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Villains Wiki
Villains Wiki
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Do me a f***ing favor. Shut up, listen, and learn. Look, I know that this is your first day and you don't really know how things work around here, so I will tell you. You. Have. No. Brain. No judgement calls are necessary. What you think means nothing. What you feel means nothing. You are here for me. You are here to protect my interests and to serve my needs. So, while it may look like a little thing to you, when I ask for a packet of Sweet-N-Low, that's what I want. And it's your responsibility to see that I get what I want.
~ Buddy abusing his assistant, Guy

Buddy Ackerman is a highly influential Hollywood producer and is the main antagonist of the 1994 comedy-drama Swimming With Sharks. He is an abusive, mean-spirited Hollywood executive who delights in tormenting his assistant, Guy, who finally snaps and takes him hostage.

In the film, he was played by Kevin Spacey, who also played Albert Benton in Unsub, Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects, John Doe in Se7en, Rufus Buckley in A Time to Kill, Hopper in A Bug's Life, Lex Luthor in Superman Returns, Clyde Northcutt in Fred Claus, Micky Rosa in 21, David Harken in the Horrible Bosses duology, Dr. Nerse in The Cleveland Show, Frank Underwood in House of Cards and Jonathan Irons in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

In the 2007-2008 Vaudeville Theatre stage adaptation of the film, he was portrayed by Christian Slater, who also played Michael Griffin in Hollow Man 2, the title character in Mr. Robot, Robert Boyd in Very Bad Things, Ushari in The Lion Guard, Special Agent Slater in Archer, Jimmy Dolan in Dolan's Cadillac, and Jason Dean in Heathers.


Buddy Ackerman hires Guy, a naive producer's assistant who has recently graduated from film school with high hopes of becoming a successful producer in the Hollywood film industry. His dreams of succeeding swiftly are crushed however when his Buddy turns out to be a Boss straight out of his worst nightmares.

Buddy quickly becomes abusive towards his assistant, verbally berating him in front of the rest of the workforce for no reason. Guy is forced to endure constant humiliation in order to keep his job, to the point of having to run pointless errands outside his working hours just to appease his boss. The only thing that allows Guy to cope with the way he is treated is the hope that one day his suffering may pay off in the form of a promotion, as well as the short amount of time he gets to spend with his girlfriend, Dawn, whom he meets when he is first employed by Buddy.

Eventually Guy snaps after Buddy's treatment of him becomes too much, as a result of this he kidnaps Buddy and holds him prisoner in his own home, there he exacts his revenge on his cruel boss, subjecting him to both physical and mental torture in order to make Buddy regret the way he treated him and show him how it feels to suffer under another's power. It is revealed as the film progresses that Guy was finally pushed over the edge and prompted to do all this when he learned that Dawn, who had a history of working with Buddy, was planning to meet Buddy at his home for a rendezvous.

As the plot develops, however, Buddy is shown in a more human, sympathetic light; he reveals that he was once a lowly assistant as well, and put up with the same kind of abuse he now heaps upon Guy. He argues that success and power have to be earned through years of hard, grueling work, and that he treated Guy poorly in order to teach him this. He also reveals that, 10 years earlier, his wife had been raped and murdered while he was stuck at his boss' office wrapping Christmas presents.

The situation reaches a boiling point when Dawn finally arrives at Buddy's home and finds the pair in their current situation. At this point, Buddy begins to ask Guy what he really wants out of life, and makes it clear that he can either seize his chance or go to prison. After a moment's hesitation, Guy raises his weapon and fires.

In a plot twist, it is revealed that Guy has shot Dawn dead rather than Buddy. Rather than turning Guy into the police, Buddy helps his kidnapper frame Dawn for kidnapping and torturing him. Buddy rewards Guy for his ruthlessness, promoting him to producer. During the final scene, Guy coldly tells a colleague to find out what he really wants and then do anything to get it; during this speech, Buddy stands by from the doorway, smiling as he calls Guy into his office for a meeting, an understanding finally achieved between the two.