Movie Stars Have Become an Endangered Species

amazing spider-man 2

Summer blockbusters make studios happy, but they make stars nervous. That’s because a lizard is the real star of “Godzilla,” not an actor. And in franchises like “Captain America,” “Spider-Man” or “X-Men,” the superhero is the brand, while the casts seem interchangeable. The several tentpoles that emerged from “Pirates of the Caribbean” enhanced Johnny Depp’s salary, but the Depp brand didn’t enhance “Transcendence” or “The Lone Ranger.”

The art of managing a star’s career has become challenging in Hollywood’s New Economy. In years past, major projects could be pre-sold worldwide on star names, but distributors know they can’t be monetized to the same degree any more. Warners may pour $200 million or so into “Batman v Superman,” but its potential success won’t depend on Ben Affleck’s chemistry with Henry Cavill.

That’s why I have come to admire the aggressiveness, and unorthodoxy, with which young actors like Jonah Hill or Seth Rogen have set about building their careers. I even grudgingly respect the rampant egomania of Seth MacFarlane and James Franco. Rather than wait for roles to come along, these actors are so prolific in cobbling together their own projects that their fans don’t have time to notice the occasional missteps.

(Jason Schneider for Variety)

And there are a few: “Neighbors” is a big hit, but can’t Rogen recruit a sleek stunt double to do his sex scenes? Does MacFarlane really believe he’s the next Charlie Chaplin (Charlie also wrote, acted, directed and composed the score, as MacFarlane did in “A Million Ways to Die in the West”). In the same vein, does Franco really want to set a Guinness record for sheer ubiquity?

By contrast, Hill could easily obsess on “Jump Street” sequels, but he keeps turning up in ambitious films like “Moneyball,” “Wolf of Wall Street” or his upcoming picture about Richard Jewell, the security guard at the Olympics in Atlanta who was famously framed (Leonardo DiCaprio is again his co-star).

I also respect those stars who yearn to direct, though that is a still riskier path. Ryan Gosling found that out in Cannes where his “Lost River” got lost. Jon Favreau got clobbered by critics for directing “Cowboys & Aliens,” then made a superb new film, “Chef,” about a culinary artist’s battle with a malevolent critic. Angelina Jolie moved from her “Lara Croft” action films to directing the ambitious but box office-challenged “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” then rebounded with the idiosyncratic “Maleficent.”

Favreau’s disdain for critics is shared by other talent, including MacFarlane. “Trying to please critics is like putting on a puppet show for your parents,” the “Million Ways” director said recently. Critics, he noted, are not fueled by laughs but “by outrage.”

Then there’s Adam Sandler, arguably the most productive star in terms of generating product, but one who is so consistently hammered by critics that he won’t even talk to the print media. A.O. Scott of the New York Times, in his latest Sandler savaging, expressed shock at “the sheer audience-insulting incompetence” of his new film, “Blended.”

The best way to have the last laugh, of course, is to make a good movie. That’s what Mike Myers has done in a new documentary oddly called “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” which traces the bizarre career of the fabled manager who first repped Alice Cooper and other rock stars, then became the guru of celebrity chefs.

Myers admires odd careers. He stopped making “Austin Powers” movies more than a decade ago, and got bruised in films like “The Love Guru,” which bombed.

I would ask Myers why he’s been absent for so long — except he doesn’t talk to the media either.

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  1. verity says:

    All actors are basically one dimensional. It really doesn’t matter what character they play it is so close to all the other characters they played it gets boring. Add makeup, a fake accent, some physical tweak, and poof it’s the same boring person doing the same boring acting all over again.

    Each new movie should have an entirely different set of actors. Actors that actually fit the character they are playing. The rule should be like one movie every 7 years. There are enough good actors to easily cast each character with an actor that matches.

    The only exception to the 7 year rule should be for sequels and series.

    And get those writers to rehab so they can stop depending on continuity errors as the foundation to the story. Get the lead character in a storyline black hole. No problem just cut the scene and jump wherever needed.

  2. Merriweather Toadwater says:

    Stars are an overrated species. They don’t act… they are. Character actors, on the other hand, can perform and become someone other than themselves. So many examples of this genre; Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, etc…. I love Daniel Day-Lewis because he’s a great actor and I don’t watch him but his performance. The best performances are those where you can’t tell the dancer from the dance.

    • Bree says:

      Daniel day Lewis a character actor AND a movie star. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    • archie1954 says:

      That is very true and today we have a good number of very talented actors and actresses but that is not what makes a star. They have to have a personal attribute that shines through their performances. It is actually their own persona that makes a star. Liz and Marilyn had it, Bogey certainly did and a number of others who aren’t with us any more but today such people are truly in short supply.

      • archie1954 says:

        Honestly vp19, you aren’t getting it. Stardom didn’t start with Marilyn and Bogart, it ended with them!

      • vp19 says:

        People today only view stardom through post-WWII eyes (the “we didn’t start the fire” syndrome), not realizing how considerably different the business was, or how the public perceived stars. Watch a William Powell, James Cagney or Claudette Colbert film from the ’30s. Variations on a theme? To some extent, yes, but they had enough charisma to carry it off. Thinking stardom began with Bogey and Monroe is being ignorant.

      • archie1954 says:

        Merriweather you are correct but those one dimensionals were the bread and butter of the studios for many decades. The stars are popular because they are who they are. People are in awe of their personas, not their acting talent.

      • Merriweather Toadwater says:

        Actually meant that John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy were one-dimensional actors. A star only knows one character, to be themselves. Actors can be anyone but themselves. Still love ‘Who am I this time’ because it is the essence of acting.

  3. vp19 says:

    If the movie star is an endangered species, it may be because there aren’t enough females in the species to sufficiently “propagate.” Virtually everything in the post-studio system has worked against actresses becoming big cinematic box office, especially in comedy. In the ’30s, the likes of Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy were honed by the studios who either had them under contract or got them on loanout (Carole’s home studio of Paramount really didn’t know what to do with her until Columbia, and “Twentieth Century,” showed how). By the ’70s, the studio system was over, but enough of the framework remained to boost Goldie Hawn into consistent box-office success. That’s all disappeared by now as the bean-counters, more concerned with profits than talent, have take over. As a result, someone like Anna Faris, an obvious heir to the Lombard-Hawn tradition, received little help from studios despite many critical plaudits, and has had to turn to TV to find success.

  4. Joe Rollerbersion says:

    star system is over, It is now the digital STars FXDirectors, this next week it will be Michael Bay and transformers4
    and then the Next weeks after that Sincity 2 Digital Director stars, Robert Rod
    I think, kids don’t go to the movies in theater any more they wait to play it on their IN HOME THEATERS, that their Trust fund Baby Daddies got them, wait to down load

  5. Ron Lewis says:

    Huh? Those people weren’t great in real life.

  6. archie1954 says:

    If I have a choice I would want the star structure back, not today’s great acting but equally great non persona in real life. I want Liz and Marilyn, Bogart and Hope.

  7. Patricia M. says:

    Looks like the awesome Stage 32 picked up on this. Cool!

  8. terriryan says:

    This is such a thoughtful and interesting article. So making money these days is all about building the brand. So what if people don’t care about the actors brand anymore in a film? Then the actor doesn’t have much value to a studio. There will always to be great actors in great films, but I see these actors getting less money upfront for being in these films and more money on spec in order to justify the huge salaries these stars make. Perhaps, we will see them in more commercials and theatre or a realty show, where the stars go stay working and continue to try to build their brand at any cost.

  9. Ron Lewis says:

    I think you’ve answered your own question. Media is driven by advertisers, who are understandably focused on the gullible and easily influenced among us, particularly young people, who will pay more for the brands they market than the products would cost otherwise.

    As long as that dynamic remains in place, image and publicity win out over talent.

  10. York D. says:

    In this era of extreme social media, most of star aura has gone. If we know totally everything about someone (wife, husband, lover?) they are no longer mysterious and interesting(?). Stars like Cary Grant, Rock Hudson and James Dean (sorry girls!?!) might never have lasted. Do we now want stars or hard-working actors, who achieve success on merit talent and hard-work, or someone who gets there on image and publicity alone(sorry Kim Kadashian!).?

  11. Randy Krus says:

    Meyer’s didn’t stop making Austin Powers movies—he just changed the name to The Love Guru….and strangely left the comedy bits out.

  12. Max Waxman says:

    Please, check your facts: Seth MacFarlane did NOT compose the music for “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” Joel McNeely did.

  13. TheBigBangOf20thCenturyPopCulture says:

    Sad to see the comments taken over by political troll baiters to ruin the message feedback. Debate was more civil around here when it was just me and that millennial kid. What showbiz needs is mature town hall concept content for seniors by seniors to discuss how repetitively dull or bland modern pop culture is as compared to the legendary 20th century. I’m sure 70 million baby boomers will tune in.and pass on the latest superhero tent pole flick, viral pet video, dumb reality show or tabloid infotainment dreck.. .. …

  14. nancy says:

    Is it me or are the new starlets/starboys interchangeable? Most of the faces on the mags at the check out counters are lookalike strangers. I still love movies and usually enjoy those with a mostly British cast.

  15. Vince says:

    Digital enhancement will create life like Stars that will replace humans within 7 years. Sidewalk of fame will fade in time and just be another relic from the past

  16. Problem is they start believing they are like the people in the scripts and forget they are no better than average moron.

  17. Roger Jones says:

    Is this a joke story? Are people expected to be concerned about people that earn more for doing one movie than the average ten families earn in a lifetime? So many of these so-called stars are only good playing one or two types of characters. Their personal personality and style comes through clearly in every character they play. That is not great acting. I’d rather see more fresh faces over most of the people Hollywood calls stars.

  18. The problem is exactly one of economics and the accountants who fear taking chances. I was told once by a director that everyone in Hollywood wanted to be the first one to do it the second time. We have so many remakes, sequels and “updated” versions of previously successful films that there is hardly a reason t go to the movies any more. Just dig out an old DVD or pull up a copy of an original film on your iPad or Kindle Fire or phone or whatever and see it the way it was meant to be seen. A big part of the problem is also that these young “actors” don’t know how to act. I have seen very few truly accomplished actors in the under 40 set. They do not study their craft. They don’t care because they are just too cool. The old movie stars could create a mood with just a look or a small move of the hand or head. They knew how to use their voices, their bodies. Too bad that the YouTube crowd thinks that if you are recorded and on the internet, that makes you a star. Of course, it could result in a resurgence of theater. You have to know what you are doing to be a success in live performances. Maybe we should be grateful for the lack of skills and lack of significant players in the film industry.

  19. Rich K says:

    Here’s the deal, when the real movie makers and moguls died out the “bean counters” filled the vacuum. Since they had no idea on how to make a movie, let alone tell on good one from another they took on the idea that it’s the big names that brought in the movie goers. When the so-called stars weren’t making them the money, the bean counters tried to eliminate the “stars” and move to these big production movies hoping that they would make up for the lack of cast. Of course the thought that not paying a star anywhere from $15-$25 million sure made a difference as well. Now they could bury operational costs on the after production part (which they could control) and ignore the stars. So as movie goers we’re left with either a spectacular production or an “artsy” production which is low budget. The big names are becoming scarcer.

  20. JoelR says:

    Oh my goodness…I’m stunned by many of the posts here. Is the american public so filled with ignorance that they toss around words like “socialists”, “communists” etc. when it’s obvious those people do not even know what those terms actually mean??? Look, most of us know that the Right believes in corporate freedom and are against personal freedom. But that has little to do with most films. Personally I don’t care about what actors think or what they do off-screen. I don’t care if Eddie Murphy likes transexuals, or if George Clooney hates ice cream, or if Scarlet Jo bounces on trampolines with zebras! The only thing I care about is the work. My connection to the actors and/or stars begins and ends with what is on-screen. Like others, I have no interest in all the CGI cartoons…but since Mommy and Daddy bring all the kids to see them, they are almost always box-office champs, even if they suck. (PLANES 2…Coming Soon!)

    Those looking for more substance have the Fall (and Oscar Season) for that. If originality (well, at least for those who never saw SOURCE CODE and STARSHIP TROOPERS anyway) was what people were looking for, than EDGE OF TOMORROW would be doing better numbers (Best movie of the summer so far, by the way.) The fact that it is doing better overseas than in the U.S. tells me (as the posts I’ve read here confirm) that the problem lies with the audience more than the product. American audiences need to be spoonfed pap…and Hollywood will certainly oblige them.

    • JoelR says:

      Worked in a financial sector for years. I’m WELL aware of what capitalism is first-hand, and not from the stooges at Faux News.

    • JoelR says:

      Ron, No I wasn’t offended by UP (the movie you’ve cited). Nor was I concerned (or even thought about) no father present. Could have died, or divorced, or ran off with a secretary…or whatever. But explaining that might have added too bleak a tinge to a kiddie movie. And it’s cheaper to animate one parent instead of two. Plus…it doesn’t really matter as the movie is not about that. (Although if you wished, you could take the absent dad as cause for the boy’s attachment to the older gent.)

      As for morals (or lack thereof), Hollywood has been showing this since the silent days! It’s life. And an era’s lifestyle is something that is reflected in movies, NOT lead or dictated by them. Am I offended by ANYTHING in, say, WOLF OF WALL STREET? Absolutely not. I’m an adult. Actually, I was a bit envious…:-)

      • JoelR says:

        Ron, you don’t know what most Americans want or don’t want. You are making assumptions,. And you MIGHT even be in the minority. (not saying that’s the case…I don’t make asssumptions). As for WOLF being “liberal propaganda trying to make capitalism look corrupt”, no such propaganda is needed,,,it IS corrupt. (Based on my over-2 decades in the corporate world). And WOLF is based on the recollections of a MAJOR capitalist.. Real-life experiences/revelations do not equal “propaganda”. For examples of propaganda without facts (or facts omitted/distorted) there is a certain pseudo-news channel out there that provides that 24/7. And they do it more extensively and erroneously than any movie ever could.

    • Sorry Joel, I wasn’t talking about sci fi films geared toward the 10 to 14 year old demographic. Hollywood made epic films at one time. Not anymore.

    • You must be living on Gilligans Island, we’ve had year after year of watered down low character garbage coming out of Hollywood and you know it, if you don’t your whistling past the graveyard. Ticket salees are not going up you know.

      • JoelR says:

        Buy just what do you define as “low-character”? Bank robbers? Flatulence? Points-of-view? Or just things you don’t agree with. Aside from some of poor screenwriting on a number of movies, I haven’t found anything patently offensive in most Hollywood movies. Insipid? Yes? Boring? Sure! (God…please let TRANSFORMERS bomb! PLEASE!) Uncreative? Unimaginative? Certainly. But nothing patently offensive.

  21. This is precisely why we have no Errol Flynns, Gary Coopers, David Janssen’s, John Wayne’s, Ward Bond’s, Steve McQueen, Woody Strode’s, Charles Bronson’s. Today guys like this are run out of the business so it would seem. Way back when it seemed they had many actors to choose from but most of the guys I just mentioned were not great actors they were great characters. Seems to me Hollywood has no character, so with no character how can you seek out good character actors?

  22. Bill says:

    I don’t go to the movies any more. The quality of film is terrible. I far prefer t.v. shows like Game of Thrones, The Wire, etc. The acting, the character development, the story lines are by far more intriguing.

    • Arminius says:

      Try a book.
      Lower electricity costs, and often there’s an actual story.
      Movies are for adolescent date nights.

  23. Daniel says:

    Good. I for one will be glad of the death of “movie stars”. a movie is a like a symphony orchestra many, many people working to create beautiful music. An actor is just… a violinist in the orchestra. you could replace that violinist with another slightly less talented violist, the resulting music will still be just as good. And if you got the greatest most accomplished violinist in the world, it wouldn’t suddenly make the music better, it’s just one violin among the orchestra. And so it goes with movies, actors in Hollywood cannot “make” a good movie no more than a talented violinist can “fix” a bad piece of music.

  24. Noah Fing-Whey says:

    So if Batman tanks it won’t be because of Affleck but because Batman has run its course. Ha ha

  25. bucknaked2k says:

    Wes Anderson consistently makes wonderful films.

  26. Vern Moore says:

    That’s what happens when you make CGI the real star of the film. Everyone’s trying to outdo the others before them in CGI effects. Oh well. It’s the single main reason I never bother to even go see a movie nowadays.

  27. Joseph says:

    Hollywood sucks! I don’t waste my time anymore. Why pay money just to watch things blow up, people with no acting ability run around almost naked, and men act like whimpy little school girls that 105 pound tough women push around. Where have you gone Charlton Heston?

  28. SK says:

    Sadly we know too much about them. They appear to live sad, unstable, immoral lives with terrible and sad consequences and open up every part of their lives for all to see their dysfunction. They are desperate for attention and can’t get their st together. It’s boring and disappointing and exhausting hearing about their never ending sagas. Then they are held up as bastions of beauty when they are the most screwed up people ever. Worse, they involve children who will never know what a stable homelike is like or a married two parent home. They use pregnancy and children mostly to gain sympathy or again attention. Halle Berry comes to mind. It’s disgusting and who wants to go to see someone that messed up? It’s like patronizing a sick person with a death wish.

  29. nomogo says:

    I can name 20 actors over 40 I’d make a point to see … Duvall, De Niro, Nicholson, Eastwood, Crowe, etc … would be hard pressed to name a single actor under 40 I’d go out of my way to watch. James Franco? The guy is a degenerate with shockingly poor acting ability.

    things have skewed toward the childish, scatalogical and comic-books…

    • jedi77 says:

      Casey Affleck. He is consistantly good, and in pretty good movies too. And he’s under 40.

      • TheBigBangOf20thCenturyPopCulture says:

        You’ve gotta be kidding. Casey is the poster boy for what’s wrong with new age casting. The kid has absolutely no screen stage presence charisma whatsoever. He has the acting range of a Porky’s virgin or a towel boy from a Barry Manilow bath house pop concert from the 70s.

    • David Powell says:

      You said it all. You and William Flynn. It’s all watered down “World Market” gobbledygook with all the soul carefully boiled out of it, unless it is by someone who could build an audience before it got that way. DeCaprio gets points with me too, along with the names you mention. “The Aviator” is a tremendous movie. What Hollywood needs is heart and soul, and that can’t be CGI’s in or marketed in a way that doesn’t offend any foreign government like China’s or Iran’s or Russia’s.

  30. Harriet Craig says:

    I refuse to go to a movie with a “superhero”. I refuse to go to a remake or kid movie. Last movie I saw was Blue Jasmine.. It was excellent.

  31. Go Og says:

    There are so many ways to access information these days via the internet. People rarely take the time or do they have the time to spend watching a certain series. Nor do you have the type of actors in the John Wayne era. I still watch older shows compared to newer ones. The content while very detailed seems generic even with today’s technology. We do not have the moral compass and the acting is suffering compared to back in the day. So while it may be a sign I am growing older, I also realize that our society is so self involved and so pumped full of information daily, that it is hard for People to stay focused on a particular Actor or Actress.

  32. Gene says:

    They need to take a lesson from the late Johnny Carson … you never knew what side he voted for. Even in his monologues he would make fun of both sides.

  33. Justanaveragejoe says:

    I have taken to watching foreign films more and more. The stories are more interesting and well written, the acting sharp and focused, and the locales lovely. Also, I love to watch TCM as the old movies from the Golden Age are more interesting as well – again well written and focused on the actors. You can see a remake only once or twice to realize that talent and energy has been drained from Hollywood. It is a metaphor for America itself. Huge corporations like Disney run Hollywood now. Like broadcast television, they go for the lowest common denominator to attract a certain age range – which all too often is no longer going to movies because it costs too much or there are more interesting things to spend your decreasing dollars on.

    Hollywood, you are dead. Just face the facts and let it go. You will never be what you were again.

  34. TheBigBangOf20thCenturyPopCulture says:

    Don’t just harp on the hipster overkill status quo and miss the dearth of quality itself. Hollywood has always been a place more taken by social skill than talent. The modern era difference is that central casting is no more, remakes are the main box office outlet and we’ve entered a Logan’s Run phase where no one in major movies is allowed to age or`have charisma. Everything is made for kids by kids.. Most leading men look like department store mannequins, geeks or halfwits. The new crop of crap is dreck starring boys and not men. Starlets look underfed with no voluptuous allure. This is Hollywood’s ageist Twilight Zone we’re in. Old souls aren’t allowed. And you wonder why mature folks live in the past.
    . . .

  35. Corriea says:

    6/15/14 5:19a Variety Freedom of Speech
    Beto: I know of many actors that have made comments/speeches that I found objectionable but I make my own comments known on Boards that I compiled with the help of thousands of others. I go after their Politics and not attack them personally. You want their careers to fail, in order for you to justify your own politics. If isn’t wasn’t their politics, you would find something else

    • Corriea says:

      6/15/14 2:29p Variety Keep Repeating the same Crap..
      Beto: I get it! You Hate these Actors because they make more sense than you do.
      Consequences? Yes, there are repercussions, this is about politics and the World has moved beyond you and you keep repeating the same thing Enough. Your Wrong! Bub!

    • Ron Lewis says:

      Silly Corriea. Viewers can’t completely separate actors from the characters they portray. Ted Bundy was a great actor – do you think he could have parlayed his fame into a movie career? When someone is repulsive to you, it doesn’t matter if they act a different way in a movie, you would still see them as repulsive. Maybe you know a rape victim – show her home movies of her rapist and see if she thinks he’s a good actor.

  36. Corriea says:

    6/15/14 5:03a Variety People who Rip Off….
    Jeff: So you don’t Pay for the Movies with the Actors you don’t like, because of their Politics. You get to watch Movies for Free, while spouting off about their Politics, then you show how narrow minded, hypocritical and bigoted you really are. Typical.

  37. Corriea says:

    6/15/14 4:43a Variety Freedom of Speech is not Just for Non-Actors
    Beto: When you become a Film Actor you don’t lose your Rights and if they lose part of the audience for their Films, that is the risk they take when they speak out. I am not in show business but I follow some Actors and when I make comments on any Website about TV series or Movies, the response is offensive. People don’t like your Views or Politics, they go after you personally. I’ve read some of comments here on this Post and I’ll say it again. If you don’t like the Actors Politics. Don’t Pay for their Movies in any Form. They have a Right to Speak out, just as you do. Really Simple.

    • Ron Lewis says:

      There are a bunch of us. I haven’t gone to more than one movie a year for the last decade. And the movies I went to were not my idea – usually on a date. And after I went, I realized again why I hated them so much.

      Don’t have a working TV either. I do occasionally watch an old TV show on my computer – without the commercials!!

  38. Corriea says:

    6/15/14 3:16a Variety Peter Bart Movie Stars Endangered?
    Jeff: You have the Right to Free Speech, and as US Citizens, the Actors have the same Right to Free Speech. You don’t like their politics, don’t watch or pay for their Movies. Very simple, Bub.

  39. Jasonn says:

    He really means that decent movies have become an endangered species.

  40. Max Power says:

    Greetings to all,
    The small screen has become the new silver screen to the point where seasoned movies actors are now willingly starring in television projects.
    I believe the start of this was the massive appeal and success of the series “The Sopranos”. After that, a wider range of substantial gritty dramas followed leaving the motion pictures to turn superficial with CGI- laden effects and off-the-shelf plots.

  41. greezymuhfuh says:

    Movies don’t interest me anymore. They are about as time consuming and pointless as reading a book. And I’m sure, too, one day soon, ppl will equate being smart with watching movies. It’s all fantasy. You’re not smarter. You’ve just been “entertained”/distracted for a while. GG.

    • Alex says:

      Yeah, Maybe. I used to like to watch them. That was another century.

    • Ken says:

      Read a great novel. It WILL make you smarter.

      • greezymuhfuh says:

        The way I see it? If a book isn’t teaching you something applicable to life (How to fix something broken or make/do something better), you’re most certainly wasting your time. Might as well go play some video games; the 21st century literature. As far as movies go? Boy, I’d have to really be desperate. Come to think of it, I have been. And yet, still couldn’t bring myself to wade in the wasteland that is theatrical film. My very humble opinion, however. Good night, sir.

  42. Is Hollywood movie production going the way of the dodo bird? Are Hollywood movies not appealing to most of the general public?

  43. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha says:

    Hollywood “stars”. Taken any look at them? they are clones. Same unshaven look, lobbed ears, nose job, collagen lips, bust job, contact lenses. I cannot differentiate one actor from another.

  44. The truth is, the days of Liz Taylors and Marilyn Monroes are long over. There are no Hollywood stars, there are only actors and actresses.

  45. Ken says:

    There are many fine film actors working nowadays…but do I consider most of them “movie stars”? No, not really. But there are exceptions: Robert Redford – even in his advanced age – I still consider a “movie star”, in good movies (or not-so-great). ALL IS LOST was very much a star-driven vehicle, and he absolutely shone in it. He just has that aura that a long distinguished and intelligent career confers. Angelina Jolie I consider a “movie star” – she looks, walks and talks it. She’s great. Daniel Craig and Cate Blanchett are “movie stars” too. I have absolutely no interest in who’ll be donning the next cowl and cape and leotards for upcoming stupor-hero movies. The reliance on Marvel/DC at the cineplexes has worn me out.

  46. Richard Thomas says:

    Mr Bart,
    If as you say, movies make stars (and I agree), the question is not why stars are becoming endangered but, why is the audience being made to accept this?
    The short answer is money but the real answer is the state of the audience. If the minds of the masses are dumb downed enough to accept this and the product is reduced to they’re level of understanding then, this is what you get and the bean counters know if a masked comic book character can replace a high priced name and get the same results then……
    However, there still a sizable audience out here who is not going to the theater. An audience that would know the next Brando or Nicholson if they saw them. An audience who still recognizes art when they see it. If Hollywood continues to go down easy street for it’s audience of morons in order to avoid the tolls of the road less traveled, the place where the real actors and writers ( like myself!) live. Get used to seeing
    and hearing more explosions in place of thought provoking dialog and the usual cast of “I will do anything” stars.

    • Ron Lewis says:

      Geez, if that’s an example of your writing, maybe you should be wearing a mask as well.

      • Richard Thomas says:

        I’ll bet you can spell creative in seven languages.
        Enjoy “your” movie. WWWWWahahahahahahahhahahhahaah

      • Richard Thomas says:

        I agree. Too much drink, not enough think.

    • Richard Thomas says:

      You know, I just remembered who is now behind one of those masks.
      Some of those “stars” would not only “do anything”, they would also take anything.

  47. WriterDudeLA says:

    Unfortunately, some folks who green light pictures just don’t get it. If the audience doesn’t identify with the lead, (not the headliner) then the movie will tank. Even murderers and crooks perceive of themselves as being good for society. Think “Dexter,” “Good Fellas,” and “The Godfather,” and “Chicago PD”‘s Jason Begue, to name just a few. Then there are the really inane decisions, like Johnny Depp as Tonto. Tonto, really? The Lone Ranger, I can buy, but Tonto no way in hell. Then there’s the ill-conceived “Transcendence.” Given the level of intrusion by governments and private industry in our lives, “Transcendence” was simply the wrong movie at the wrong time, with Depp in the wrong role. Hollywood stars may be “an endangered species,” and the socialism of television may be a contributing factor. But, more likely it is because some actors seem to delight playing characters that are polar opposites of themselves. Unfortunately, when a star chooses to play a role against type, very few have the chops to make us want to take the journey with them.

  48. aaron says:

    Who cares? Actors are the least skilled workers per dollar earned. their money goes up their noses anyway. Let them get a real job.

    • Annie Paper says:

      Actors do need real skills and talents however it’s the bad actors who get highly paid or get an academy award. I think that’s why movie stars have become endangered.

  49. Cool Cat says:

    A new ANTI-BULLYING and KID’S GUN SAFETY Movie is on IndieGoGo Crowd Funding site, Cool Cat Saves the Kids. Check it out!

  50. Lorayne says:

    Hey, the best show in town is in D(disfunctional) C(confusion)!! A superb reality show with amateur act-ors and no talent to speak of. The main leads are auditioning for some exposure…any exposure! Hollywood is just a side show at this point.

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