Chris Pine was photographed yesterday in LA with a full beard and his hair much longer than when we saw him last. Looks like this is for a role. It was announced this week that Chris will be making his directorial debut and starring in a film he co-wrote called Poolman. According to Deadline, the project was pitched as “Big Lebowski meets LA film noir with a healthy splash of La La Land” and, as you can see, The Big Lebowski reference tracks.
Chris is obviously playing the title character, a “hapless dreamer and would-be philosopher…looking after the pool of the [LA] Tahitian Tiki apartment block …and crashing city council meetings with his neighbours Jack and Diane”, played by Danny DeVito and Annette Bening. At some point, the Poolman starts true crime-ing a water heist and chaos and comedy ensue, presumably. So perhaps the other reference point that you can throw in here is Only Murders in the Building – at least I would have in the pitch because if that’s the comedy they’re going for, I’m in.
This is a big job for Chris, in addition to writing, directing, and starring he’s also producing alongside a team that also includes Patty Jenkins. Patty, of course, directed Chris in both Wonder Woman movies and that collaboration has resulted in a steady partnership. They also worked together on the series I Am The Night and are now again connected on a project together with Chris wearing all these hats. Back when they were promoting I Am The Night, they did a joint interview for Variety and he said at the time that “I really like to be directed”. Clearly, he’s picked up some skills.
The other thing that’s interesting coming out of that interview is what Chris said about working with Patty to let go of his ego. He was not the star of Wonder Woman, the story was not about him. His job was to support the star of the story, who was Gal Gadot’s Diana. Chris was pretty candid about that process and embracing not being the lead. Here’s the passage from that article that has come full circle today:
“As a leading man, it’s the male actor’s job in the pieces that I do to inhabit the role or do the job that Gal did so wonderfully in ‘Wonder Woman,’” Pine says. “Being in the film and supporting a woman doing that job is kind of a dance between ego and soul. I’m not too proud to admit it and say that at times, I’d have 30-minute conversations with Patty; I’d look at her, and she was wonderfully patient. I’d realize it had abso-f—ing-lutely nothing to do with me.”
Jenkins laughs: “It never had nothing to do with you. Never.”
“But as a man and an actor and an ego-ful person,” Pine continues, “you really make peace with that and have a sense of humor about it and say, well, screw it then — let’s just go to this party and do this thing that should be done and fulfill the job as presented to you by your general.”
The ability to compromise — to let go of what Pine calls “the 8-year-old in there saying, ‘When’s my turn?!’” and accept work that’s richer than a traditional movie-star part precisely because it’s not the starring role in a big-budget production — yielded a performance rich in nuance as well as a collaboration that’s brought him yet more exciting work.
And look at where he is now. Letting go of that ego, and compromising, led to professional growth, developing his skill set, to the point where he’s taking on his biggest career challenge, alongside someone who has mentored him and is now willing to keep investing her energy – and money! – in his work.