"Point Break" was Lee Tergesen's big break.
On his second night in Los Angeles in 1990, Lee -- dining with
his friend Tom Fontana -- met a casting agent who had been looking
for a biker type. Lee read for the part the next day. Next thing you
know, Lee's in the movie.
"It was five weeks work, and it was ... the beginning of me
never having to do anything else but act. And I didn't leave
California for nine years," Lee said.
In "Point Break," Lee plays Rosie, part of a gang of
bank-robbing surfers. Rosie is neither a bank robber nor a surfer,
however. He's the guy that does the really dirty work.
The movie is an action-packed visual treat. "Point Break" has stunning
surfing scenes, tense chase scenes, adrenaline-pumping sky-diving
scenes and many shots of very buff surfers, including Keanu Reeves
and Patrick Swayze. It was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who
would go on to win an Academy Award for "The Hurt Locker."
It's a buddy film -- brash young FBI agent Johnny Utah (Reeves)
partners up with grizzled veteran Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey). It's a
romance -- Utah meets a brash young surfer babe, Tyler (Lori Petty)
who teaches him to surf. That enables him to go undercover among the
surfing set to catch the "Dead Presidents," a foursome of
nefarious bank robbers. This group is led by a surfer named Bodhi (Swayze).
Rosie is fairly peripheral to the story for most of the film. He
plays football on the beach with the gang, builds fires for the
gang, parties with the gang, but doesn't surf or rob banks.
The first hint of Rosie's true role comes when Johnny Utah's cover is
blown. The surfer/robbers plot their next move, and Rosie offers,
"I'll deal with that f---ing cop." His offer is declined,
and others propose fleeing. "You run, you die," Rosie
proclaims. But Bodhi has another idea, which sets Rosie into motion
-- as a truly menacing kidnapper.
During the peak of the drama, Bodhi shows
Johnny that Rosie can handle a videocamera as well as a knife. Under
Bodhi's orders, Rosie has taken Tyler hostage and will kill her
unless he gets instructions from Bodhi at a certain time.
"I hate violence. That's why I need Rosie," Bodhi
explains. "Rosie is a mechanism. Once you set him in motion, he
will not stop. He's got this gift of blankness. But when 3 o'clock
comes, he will gut her like a pig and try not to get any on his
Fortunately, his shoes are never at risk, and he delivers the
girl safely. I think this would qualify as one of those "edgy" roles
Lee was looking for when he grew his hair long!