Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RCL: Chloe, Clint, Christopher and Charlize, Pleaze.

Red Carpet Lineup: each monday (oops, it's Wednesday!) a random batch of movie peeps out and about. Who is Where and Why? And What (are they wearing)?


from left to right: Chloe Moretz just turned 13 and she'll be ubiquitous before anyone can decide whether they want to see her constantly. I have only seen her in (500) Days of Summer in which she essayed the beyond cliche role of "little person who is wiser than adults", a blight on an otherwise great movie. I can't blame her for that exactly but I hate that there's no ümläüts (or whatever the heck they're called) hanging over her name. And that I CAN blame her for. It's spelled Chloë, right big mouth? The fanboys already love "Chloe" [sic] in advance for being "Hit Girl" in Kick-Ass . That's the movie she's been out promoting this week here with shiny checkers (dress) and snarky accessory (face). She will soon be seen as the thirsty child vamp in Let Me In, the disastrous* remake of Let The Right One In; Emma Thompson brought a pig to the premiere of Nanny McPhee 2: Mole Harder in London. I adore Emma and her wit but I just don't want to see her unrecognizably uglied down for a movie. That's just the way it is. I like my movie stars to look like their beautiful selves. It's kind of what I live for. Emma recently spilled her heart out for a BBC radio show about her 90s divorce from Kenneth Branagh; Clint Eastwood was out for a meal with friends looking pretty spry. He becomes an octogenarian this May and he's still cranking out two movies a year. Bless (yes, I'm feeling generous today. It's partially because my favorite filmmakers I'm interested in tend to sit on their asses for YEARS between projects and I just don't get it). Clint's supernatural thriller Hereafter, arrives in theaters in December 2010. When else? You can probably expect Hoover, the biopic, in December 2011.

*I'm guessing. I mean, the ONLY logical reason for its existence is to sell it to people who can't read.


from left to right: Christoph Waltz is STILL collecting awards for Inglourious Basterds. This time it was the Jameson Empire Award in London. At one point does he cease being a professional actor and become a professional trophy collector? I believe this makes #26; Blanca Portillo was at the "Union de Actores" event in Madrid (is that like Spain's SAG awards? Anyone?). She's so good in Almodóvar movies (Broken Embraces and especially Volver) but I haven't yet seen her elsewhere. I'm hoping that our Spanish-speaking readers can tell us other roles of note?; Young French star Tahar Rahim, all of 28, is still out selling Un Prophete but he's already lined up new projects after that extremely well received breakthrough. Next up: The Eagle of the Ninth with Channing Tatum and then back to the arthouse for Cool Water by Emir Kusturica; Finally we conclude with Charlize Theron looking disco glam at an evening honoring Matt Damon. I've been meaning to talk about Charlize anyway...

Charlize Theron is 34. I don't know why this is but I often think of her as an older actress.



I don't mean this in the reductive Hollywood way of "let's look for a younger version, now!" or in the "she looks old for her age" way. I mean that if you asked me to place her with a group of peers I'd forget about the Gyllenhaals and the Witherspoons and put her with the Kidmans, Hayeks, Cruzs and Berrys of the world... all of whom are older. And whatever their future achievements may be, those actresses feel finished... "finished" as in fully formed, not as in "over." Don't freak out!

But who is Charlize Theron exactly? More than possibly any A list actress, I'm not sure that she has a star persona. I think she's very talented but in truth I don't often think of her and I never think "that's a Charlize Theron role right there!" In their mid 30s actresses often become forever who audiences will always think of them as. But what do we think of Charlize as. Other than "beautiful" perhaps. But that describes everyone.

<--- Theron in Sleepwalking

Does anyone else feel this disconnect? I think the problem may lie with Monster. Quality of the performance aside, it has gobbled up her career and she looked nothing like CHARLIZE THERON while acting in it, so it could it ever truly be definitive for her? In roughly 2/3rds of Sophie's Choice, for example (the definitive Meryl Streep performance if you will) she looks EXACTLY like everyone's Great Thespian Regal Beauty Fantasy of MERYL STREEP. When people conjure up images of Audrey Hepburn and her style, aren't they picturing her in Breakfast at Tiffany's fashions?

So when we think of Theron what do we think of?

What's your take on her career? I think she needs to step it up and seek out challenging roles that aren't downbeat. She's an excellent dramatician (see: Monster, Sleepwalking, North Country) but whenever she's in dramas they seem to be of very limited dour rage and they seem to require that she downplay her beauty. Where are the roles that require all of her parts and not the absence of pieces of her like her beauty, wit and energy? When she isn't dressing down onscreen, she seems to be coasting through doing things that any one of her peers could do just as well (Hancock). I'm not sure I understand her career at all. Do you?

Do you think she has more to show us... and more she should show us, after 15 years on the silver screen?
*

26 comments:

Robert Hamer said...

Can I just say how baffled I am by Chloe Moretz's sudden career explosion post-(500) Days of Summer? I mean, for crying out loud, that role (which I agree is a stock character) could have been played by hundreds of other young actresses. Why are big roles now dropping on her lap?!?

NoNo said...

I think the problem with Charlize is that her type is the same as Angelina Jolie's? It seems that they're always being considered or going for the same roles and right now people go for Jolie because she has the biggest star power. Kind of like Penelope and Salma. Charlize let her buzz die down after her Oscar win just as Jolie was coming back.

Charlize would be really great in a Tarantino, Von Trier or David Lynch movie.

She seems so lively and cool in person. You'd think her agent or manager would've said something by now about all these downtrodden roles.

Jack said...

Not that I care about Nanny McPhee, but it's called "Nanny McPhee 2: Mole Harder" in America? That's just awful. Plus, what kids are going to get that reference?

On another point, I liked "Let The Right One In", but I can totally see why they're doing a remake. Even a Swedish remake would be fine with me, just something to correct the problems I had with it. There was a LOT that they left just hanging in the air for no reason (like the group of older guys looking for revenge for the killing of their friend, who were just completely ignored after a while and had no bearing on the ending whatsoever). Within five minutes of finishing watching the movie I'd come up with solutions that would have made the whole film much tighter and neater. I did like it, but remake away I say (as long as they make the changes I want them to ;) ).

Juanito said...

Yes, those are the Spansish SAG.

Blanca Portillo is a very respected theater actress in Spain as well as a very popular actress in tv (she made a Monica from "friends" style role in a Spanish hit sitcom called "siete vidas").

She was great in a small role in "Alatriste" as an evil man (yes, man) and also as one of the main characters of "Seven billard tables" (she won the best actress award at the San Sebastian film festival).

G.ShaQ said...

I feel the disconnect. Chalize hasn't harnessed the delicate balance of being a respectable movie star who is the media enough to remain current and promote bankability without becoming tabloid fodder. The media just doesn't care about her as much, and she's not giving them anything to latch on to; this is outside of her considerable acing chops which are undervalued. I actually think she should do a romantic comedy to kick it up a bit and follow it up with more serious work with a couple of iconic directors. I think there's a few lessons to be learned from Pe and Nic

JA said...

Totally agree with you on Charlize, Nat. I don't think there's an actress out there that I like as much as I like her but still never see their movies (except Kristen Bell I guess). I was excited when The Tourist was gonna be her and Sam Worthington, but then Jolie and Depp swooped in. She's so funny and bright and shiny in interviews, she's gotta harness that for a role. And yeah I don't get why some reputable director hasn't snatched her up. Directors as a general rule seem to love putting really hot chicks in their films. It don't make no sense!

Michael B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael B. said...

I don't think that Charlize is fairly interesting...I mean she's funny but she always has that same face...

Surprisingly, she was the only Best Actress winner to have been nominated AGAIN after her win. (Though Mirren just did this, this year)...

It's interesting to see that Roberts, Berry, Kidman, Swank or Witherspoon (Not counting Cotillard or Winslet cause they just won) couldn't accomplish this as well...

Oh, and dropping out of The Danish Girl wasn't a good idea in my opinion.

Michael said...

Charlize Theron is only 34? I just checked online to make sure you were right. You're so accurate in your description of her. She seems so much more Renee Zellweger/Nicole Kidman-y than Reese Witherspoon. Wow. And she really doesn't have a persona of her own. That's something that can only work against her as she gets older. There are fewer and fewer roles for older women, and if you don't have much of a persona who knows...

Deus Ex Machina said...

What I found interesting is that Blanca Portillo was the voice of Dori in the Spanish dubbed version of Finding Nemo AND that she's in the new Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's movie.

Marsha Mason said...

I loved Let the Right One In but the Swedish language has a goofy "Back in St. Olaf" quality that was kind of a distraction at first.

I think with the right director it might work(?) To be honest, I don't watch that many English language re-makes. Are they guaranteed to be that awful.

NATHANIEL R said...

JACK -- no. it's not called that. I just called it that to be silly because all i know about those movies is that they make Emma look terrible with crazy teeth and moles. and this is not how i want my witty charming funny pretty emma.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, are you posting your April Fool's Predictions tomorrow? And when's the Actress Psychic?

Lucky said...

When you said that about Charlize's age, I immediatly thought of Emma Thompson, who you also mentioned in the post. Thompson is an actress who I always think to be older than she actually is. She's 50, but it's hard for me to place her into the "Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack" group. I thought she belonged to the Streeps, Weavers, etc.

Melanie said...

When I think of Charlize Theron, I always think of "The Cider House Rules."

bryant said...

Yes most of those actresses who have a persona have one because they are in the tabloids or do romantic comedies over and over. I think it's refreshing that Charlize is such a beautiful woman taking on really gritty roles. I thought that was her persona? What I think needs to happen is for her not to lighten up and do romantic comedies or stop doing dark dramas that move her. I think she just needs to do dark dramas with better directors. Like someone said she should be snatched up by some iconic directors and used more.

bryant said...

and Gshaq, why should she give the media something to latch on to? I think it's a good thing the media aren't following her around as much as some of the others. And that she keeps out of the tabloids. I mean no one is complaining about Laura Linney and Julianne Moore in that way. No one is saying they shoul have a persona or be interesting to the media. It's because Charlize Theron has movie star looks that they expect her to be like Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, or Angelina Jolie. But she's not that kind of star.

Noecito said...

Deus Ex Machina I have to correct you, Dori's voice in the Spanish version of "Finding Nemo" was Anabel Alonso's and not Portillo's. They both starred in "Siete Vidas" but Portillo is far a better actress... I saw her playing Hamlet (yes, another man) and it was incredible...

NATHANIEL R said...

@Bryant --but Linney and Moore and those people definitely have idenitifiable screen personas. I'm not asking for Charlize to be tabloid=ready. But shouldn't she have things that remind people of her or some sort of specialty?

Janice said...

I'm wondering if Charlize wouldn't be super in a Showtime drama a la "United States of Tara" where she would get to show off all of her sides. (Did you see the last episode of season 1 if UST? Collette got to show off more range in five minutes than most actresses usually get to show off in entire films. sometimes entire careers.)

I think her prettiness has gotten in the way (she's done an awful lot of forgettable films) hence the need to hide under the mask in "Monster" - and it worked, but what then?

When I think of her, I think of her as much for the furor created over her anti-rape/violence ads in South Africa as anything else. Unlike Kidman (who has done the "protest violence against women" thing in a very, um "ladylike" way, and nothing wrong with that, she seems to know how to present herself so as not to be inoffensive) Theron was willing to be opinionated and offend people and I sort of like her for that. I sense there is a very intelligent woman there, and Hollywood only sees the "pretty". Which why I still think she'd be great in a Showtime series.

Iggy said...

Ohh, Blanca Portillo! I love her. I love that she gets some love from this blog, too. She was attending the Unión de Actores awards as a double nominee, for her supporting role in Broken Embraces and her leading role in the TV series Acusados. She didn't get any, but she has already 3 of those (I think), only the Goyas seem reluctant to reward her. As Juanito said, these are like the SAG awards, but not restricted to screen actors, so stage actors are included.

Unfortunately, her movie appearances are scarce because as stated in some interviews, she's quite content with her career that allows her to combine great stage and fearless parts (Chekhov, Mamet, Calderón, I think she even played Mme de Merteuil and also directed or produced something else) with TV work. So if occasionally some good movie roles come across, fine, if they don't she's ok with it.

Honestly, I've never found any single of her performances to be less than good. Even her current TV series which is below her talent imo, benefits from her talent and specifically this season from including a worthy female nemesis (Mónica López) to her role.

Maybe she's our Glenn Close, both Tv series share some striking similarities (lawyer/judge) even though, Portillo's character is far from the ice queen type. She hasn't won a Goya (yet). They've both played Mme de Merteuil if I'm correct, and both have even played supporting male parts in adventure films (Close in Hook and Portillo in Capitán Alatriste. Wouldn't it be fun to have a crossover with Portillo doing a cameo in Damages playing the character she plays in her own series?

Speaking of which, Emma Thompson was also promoting her new movie in Spain and she was so generous as to do a cameo in a TV show (one of those one-man shows by a comedian I don't particularly enjoy). It was a short sketch about her giving her Oscar for Sense & Sensibility to one of the recurrent characters this comedian plays. It's definitely not Kate Winslet in Extras, but it was fun to watch her play along.

Here's the youtube clip, if you're curious:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjNVhO8dlRo

Jack said...

NAT - count that as your April Fools prank :)

mrripley said...

I am dissapointed after north country about her career she seems smart but mad max 4 please!!!!

she needs to do a great BIG drama role that doesn't reuire de uglification,she has the chops.

Dominik said...

Thank you, Nathaniel, for mentioning Chloe. In fact, I am actually not even sure if this girl can act - some say she can't -, but I love her just for being cute (1st time I saw her was when I accidently caught "Big Momma's House 2" on TV, and the only way I can at least *somehow* justify that I watched it until the end is citing Chloe's incredible cuteness), and, you are right, for being Hit Girl (who's saying the "c-word").

By the way, she is sometimes credited as "Chloe Moretz" and sometimes as "Chloë Grace Moretz", so, relax, in reality probably the "tremel" as I think it is called in this case is part of her name. (In German, "Umlaute" are "ä", "ö" and "ü", and they mean the vocal in question is pronounced in a totally different way. There's no "ë" or "ï" in German. The "tremel" exists e.g. in French, and means that the vocal in question is a syllable of its own, when normally you would expect it to merge with another vocal. E.g. "Chloë", because of the "tremel", is pronounced "klow-ee" rather than just "klow".

Nathaniel, are you posting your first predictions for next year's Oscar today? I so couldn't wait to see it!!! I typed "Oscar predictions 2011" into google a dozen times during the last few weeks. Today I made my own lists researching the internet. I have 35 best actors, 31 best actresses, 28 supporting actors, 33 supporting actresses, 24 directors and 40 best pictures. I just finished deciding my top five and top ten - for the moment. The other categories are to hard and not of enough interest for me.

bryant said...

What is Julianne Moore's screen persona? The depressed mothers? You could argue the same thing about Charlize playing downtrodden women. People used to say, "Who is Meryl Streep? She just does accents over and over again? But who is SHE really?"

Anyway, why is it important to have a screen persona? Isn't it better to just become your characters and not let a persona distract or get in the way? It's a good thing to see Aileen Wuornos onscreen and not Charlize Theron up there. That's why I also admire Daniel Day Lewis.

I think Charlize Theron stands out as the actress who has the classic beauty of old hollywood stars, but is doing the kind of roles you didn't normally see classic beauties do back then. She gets gritty and dark onscreen. That's her thing. I'm sure her tragic past plays a part in her attraction to those roles.

But I do think it would be nice to see her do a part that is glamourous and tragic. Something like Faye Dunaway in Chinatown.

Kev said...

We might have to face up to the fact that Charlize has peaked. You don't just top "Monster", you know? Just like you don't top "Sophie's Choice" or "Boys Don't Cry" or "Gone With the Wind." Yes, she shouldn't "have" to, but that's not how people or the media operate. At this point, I'd advise Charlize to go in an entirely different route to "prove" herself. Do some decent comedies, or perform on Broadway. Better yet, headline your own television series. That's where the heat's at right now, and there she can define herself as an actress. She doesn't have a defined persona b/c she's not out there selling her persona like many of her peers. But if she's in our homes every week on a series, then that would do a lot to cement her standing in people's minds. But on the other hand, if she doesn't do another film ever, her rep is assured with "Monster" at least, and about 99% of the working actors out there would kill to have that kind of a legacy, even if it's fleeting, non-steadt work and only one role. She'll be okay either way I think.