To celebrate Darwin Day (yeah I know, it's a new holiday for me too) I took in a viewing of Creation, Jon Amiel's film where Paul Bettany stars as legendary scientist Charles Darwin and Jennifer Connelly plays his wife.
Remember a time when both him and Connelly were awards prospects for this movie? And how it all fell apart in Toronto, sending the poor film to a late January release-the Glacial Age of the cinematic planet-where it has earned exactly $148,742 (did anyone else see it?).
Before getting into debates whether the movie is good or not (it's not by the way) my mind drifted somewhere else and I began to ponder on something that interested me more: the evolution of Paul Bettany's career.
Let's take a peek:
2001 - A Knight's Tale and A Beautiful Mind
Scene stealing as Geoffrey Chaucer in the former and fascinating as an imaginary friend in the Oscar winning biopic Mind, his career began to show promise of great supporting parts.
2003 - Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World and Dogville
He played sense to Russell Crowe's sensibility in the critically acclaimed Master, his character there, if you ask me, does much more in a few scenes to evoke Darwinian passion within reason than all of Creation does in two hours, he also gave up a serial killer role in Red Dragon to play another troubled intellectual in Lars von Trier's controversial work of art (where he was second best, after Nicole Kidman of course). Oh he also married Jennifer Connelly this year. (Did he peak in 03?)
2004-2006 - Wimbledon, Firewall and The DaVinci Code
He really wanted to play a psycho serial killer apparently and did so re-teaming with Ron Howard in the blockbuster DaVinci Code.
2008-2010 - Iron Man, Inkheart, The Young Victoria, Creation, and Legion
He was in one of the decade's most surprising blockbusters but only doing voice work (he's Robert Downey Jr.'s robotic assistant) and kept on playing small roles in an array of bad fantasy epics, tiresome costume dramas and polished his abs to play another spiritual figure in Legion.
But other than the promise of being one of the most exciting actors in the world he has practically become extinct. What do you think is going on with his career? Can he pick up where he left almost ten years ago?