Chin down, Charlie! Chin down!

Charlie Hunnam is back in Toronto for Pacific Rim reshoots. It’s the movie where Idris Elba “cancels the apocalypse”. It’s also the test to see if Charlie Hunnam can be a movie star. Did you read Mark Harris’s article in GQ last week about the “The New And Improved Leading Man”? Click here if not. It’s an insightful and provocative analysis of how the male movie star has evolved -- why Channing Tatum succeeded where Taylor Kitsch did not. Now apply Harris’s theory to Charlie Hunnam. How does he stand up?

That entire Harris piece is worth several accompanying discussion posts and we will get to that another time, but what’s particularly interesting to me, and working for Hunnam here, is that he is, by Harris’s criteria, in his 30s, at the “right age”:

“At the beginning of last year, there were two particularly strong candidates to become a one-namer: Channing Tatum and Taylor Kitsch. For one thing, they were the right age: Tatum is 32; Kitsch is 31. That works, because, with rare exceptions (Travolta in the '70s, Cruise in the '80s), we don't usually want male movie stars to be in their twenties. We'll watch them, we'll like them, we'll go to their films, but being handsome (or pretty) and devoid of life experience—the age at which your clear, healthy, unlined face is a map of nothing but optimism untouched by personal history—that's not quite the look of a movie star. Stardom is something you have to grow into. The beginning of your thirties is a good time to make the jump, and it should be a jump, an ascension, an unexpected upsurge that makes people feel that even though they've seen you before, they're now seeing into you for the first time.”

True. But also so grossly unfair, right? Male movie stars ascend in their 30s. And women? You know the answer to that. Reminds me of the Forbes List of Top 10 Highest Paid Stars Under 30 that was released last year. Six out of ten were female. But when it came time to rank the Highest Paid Celebrities, overall, there was only ONE female on that list. What, then, happens after 30? Why do women lose financial value in Hollywood when they’re out of their 20s? And how are we, the audience, contributing to that?