Monday, July 23, 2007

Newsflash: Actresses Aim to be Successful

In some news from the past weekend or thereabouts, an interview surfaced with Jessica Biel aka the one on the left. As you well know, Biel is a featured component (and, yes, that is a double entendre) in the new movie that is raising the ire of gay America while having the support of GLAAD I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. As anyone with a set of eyes can note, Biel has quite a frame. Unfortunately, this gives her the impression that she has been pigeonholed in her roles. Biel, like pretty much every actress on the face of the planet, wants to diversify and show herself as a true talent. She said that she would be willing to become ugly or fat for a role like Charlize Theron did in Monster and Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones.

I'm just going go ahead here and make the obvious comment to be made here: Theron and Zellweger are amazing actresses. Theron's breakout party was Monster, but she had already established herself as an actress to watch. Renee Zellweger is an acting superstar, doing a lot of well-received movies. And, the last time I checked on both of these two, both Theron and Zellweger are not hard on the eyes. So, with all the in-between cut out, we are left with why Biel's struggling to get off the B-List while Theron and Zellweger can make terrible movies and still get big money: talent. Theron and Zellweger have it; Biel: not so much.

If she's still bitter about not getting Thora Birch's role in American Beauty, Biel should do what everyone does when they don't get what they want: go back to the lab and work it out. And, I don't mean work out. I mean work it out. If she needs someone to follow, look at Diana Rigg, Jane Fonda, and/or Helen Mirren. Since Rigg and Mirren are British, they should be referred to as Dames Rigg and Mirren, which they actually are. But, I'm getting away from my point. Both Rigg and Mirren are Shakespearean-trained actors who ooze talent on screen. Jane Fonda is one of the best regarded actresses of the 20th Century. All three of these women are known for being fantastic actors. They are also known for being extremely sexy during their youths (they are all still beautiful now, but I'm not going to put up a Jane Fonda now poster on my wall. Although, she's always welcome to coffee and feminism at my house because I would like to talk politics with her).

Rigg used to wear that oh-so-hot catsuit as Emma Peel on The Avengers. While her character was sexy, she was also clever, talented and considerably smarter than Steed. Rigg actually made The Avengers must watch television, something that Macnee (Steed) could not do on his own. Mirren is best known for appearing naked on film a lot in the earlier part of her career. Regardless of her nudity, she is stood out in those films and has shown that talent is true as she is more well-regarded now than when she was young. Jane Fonda will live on as a sex symbol due to the sci-fi romp that is Barbarella. But, she followed that vapid role with a tragic turn as an down-on-her-luck actress in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, a turn that netted Fonda a nod from the Academy.

As you can see, three women who are all in the same boat as Biel. They were all known for being hot. But, each actress actually showed brilliance of form in movies where they were nothing more than sex symbols and more solidly in movies where their sexuality was not as important. And all of these actresses had their breakthroughs at around Biel's age.

So, while she is complaining about not being successful or being given the opportunities to succeed, maybe she should recognize that sexuality doesn't make an actress; sexuality makes magazine fodder. Talent makes an actress. Even the most sexualized of actresses Marilyn Monroe was actually a pretty talented actress. So, sex appeal really does not stand in the way of getting good roles. All of this, essentially, means that Biel needs to become a better actor instead of taking her complaints to the media. She's starting to sound like Anne Hathaway with all of the "look at me" quotes flying around her.