Begging for Movie Stars
Written by Sarah
If you follow this site regularly, you’ve probably heard Lainey and the rest of us lamenting the death of the Movie Star. And it’s true—Movie Stars, in capital letters, are a dying breed. They’re few and far between these days. The kind of larger-than-life LIFE these people lead—the Burton-Taylors, the Bogart-Bacalls, Marilyn, Audrey, Kate, Sir Laurence—they simply don’t make them like that anymore. Fifty years ago we expected our celebrities to behave like that, to live to excess, to have torrid affairs, to be the kind of glamorous that requires legendary jewels, exquisite gowns, the Riviera and private yachts to pull off.
These days that kind of behavior is nigh on extinct. A few celebrities get away with it—George Clooney (the modern Cary Grant), and the Brange (the modern Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward) immediately come to mind. Part of the death of the Movie Star is on us, the public, as we don’t accept the very behavior we long for. I mean, really, think about it. If an actress today was hours late to set on a regular basis, like Elizabeth Taylor, we’d call her a twat and dismiss her as a rude person. If someone made the kind of salary demands Elizabeth was known for—at one time the highest-paid actress in the industry who also demanded rare jewels as a kind of bonus—we’d have even more stringent criticism for her. We may long for Movie Stars, but our own sensibilities aren’t precisely compatible with what being a Movie Star means.
There is something else contributing to the death of the Movie Star though, and that’s the behavior of the stars themselves. Particularly, the begging. My life motto is “start exclusive, stay exclusive”, which is a feeling I think dictated a lot of the “glamorous” behavior of Movie Stars past. Elizabeth Taylor demanded those jewels because she believed she was worth them. Would Elizabeth have ever photographed herself in costume and published the images, acknowledging her desire to have a certain role? Of course not. She had some restraint. I first noticed this beggy-beggy approach, and started getting irked by it, as the hunt for The Hunger Games’ Peeta intensified. Since then, we’ve seen Bradley Cooper panting after a part in Baz Luhrman’s maybe-happening remake of The Great Gatsby, and now Joe Manganiello is coming out of the beggar’s closet, admitting he submitted his measurements for the Superman suit as part of his (fruitless) campaign to land Zack Snyder’s reboot.
Here’s the thing: campaigning for a part is fine, everyone does it at some point… but this? This is a problem. That sort of thing is for the casting director’s office and should go no further. Because that makes me embarrassed for you at best, ashamed of you at worst. Audrey Hepburn would not have done that. At the end of the day, I don’t want to know what lengths you’ve gone to in order to secure a role. For example, there is a hilarious home-made audition tape Elijah Wood made to get on Peter Jackson’s radar for Lord of the Rings, more than a decade ago now. After an exhaustive ten minutes searching the interwebz (you guys, I looked through FIVE WHOLE PAGES on Youtube), I can’t find a copy of that tape. Everyone knows it’s out there, yet somehow Wood has managed to restrain himself from posting it everywhere, despite the fact that it’d be good for five free minutes of interest in Elijah Wood.
And that’s what it comes down to, I guess, when it comes to securing a role, landing the next job. Self promotion. And so publicly. The Movie Star isn’t a public self-promoter during the interview process. The Movie Star lives in such a way that guarantees attention without resorting to open promotion. It’s not that the Movie Star doesn’t have to go out and work for a part, because she does, it’s just that she knows that if not this part, then another. There’s a level of debasement the Movie Star does not sink to, because for the Movie Star it isn’t about one part, it’s about a lifestyle. And as long as you’re down on your knees, mouth open, begging for a role, you’ll never be a Movie Star.
Photos from Wenn.com