Actor Wears Costume. World Freaks Out. #BenAffleck as #Batman

Ben-Affleck-as-Batman1Ever since the birth of drama, actors have worn costumes. In Shakespeare’s day, men dressed in drag and played women. Today, Superman vs. Batman director, Zach Snyder, released the first photo of actor Ben Affleck donning the famous bat suit. Lots of actors have played Batman. Most recently, Christian Bale played the dark knight in the Christopher Nolan films. George Clooney played the caped crusader in the now infamous box-office bomb Batman & Robin. Clooney was also famous for pointing out that the costume for his version had nipples on it. Former heartthrobs Val Kilmer and Michael Keaton also tried to save Gotham City from disaster. So, what makes Ben Affleck so different? Why are people freaking out? Is it is his famous Boston accent? Is it that Affleck playing the famous comic book hero can make a great hashtag? #Batffleck

I have a theory. In theater, when a play is originated, it has the actors who created those roles. Oftentimes, they are so iconic that it is unfathomable that other actors could do the role justice. Take Marlon Brando in Tennessee Willilams’ A Streetcar Named Desire for example. Brando took the role which he originated in Stanley Kowalski, and brought him to the big screen. Since it premiered in 1947, dozens of actors have portrayed Brando’s iconic role on stage ( i.e. Gary Sinise, Aidan Quinn, Blair Underwood, & John C. Riley) and film (Treat Williams in 1984 and Alec Baldwin in 1995 made for TV adaptations.) However, the only actor that has become synonymous with the famous “STELLA!!” line has been Brando. All of the other actors could have done damn fine jobs in the role, but it was overshadowed by one performance.  

In the case of the Batman character and its portrayal on film, I think it comes down to one key point at the present moment. The current cinematic landscape has recently become over-saturated with the character–and not just Batman, Spider-man and Superman as well. Many actors have played those roles on film. There have been SO many versions, sequels and “reboots” that I think as an audience, we’re getting a little sick of the same thing over and over. Unlike the theater, where people are used to seeing different actors play the same roles in various productions, film forever encapsulates a particular character. This might make it hard for an audience to believe several different actors playing the same character. It’s been done time and time again, and it’s not all bad;  it does beg the question as to whether or not so many adaptations are needed so soon after each other. Granted, they are money-makers, but I think we are sacrificing quality of the work for quantity of sales and box-office. But who knows? Batffleck’s portrayal might be the best one yet. We’ll just have to wait and see. For now, he’s just an actor wearing a costume.  Oh, Did you see those biceps? Good work Ben Affleck. Good work.

 

James Spader Gets on the “Blacklist”

James Spader in "The Blacklist" on NBC.
James Spader in “The Blacklist” on NBC.

I was watching my normal YouTube channels that I subscribe to the other day, when I saw the trailer for a new series from NBC starring James Spader called, Blacklist. Holy moly, did I freak out because of its awesomeness. And I just found this out: It films in New York. I have to see if I can get on this show. Like, now. Seriously. What do I need to do? It co-stars Megan Boone, I’ve never heard of, but apparently, she was a regular on Law & Order: LA, so I think she has the whole, “I’m a government official” thing down. What I’m really eager to see is James Spader as a hardened criminal. I knew there was something behind all those snarky, egotistical characters he played in the 80’s. Now, after starring on Boston Legal, he goes to the opposite side of the law in this show.  Spader  plays Raymond “Red” Reddington, the most wanted man in the world, who has willingly surrendered himself to authorities and has revealed he compiled a list of that includes everyone from politicians, to mobsters and terrorists: The Blacklist. It seems like NBC took a cue from Fox’s new hit show, The Following, starring another 80’s heartthrob, Kevin Bacon. I’m not sure if executives really thought out the title of the show though. If it completely goes up in smoke, the media can use the title to their advantage. However, something tells me that NBC may have a new hit show on their hands. It looks intriguing, and I thought it had elements of Silence of the Lambs that will make it thrilling to watch. Watch out Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, there’s a new criminal/agent duo in town.

Take a look at the trailer:

Taking Advantage of a “Career Lull”: Using My Words

What do I have in common with Steve Martin, Tina Fey, James Franco, and Andrew McCarthy? We’re actors who are also writers. You read that correctly, Andrew McCarthy is, in fact, a writer. He’s an award-winning travel writer. Check out some of his stuff on National Geographic Traveler. Now, I’m not talking about actors who all of the sudden want to “write” their memoirs, and get a ghost writer to do it for them. I’m talking about people with actual skills, who do their own writing. As a matter of fact, Tina Fey and Steve Martin actually STARTED OUT as WRITERS. I’m guessing they did it while they were pursuing acting as well, due to the fact that they are in both realms of the industry. Granted, there are those actors who have also written screenplays or stage plays, and blogs,  but that’s a different type of article all together.

I started acting when I was around the age of 8, maybe 9.  But I started making up stories as soon as I could talk. I even had an imaginary friend when I was 5 who I would tell my stories to. Her name was Jinglelyn, and again, I was 5. When I actually learned to read and write, writing took a back seat to performing onstage. I had found my passion for storytelling on stage. And I loved it. It’s my first love. Telling stories, no matter what shape or form, is what I love.

What I find funny now, is the fact that my parents kept giving me journals on my birthdays or Christmas, and I never really used them. I wasn’t really a “dear diary” type of girl anyways. It seemed sort of silly to recount my day on paper. I started writing short stories and plays, and when I got to high school, I helped start up the creative writing club at my all-girls, Catholic high school. I wrote stories, parts of novels I was working on, and seriously wanted to become a writer and an actor when I grew up. I was involved in anything creative. I sang in choirs, acted in the school plays and wrote stories. My English teacher even gave me a writing award my junior year of high school.  When I got to college, I majored in English because I love the element of story-telling, plot and characters. I thought it would help in the acting realm because I was able to learn about the different things that make up a good story. It was sort of like four years of script-analysis. I acted throughout college, even directed. My senior year of college, I got my first headshots and auditioned at my first major theater convention, which led to moving to NYC to study at Circle in the Square Theater School.

Within these past six years, I have been acting and putting writing on the back burner. I got my union cards and even pursued stand-up.  The closest I came to writing, before starting this blog, was stand-up comedy, which I still love because you can create your own material.  I started this blog because I wanted to get back into writing, and I wanted to write something from the perspective of an actor who was going through the ups and downs in their career. Not someone who is washed-up and giving advice. I’m still in the trenches and being in a  career “lull,” I have been writing about what I love. Movies I love, movies I loathe, anything and everything that has to do with the industry, with a unique perspective. It seems like I’m in good company of those who came before me. If you use all of your talents, it can lead to something. What that is, I don’t know. But I am pursuing my writing and my acting. So I guess I can add a back-slash to my job description. I’m a writer/actor. And I’m so glad you are reading my blog. Thanks.