Friday, March 21, 2014


Today the new movies start and I couldn't help but notice the two lead actors in Divergent, another Y/A series of books where teenagers fight to be different. The leading actress, Shailene Woodley has a distinct look while the male lead, Theo James, looks like every other male actor on the CW network. For those who don't know CW is a little network which caters to young crowds. Shows like The 100, Arrow, Reign, etc...

In other words, Woodley has personality. Although she does look a little like Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games? Coincidence? What do you think?

Anyways, more and more actors, mostly male are beginning to look like each other, their faces and features are interchangeable. 

So here goes the baby-boomer rant.

Where are the actors who have personality?

Go back 40 or 50 years and you have these guys:

Cary Grant

James Stewart
Robert Mitchum
Paul Newman (and Robert Redford, of course)
Humphrey Bogart
James Cagney
Edward G. Robinson
Sean Connery
Jack Lemmon
Tony Curtis
John Wayne

Okay, that's enough I guess. But you get the picture. Most of you will instantly picture these guys in your mind. Can you picture the male leads in the Hunger Games?

In the studio days, studio heads picked out the stars. They did screen tests for everyone to see if they had that "thing". You can call it personality or presence, whatever it was they were the kind of actors that when they walked into the room, everyone turned their heads.

Who has it, how do you get it. My only answer is "genes". 

There are a handful of contemporary actors around, Depp has it, Robert Downing has it, and arguably Mark Wahlberg. Christian Bale has presence but he changes from movie too movie and it's hard to see exactly who he is. Matt Damon is also good, so is Matthew MacConaughey.

So we're left with Ed Norton, Toby McGuire and a lot of guys who look the same.  Remember who the star was in John Carter? Who played The Lone Ranger? Time's up.

Another aspect of personality and presence years ago is that it spawned imitators. Not actors but comedians like Rich Little and Frank Gorshin and many others. They were regulars in comedy clubs, late night shows and Ed Sullivan. One impersonator did JFK until JFK was assassinated. Who does imitators now?

The best, strangely enough, is Kevin Spacey. He can do a handful of stars dead-on. In fact he's going to play Johnny Carson in an upcoming TV movie. We have some jokesters, Damon does a great impression of Matthew MacConaughey. And a few people do Regis Philbin.

So where are the great male stars that have presence and personality. 

So far, maybe it's the CW actors.

A feminist once referred to the present-day actors as "little lesbians", which is quite funny and to some extent, very true. Many of today's actors are short thin little guys.

All I want is someone to stand up to Jennifer Lawrence in a movie. So far it's Jennifer 5 and male leads none.

Here's a little test. Who else could match the personalities of these two... Mitchum & Monroe.

Have a good week-end.

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