Monday, October 8, 2012

Question for the Week of Oct 8-14: More, Please?

What actors and actresses would I like to see more of?
Honestly, I began this as a list of minority actors who should appear more. Then I looked at under-used actresses - but I realized that would start to seem kinda... pervy. It's Hollywood, after all, and it's not just the studio selection process, it's having top makeup artists on hand; 3 hours in a chair with a pro, & I'd look like Cary Grant.

My main point is that the media has combined with the film industry's natural habits so that only very few people receive attention. It's ridiculous and stupid, and I don't know what the media would've done without (e.g.) Nicole Kidman to plaster onto everything. I thought about it for a bit, and here's 40 people whose profile I want to see skyrocket, and soon...

I'll try to be fair in describing the situation and its problems: Hollywood greatly favors men over women, and non-minorities over minorities. White males get the most attention and range of offers and the most stories centered on them, every time. Some white males do make this list, but you now know how I got started on this, so:

Carla Gugino is not just a pretty face. She's done a lot of work in independent film, showing a care in picking her roles. She fills every part with intelligence, willpower, and a knowing sexiness that isn't cheap or a put-off. I loved her in Spy Kids, along with various roles here and there; I wish her part in Sin City were twice as long.

Cate Blanchett is uber-gifted, so watching her act is always something to look forward to. Anyone who's seen the Lord of the Rings films can tell you that she has freakishly beautiful eyes. She's also done a lot of indie work, takes a great range of roles, and seems to be incapable of failing or missing a beat. I love her cameo in Hot Fuzz.

Olivia Wilde, I know from House. Soon, I'll be watching Butter, and I'll have a chance to see the part that a fellow blogger talked to me about for, like, 5 minutes straight.

Chow Yun-fat - The Cary Grant of Hong Kong, that's what they called him, and he deserved the title. Chow has an effortless charm that is completely believable, whether he's casting his spell on other film characters or on the audience itself. I love so many of his HK-era movies, and bitterly curse the bad American projects (and the death of the HK industry) that suddenly pulled him off the screens. The Killer, Full ContactA Better Tomorrow, City on FireGod of Gamblers... I could go on all day here.

Missy Peregrim is a great young Canadian actress. I've seen or heard about her work in stuff like the first season of Heroes (aka "the one good season"), as well as the Canadian series, Rookie Blue. Someone told me she was in a show called Reaper; the pilot was directed by Kevin Smith, I gave the thing a spin, and I have to say she was one of the best elements of it.

You don't need to see all of the new Battlestar Galactica to understand the strengths of Tricia Helfer. My well-documented fling with the early seasons of Burn Notice serve as a fine introduction to her work. At the start of the second season, in comes Helfer as Carla, and she's one of the most unique, impressive villains I've ever seen.

Of course, she did put in fine work on BSG - but I can't recommend the series overall, sadly, and people get very distracted by the wild sexuality of the character this gorgeous woman played. A reader tuned me in to her guest role in a show called Lie to Me; you see how much this woman can emote, and how easily, and in how many different ways. There is no good reason Ms. Helfer shouldn't have had 15+ credits every year since 2009.

I loved Ernie Hudson, right from the moment I saw him in Ghostbusters. He's taken a lot of roles since then, actually, but I wouldn't be happy unless he'd worked even more. He was one of the best things about The Crow, which was already a very strong movie. He's excellent at comedy as well as drama, so the failing is on the part of casting agents and producers, I guess...

I'm not alone in my fondness for Mr. Hudson. Someone was so pissed off that Ernie isn't mentioned in the trailer for Ghostbusters that he decided to rework the trailer to show you that Ray Winston IS

And I (platonically) loves me some Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Yes, he's actually had quite a lot of work over the last year, as well as some non-cinematic artistic efforts. And yes, JG-L has come up a bit on this site. I saw Brick and I was completely won over. Who can blame me?

I love his work, which really runs the gamut from simple indie dramas to Nolan's hyper-action in TDKR and Inception. This young man is very gifted, nuanced, and charismatic. He's on the cusp of becoming an A-lister, or so I hope, so here's hoping he's never on a list like this again.

I am always so happy for Keith David's presence, whether it's in The Thing, or as the bad-ass friend in They Live, or as the awesome stepdad in There's Something About Mary. Hell, his part as the horrifyingly-creepy sex ring operator in Requiem for a Dream was great, it just made me want to bathe.

Nathan Fillion. I don't feel the need to add much more to that. If you don't know why Mr. Fillion is great, just type his name into Wiki, or Youtube, or IMDb, and then look at that and then realize it for yourself.

Yvonne Strahovski - Once again, we have an actress who's probably very underestimated because she's a knock-out. For the 2 seasons that I watched Chuck, Strahovski was almost always the standout performer; I was actually very impressed by the lead male, too (can't recall his name right now), but he was written poorly at times, whereas she got to do much more... natural emoting. She's excellent at it.

Oh, how I always hope to read that Luis Guzman is in the movie I'm about to watch; any movie. You must know this guy from Carlito's Way, and probably The Count of Monte Cristo, as well. He's very, very good, in every role I've ever seen him in.

Again, I guess maybe Jenny Wade is considered too beautiful to get much mainstream work; I have no idea why her face isn't everywhere. This fine actress is came to my attention due to a pet show of mine, The Good Guys. She's exceptional, and has a knack for letter-perfect delivery. When I was checking out a few episodes of Reaper, I saw she was in that as well, and she was just fine in that, too. The amazing thing is how gifted she is at comedy.

If I could be a present day English person, would it be Lennie James? Probably. He's done great work in Line of Duty, which I wrote about before, as well as Jericho, a surprisingly-neat show from CBS. More Lennie, please.

Everything goes better with Cillian Murphy. I'd never heard of him until I walked into a theater for 28 Days Later, and I've only ever admired the hell out of him since. Red Eye was not a fantastic thriller, but he did great work in it, as well Nolan's Batman films, The Wind that Shakes the Barley...

Melissa George is not just statuesque, she's got some fine work under her belt. She was good in The Limey, and in a few tv appearances that I caught, I really liked her skills - even when the roles or plots were written unevenly. I very much want to see more from her. Like, "chop chop."

Ben Browder proved himself to me over and over again on Farscape. He has very few movie roles, and a small selection of TV spots, which is a surprise since he was on that popular Fox show, Party of Five. At the very least I can look forward to him in a new movie this year, Bad Kids Go To Hell.

Browder is like a less well-known Nathan Fillion, but I like him even more, and I believe BB is probably the stronger actor. And yes, I'm embarrassed that I wrote that comparison - embarrassed for all three of us.

Taye Diggs always draws the eye, whether it's that impossibly-perfect smile, or his unexpected skill at acting. Where you been, Diggs?

Marisa Tomei is probably the person in this post who's worked the most, but that I haven't seen. She put a lot of focus on smaller, arthouse films - that's to her credit, but it's also been to my loss, as something always comes up and I never end up seeing her anymore.

Like Nathan Fillion, Amy Acker is a die-hard member of the Joss Whedon Troupe - the circle of 15 or so performers that JW goes back to time and again. She's perfect. I look forward to seeing her soon in Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. soon, but the truth is I wouldn't be happy unless she were in something all the time.

Joan Allen is excellent. She seems to have been pretty quiet lately, tho, and I know she's hitting that age that Hollywood largely pretends doesn't exist (remember: above all, women are supposed to be young). Come back soon, please!

If there's anything that's wrong with Minnie Driver, or the way that's she inhabited every role she's taken, then either you're crazy or I'm just too distracted by her good looks.

Oded Fehr isn't exactly breaking my concentration with his charisma, but he does have it, he is a good actor, and I've wanted to see more of this guy since Day 1.

Laurence Mason: I gotta love a guy from The Bronx, y'know? Mason was hysterical as Lord Nikon in a personal favorite, Hackers. He soon after turned in a great, but messed-up and harsh, performance as a murderer in The Crow. I've seen him in a half-dozen or so roles over the years, but he never gets enough screen time (though he always makes a good impression).

I might be fond of Sprague Grayden for her looks, or her part in Jericho (honestly she was awfully-written in the last season of 24) or maybe it's just on her name alone. Yeah, it's definitely for her name, and her acting.

If I ever thought I felt an actress in a movie seduce the hell out of me, the idiot in the movie seat, it was Lena Olin. It's not just that she's so pretty, or that she's Scandinavian, or that her good looks are so unusual. She does fine work with every person she plays, and she doesn't need to stand out for her beauty - it's always the way she's playing the role. I wish she didn't kind of get me a little hot while I was watching Romeo is Bleeding, but it's true.

Max Beesley - the Beez can be seen in Survivors, which I recommended some time ago. I've seen him here and there since, but I like him quite a lot and want to see what he's really capable of.

I refuse to explain why Forest Whitaker is great. I can only direct you to The Last King of Scotland, and a few other roles.

Claudia Black is another Farscape alum, and she might even have gotten a worse break than Ben Browder. Browder focused on a lot of theater work, so he hasn't really been in a "major motion picture" since 1991, and his roles in Memphis Belle and A Kiss Before Dying were not huge. Ms. Black, however, was part of the very small cast in Pitch Black - yet she got 2 lines and is the first person killed.

Then she was cast in that terrible Queen of the Damned film; the director was so impressed with her, that he shot extra scenes and gave her new dialogue... Then that footage didn't make it into that awful movie, in which she does almost nothing.

Like Mr. Browder, CB is very gifted, versatile, charismatic. Stargate SG-1 was the show whose ratings made some SciFi idiots decide to cancel Farscape; ironically, she started appearing in Stargate, which took up the next 4 years of her career. And super-ironically, Browder joined her on SG-1 the very next year. But, as if the gods decided that we just can't have nice things, those last seasons of the show don't really have the emotional pull that (a) they should have and (b) they were trying for.

Similarly, Paterson Joseph has been beyond reliable in a lot of UK roles, but is rarely seen by American audiences. I either need more access to his CV, or he needs to do more work that I can actually get a hold of legally.

It is with great pride that I can pronounce the name "Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje" well; I actually asked co-workers with his background to tell me if I was saying it wrong.

Nora Zehetner is unusually pretty, and came to my attention with Brick. I guess I was bound to pay attention to her career, given that she was so fine in one of my favorite movies ever. She was excellent in the first season of Heroes, too, but it's been too long since I've seen her perform.

I can't get enough of Simon Pegg. Perhaps it's my exposure to all his work with Edgar Wright, perhaps I just like his wit. I hope every one of his movies does well, but I've been saddened by some of the odd failures he's had as a lead (Run Fatboy Run didn't do well at all). Nick Frost also makes the list - you might have read my Recommendation for Hyperdrive, but if you haven't, you'll know that Frost is very sharp and very fun.

The strange case of Angela Bettis has a lot to do with an indie horror/thriller called May. That pic was weird and insane, but I got to see how effective and clever she is on screen. She also cares a lot about the indie scene, and that's nearly enough to win me over.

Phillip Rhys and Robyn Addison were two other actors I enjoyed on Survivors. But although Rhys got to be in Season 2 of 24, I haven't seen Addison in anything since. So once again, not being in the UK screws me over.

You wouldn't really expect a looker like Kari Wuhrer to be a good actress. Like Meg Tilly, she's lovely enough that it's hard to think of anything else; is that called "glamour," and does that mean it sort of backfires if it makes you underestimate? In any case, she was a VJ on MTV (centuries ago, when they had "videos"), known for crazy/wild/slightly spastic but in a cool way personality.

She's done dozens of movies since then, but what you're most likely to know is from Eight-Legged Freaks. She certainly did take a lot of parts that highlighted her physique, lots of skinemax (or near-skinemax) -type work. But when you catch her performance in a film like Kate's Addiction, which was a bit skinemax-y, you understand that she's capable of a lot, as an actress. I hope she gets the chance to show that to us all.

I may very well be saving the best for last with Idris Elba. I resisted watching the BBC's Luther for some time, but I only grew to admire this man more and more as the show progressed. I also grew to feel kind of dumb for not watching that show while it was airing.

He's got great rugged looks, he's physical, he's emotional, he's capable of conveying thought amazingly well. Elba is a very fine actor, and I wish that Hollywood didn't use this gifted Londoner for mere bit parts in movies like Thor and Prometheus. Please, make everything with a side of Elba, Hollywood!

I can get why all the ladies swoon for him - is Idris for women what Heather Graham is for me and my fellow men?

In any case, I am both done and exhausted now. Maybe I'll add some video clips to the post tonight. In any case, I'll see you back here tomorrow!

Oh, also, more Heather Graham; she's a great performer and frankly, I find looking at her... soothing. She brings me peace, a precious commodity in this crazy world.

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