes he was quite ruthless in 'Basterds,' " says Noyce. "But if you're wearing a swastika emblem that gave you a lot of power."
And in "Salt" the actor was able to portray "the innocence and temperament of the man that Salt falls in love with."
"He's just a great actor," says Noyce. We couldn't agree more.
The question is, which is the real Diehl?