Ben Foster: 5 Things to Know About the Actor

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Ben Foster

He was recently cast in Barry Levinson's film about the Gotti crime family.

Ben Foster, who was recently cast in director Barry Levinson's film about the Gotti family as John Gotti Jr., has been in the business for years.

Foster joins John Travolta, Al Pacino and Kelly Preston in Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, being produced by Fiore Films. Filming begins on the indie film in New York early next year and follows John Gotti Jr.'s relationship with his father, John Gotti Sr.

Foster's resume includes films like The Laramie Project, The Messenger, Bang Bang You're Dead, Alpha Dog, The Mechanic, 3:10 to Yuma and X-Men: The Last Stand and he has also appeared on television in series such as HBO's Six Feet Under, from Alan Ball.

Here are five things to know about the actor:

1. He has a younger brother who also acts: Foster's younger brother Jon has starred mostly in television, with series regular roles on ABC's shortlived Life as We Know It opposite Sean Faris and Chris Lowell, NBC's Windfall and CBS' Accidentally on Purpose with Jenna Elfman.

2. He appeared in NBC's Freaks and Geeks: Foster appeared the cult series, produced by Judd Apatow. His character, Eli, was seen in the pilot and in the episode "Carded and Discarded"; it was one of Foster's early roles before landing his first meaty role: the 2001 teen flilm Get Over It, in which he played Berke, opposite Kirsten Dunst, Sisqo and Shane West.

3. He was a Disney actor: Appearing in the original Disney Channel series Flash Forward (not to be confused with ABC's canceled drama that aired from 20010-11) from 1996-97, Foster played Tucker, a 13-year-old who just started the eighth grade. Jewel Staite, Theodore Borders, Ricky Mabe and Rachel Blanchard were among his co-stars in the kids series.

4. He likes actors who take chances: "Gary Oldman has done a lot of fine work. He really excites me, he always puts himself on the line and takes a lot of great chances," Foster said in a 2007 Charlie Rose interview touting his film 3:10 to Yuma.

5. He made his feature film debut opposite Hilary Swank: The 1997 film Kounterfeit, directed by John Mallory Asher, starred Foster, Swank, Corbin Bernsen and Bruce Payne. It was a little-known film that centered on a seasoned former criminal who is drawn into a counterfeit money deal that suddenly turns into a shooting spree that turns deadly. Foster played a minor role, Travis, which led to 1999's Liberty Heights, where he played a Jewish teen in a forbidden relationship. (Adrien Brody and Joe Mantegna co-starred.)