The former ''Quantum Leap'' star on the biggest film role of his career

By Josh Rottenberg
September 18, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

If you’re surprised to see Scott Bakula costarring opposite Matt Damon in The Informant!, you can’t be more surprised than Bakula himself. ”I’m just happy they thought about me,” says the actor, who’s best known for his roles in the early-’90s time-travel series Quantum Leap and the Star Trek spin-off Enterprise. ”You look at who they put together for those Ocean’s movies — they’re big folks!”

With countless TV credits to his name (he appeared on Chuck last season and is now shooting TNT’s Men of a Certain Age with Ray Romano), Bakula now finds himself, at 54, with the biggest film role of his career. In director Steven Soderbergh’s darkly comic thriller, Bakula plays an FBI agent trying to build a criminal case around Damon’s erratic whistle-blower. The square-jawed, Missouri-born Bakula helps ground a story that grows increasingly absurd. ”Steven kept saying, ‘You’re the audience’s way into this movie,”’ he recalls. ”I was like, ‘Can anyone else do that?’ It felt like a lot of pressure.” As buzz builds around his turn in The Informant!, Bakula hopes to make quantum leaps into other surprising roles. ”I’d make a good bad guy,” he muses. ”The audience doesn’t expect that.” Hollywood, you’ve been informed.