No TV for Ryan Phillippe
It was announced two weeks ago that Ryan Phillippe had signed onto a pilot for a CBS cop drama called Golden Boy. Deadline reported yesterday that he’s now backed out. Phillippe had been working on Damages as a guest star. And apparently they’ve been considering him for TV for years. Word is, after his Damages experience, he’s not sure about “commit(ting) to the rigors of a network drama series”.
Cable television series are shorter, fewer episodes. With network you’re looking at at least 22 episodes. I speak often to talent agents all the time who represent both film and tv actors. Many of them wish their clients would consider more tv opportunities: it’s stable and it’s often more lucrative. So...this is not about money. Is it about personal life? Phillippe has three children. The excuse could be that he wants to spend more time with them. Patrick Dempsey has three children and he’s on a network drama too. As are many, many other stars on tv.
Television work is hard, though. Arguably harder than film. As Duana has said, it's a slog. It's long days, it's less time, and you don't get to just put it away after 3 months. Television work also has its rewards. We've already talked about the possible financial benefits and the security of it should you be attached to a project that goes several seasons. Creatively, as demonstrated lately with so much quality programming offered in recent years on the small screen, television more than challenges even the most discerning "artists".
But these bitches, they are hard to please. This, primarily, is why there is a film to television hierarchy. They're the ones who prefer film. They're the ones who think it's more prestigious. They're the ones who'd rather work less for more glory. They're the ones who get bored playing the same character over and over and over again and crave the variety.
In Ryan Phillippe's case though, strategically, is this a good move? Are his film opportunities so plentiful and fulfilling that he can afford to walk away? I think this is a dumb ass play. Ryan Phillippe is not a leading movie man. He's not even a movie character actor. But he could be a really big television star. Unless he's holding out for HBO, he doesn't appear to want that.