Ben Stiller decided to wade into a Hollywood nepotism conversation on social media and might be regretting it. The thing with nepotism (especially when you take the tumultuousness of the industry and the fragility of some actors) is that we all know how prevalent it is but in interviews with celebrities, it’s positioned as coincidence or “funny fact” and not very important, when it is actually super important. Nepotism is critical early in a career because it positions them in the right rooms with the right people. Doors that are deadbolted for some are wide open for them. Many of them don’t even know there is a door. But I think the defensiveness comes in when they feel the need to justify their success with the belief that they would have gotten where they are without their family connections, that the help they received doesn’t define them.
No one is saying Ben Stiller or Maya Hawke or Colin Hanks or Dakota Johnson or the many, many, many other connected artists don’t do good work or deserve success. No one is saying they don’t work hard. No one is saying children of famous people have lovely, carefree childhoods or even that their parents are supportive of them – that’s an entirely different thing. And they can feel a different kind of pressure (Ben in particular has spoken about the immense pressure he felt to be funny growing up). That’s totally valid, but I don’t think many people in the position to receive early help can understand what it’s like to start from zero. (Below his tweets is one of Twitter’s greatest hits.)
Hollywood's a meritocracy, right? https://t.co/jELCVujYyB— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) July 28, 2021
Too easy @franklinleonard. People, working, creating. Everyone has their path. Wish them all the best.— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021
Yes. Just speaking from experience, and I donâ€™t know any of them, I would bet they all have faced challenges. Different than those with no access to the industry. Show biz as we all know is pretty rough, and ultimately is a meritocracy.— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021
100 percent agree. Diversity is much bigger issue. No question. And I see your point, access is access. So yes. Iâ€™m saying that untalented people donâ€™t really last if they get a break because of who they are or know or are related to.— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021
You wonâ€™t get me arguing that access isnâ€™t an issue. But Iâ€™m not being dishonest. Maybe too literal. I take all his points as being very valid. I was being specific to that story about nepotism. Either way, we need more inclusion and access and diversity. No question.— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021
I think youâ€™re right. I guess itâ€™s impossible to separate out nepotism and lack of diversity. And to be fair itâ€™s a lens as a child of actors I never looked at the issue through.— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021
No one:— Laura Claxton (@fairycakes) April 22, 2020
Article about an actor with famous parents: She perches her dainty wrists against the table, biting her lip as she boldly orders a coffee with milk. â€œIâ€™m a pigâ€ she giggles, â€œIâ€™m never going to be one of these oat milk girls.â€ Her confidence is as bold as her blue eyes
On the flip side, Kate Hudson has always enjoyed and celebrated her place in Hollywood as the daughter of two movie stars – she hasn’t ever seemed defensive about it or tortured by it. And I think that goes back to the way her parents guided her and prepared her for the inevitable movie stardom.
Busy Philipps is now a stage mom for Birdie, who has been cast on a new Amazon Prime show called With Love. In Busy’s (long) caption she wrote that she has known the showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett for years and that probably helps her feel safe, knowing her child is in good hands with a friend. Busy is versed in pop culture and has been in the business too long to be unaware of the issues with childhood fame.
One show that has been on my binge-watch list forever but I’ve never actually sat down to start is Mad Men. It feels too late now, like I’ve missed the window. But I do think I’ve absorbed enough of it through cultural osmosis to understand it and if I do ever get to it, it will mainly be because I want to watch January Jones.
A short video clip Emma Roberts instantly took off on Twitter and is now a reaction shot gif. She posted in her stories, “Thank you gays and whoever else” - that’s camp. The “whoever else” is killing me because it’s such a pitch perfect dismissal. She knows her audience.