A lot of us probably like Steve Buscemi as an actor. Because he’s a good actor! Resevoir Dogs. Ghost World. Fargo. Really enjoyable movies! Well done, Steve Buscemi! But I never thought of him as a sex symbol until I saw Boardwalk Empire. Well. Now I do.

Partly because the character he’s playing (Nucky Thompson) is really cool. Nucky is the corrupt Atlantic City treasurer at the dawn of prohibition, but you’ve probably seen enough posters and articles to get the general gist of the show.

I don’t usually feel like this is something that enters into my attraction to people, but I think the character is appealing because he respects women in an era when no one else does. However, thank God, he doesn’t seem like the kind of drippy “sensitive guy” that Hollywood usually trots out when they want to show someone who holds women in high regard. This is clearly a character than can stand up to gangsters, but also really hopes that women get the right to vote. When a woman comes to him and begs for a job for her loutish husband, he patiently listens to her stammer and stutter far longer than most people would. He’s even nice to his floozy girlfriend, who, in any other series would simply be showcased once to prove that the main character can get hot girls (I’m thinking of Entourage).

He seems completely confident, but reserved and polite in his manners. It sounds quaint, but he seems like a gentleman. And Steve Buscemi plays it so perfectly that you can’t help but feel that he must have some of those qualities himself.

I’d hit that.

I guess other people figured this out sooner. According to The Black Table:

Terry Zwigoff, who directed Steve Buscemi in the movie Ghost World, spoke about Steve’s strange sex appeal in a documentary about the making of the film. He admits that he had always thought Steve was “somewhat funny-looking,” until one day his wife overheard them talking on the phone and reacted with a surprising excitement. “There’s only one guy in Hollywood you have to worry about leaving me alone in the room with,” she told him, “it’s Steve Buscemi.” Mr. Zwigoff, however, dismissed his wife’s opinion. “I think my wife’s a little weird, you know, because she’s with me,” the nebbishy, nasal-voiced director said.

Or, I suppose, it’s possible that I just like well-acted series set in the 1920’s. Does anyone else find him attractive?