Friday, February 12, 2010

The Formation of Filmography in Paul Bettany.

Jose here.




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?

20 comments:

Ben said...

Paul Bettany also did The Heart of Me in 2002, which is easily one of his most memorable performances but, yeah, after Dogville he pretty much dropped off the radar for me.

Simon said...

I've seen almost half of those, plus that gangster movie who's name is on the tip of my tongue.

Robert Hamer said...

@ Simon: Are you thinking of Gangster No. 1?

Colin Low said...

I think Paul Bettany and Helena Bonham-Carter should form a support group for career-dowsing marriages. Although the Red Queen does look bizarrely wonderful.

Glenn said...

Yeah, 2003 was an amazing year for Bettany. Since then it's only been downhill.

RC said...

Woa, somehow I forgot about the voice work in Iron man because i was about to say "what are you talking about!"

but...yea, I don't know what's going to bring Paul's career back.

He's like a super-supporting player that should be moving past that stage, huh.

NATHANIEL R said...

I l-o-v-e him but, yeah, i haven't seen a lot of these movies because they looked terrible. But i even loved him in Wimbledon. That's how deep the love goes.

wish he were a bigger star.

and I actually don't think he's second best in Dogville (BLASPHEMY, I KNOW) but the best in show. Such a brilliant and sneaky performance.

notanotherblog said...

We were watching the trailers before A Single Man and both the trailers for Young Victoria and Creation and my friend was like "I just saw you, why am I seeing you again?!" The British.

gabrieloak said...

I saw Creation in Toronto, hoping it would be good but it was plodding and pretentious. Bettany was better in The Young Victoria. Or even Wimbleton (remember that one?)

Marsha Mason said...

I don't think acting talent ever dies (Look at Julie Christie, Mickey Rourke, Piper Laurie, and lots lots of others.) even if we don't see it for a while.

But I think it can lay dormant for years, esp. in the presence of huge sums of money.

Anonymous said...

HIs next movie should be a guy on guy porno!!!!
....lol....just kidding I always have a crush on him and i think the partner and him should find another agent or something...it's like they are dragging each other's career further down the drain.....

Anonymous said...

I remember when Bettany and Connelly should star together in a movie based upon AMERICAN PASTORAL...which didn't happen (at least so far, since the movie is still among his projects, at least on imdb)

anyway I wish him the best for his career. I don't know if his sodalice with former f/x man and now director Scott Stewart is the best way to revive a career (though I confess I'm a bit curious about THE PRIEST, but just because I appreciated the comics the movie is very loosely based upon...ok, ok...also because the movie features my fav TWIN PEAKS girl Madchen Amick...)...but I wanna be positive about Bettany

and BTW...in GANGSTER N° 1 he rocked (why doesn't he come back working with Paul McGuigan?) and CHAPEAU to London Film Critics who selected him in 2002 as Best Supporting Actor for A KNIGHT'S TALE...I can't say I would have made the same choice (I still prefere Jim Broadbent that year...and not for the Academy Award winning perf...for the other, and better one!), but I like when critics societies decide to surprise you!

mirko

MRRIPLEY said...

He was the best thing in The Young Victoria.

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NATHANIEL R said...

Marsha Mason -- heh. so true and well put.

Mr Ripley -- he was my fav part of Young Victoria too though the whole thing was pretty pleasant (just sort of non-great and a toss off in a weird way)

Mirko -- Madchen is my fav Twin Peaks girl, too!

Janice said...

Loved him in Master (Jose's summation of the role is spot-on;) as well as Dogville, but in Dogville I'd argue that best in show was Patricia Clarkson. (Remember the Hummel-smashing scene? Awesome.)

Ryan T. said...

Someone should do a corollary post on Jennifer Connelly's filmography/career. I wanted to throw things at The Day The Earth Stood Still. Probably the worst movie I've seen the past five years. Ugh.

But back to Paul Bettany, I didn't think Wimbledon was so bad. Of course this is coming from a HUGE tennis fan just happy that OMG tennis is on the big screen. Plus I was/am a fan of both Bettany and Dunst *and* hello James McAvoy in a bit role playing Bettany's brother.

Ian said...

Paul Bettany should have been nominated for "Master and Commander". The Academy clearly loved that film enough to give it 10 nominations. That was his best shot at some earned recognition. Now his career is in the toilet, and I don't see him getting out of it anytime soon. Sad really.

Anonymous said...

he's the best thing in every movie! maybe he is just waiting for his kids to grow up?

Anonymous said...

You can't measure an actor's entire career by a handful of his first movies. that's crazy premature. By your judgment Sean Connery and Patrick Stewart should've been counted out way before they hit their commercial success.