Bring Back Character Actors

I’m tired of living in a cinemascape where everyone has to be pretty in the exact same way.  The indistinguishable women with their arched backs and pouty lips. Men with 11% body fat. Those images have their place. In porn and inside the tabloids.

Someone needs to start writing great supporting characters who can bring the zest, edginess and humor that give hard working A-listers breathers and sounding boards. If today’s stars seem less interesting and vibrant, it is because they are expected to do too much.  Cf. George Clooney who often surrounds himself with really compelling talent — we’ll over look The Descendants and instead think of Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton or the eam of Ocean’s 11.

Secondary characters give movie narratives a chance to create rich throughlines where the main themes can be debated. Take them away and films become flat and one dimensional.

Careers are at stake here. Paul Newman graduated to The Verdict. What can Robert Pattinson move on to? Look at James Franco. He found his voice in Pineapple Express not in brooding leading man roles. Nicholas Cage is a character actor masquerading as a movie star.  How much more fun are the Ghost Riders than Wicker Man?

If movies aren’t careful, these roles will move on to video games, transmedia and Internet video, hastening the death of an era. The only thing that’s at stake for viewers is the power of cinema.


About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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