You think some journalists and columnists are mean and critical and dismissive of this or that actor or filmmaker? You should hear what the big-studio suits say about their interest in hiring some of them. A filmmaker friend I had dinner with the other night ran down a list of actors who would be a good choices to fill certain roles in a certain film that’s preparing to foll film in ’09, and one after another, he said, have been turned down by the studio guys. Mainly, he said, because their names don’t sell tickets overseas.
“Nope…don’t want him…fuck her…no way…somebody else….her last movie died…nobody likes him…he’s red ink,” etc.
I know the project in question and almost every one of of the rejected actors sounded like pretty good choices in terms of how they’d fit the part and how good they might be. Of course, it isn’t my job to worry about overseas grosses. But after hearing about this actor being rejected and that one being rejected and on and on and on, I said, “God, those studio guys are really friggin’ brutal about this stuff!” Journalists and critics might criticize this or that performance (or an aspect of one), but they’re not saying “no” about this or that actor being hired . Denying good paychecks to talented people — that’s cold.
Certain directors, also, aren’t able to put their movies together because actors don’t want to work with them because they’ve come to believe that these directors aren’t as interested as they could be in providing emotional, well-written roles and thereby serving the potential of the actors (i.e., making them look and sound their very best), and are much more interested in fulfilling their own visions and making their own stuff happen.
And yet the directors who are supposedly having trouble along these lines (two or three were discussed) are talented as hell and by my judgment have always tried to make rich, shaded, high-quality films. I don’t get it. I just know that making decisions about who to hire on movies is a much tougher racket than anything journalists could be a party to.