Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Britain’s Next Big Thing

Matthew McConaughey is a handsome American movie star who takes top-billing in inane romantic comedies like The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Fool's Gold. Some may find this hard to believe but Matthew McConaughey was at one time positioned as a seriously important actor. His first role was in Richard Linklater's brilliant Dazed and Confused which eventually led to Joel Schumacher's 1996 film adaptation of John Grisham's novel A Time to Kill. It is around about this time that McConaughey scored the shit-hot management and publicist services of Creative Artists Agency and Rogers & Cowan Public Relations, who spectacularly splashed McConaughey's face across every leading magazine and newspaper in America. He was hailed as not just a gorgeous face but also as an amazing actor of his generation. It almost worked. By the end of the 90s Spielberg cast him as the lead in historical slave prestige drama Amistad and Robert Zemeckis had him star opposite Jodie Foster in his thinking man's sci-fi drama Contact. Yet McConaughey failed to capitalise on the hype and was eventually relegated to man-candy roles in shitty chick flicks. McConaughey may have been a good actor but his comedic talents and buff visage pissed all over his efforts to be taken seriously as a dramatic actor.

What then of Gemma Arterton? This young British thespian has come from nowhere and is now thought to be the prime contender for every major hot young female role. News came yesterday that Ridley Scott is desperate for her to star in his upcoming 3D ALIEN PREQUEL VOL 1 & 2. The Sunday Times reports a meeting was requested by Ridley Scott after he viewed her overrated performance in The Disappearance of Alice Creed. But Ridley's not alone as Stephen Frears was also totally won over by Gemma Arterton's grace and ability, thus cast her in the lead for TAMARA DREWE. It's an amazing accomplishment for an actress who less than 3 years ago had not starred in a single film. After her role in St Trinian's, Arterton became the disposable Bond Girl in Quantum of Solace which was followed by a string of prescribed love interest parts in Hollywood action movies like Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia. None of the latter roles did her any credibility and she attempted to counter it by going all serious in The Disappearance of Alice Creed. The public wasn't convinced as neither her performance in the Prince of Persia nor Alice Creed won the attention of mainstream audiences. Arterton has never been shy about exploiting her shapely curves to win roles, but she must now fear the hype surrounding her isn't connecting with moviegoers. She eloquently stated in The Daily Mail, "[For] me, it can really be frustrating when you're just seen as the totty, and I know that I've always taken acting so seriously. The Bond film took me into that "hottie" category. I don't want to play those characters any more. Now I'm starting to be in the kinds of films I would go and see - quirky and interesting, and not particularly blockbustery." Lucky then for Gemma that last night she was named 'Woman Of The Year' by GQ lads readership. (She even shamelessly attended the event).

This is almost like McConaughey in reverse. The problem is Artertron's management is positioning her as the UK's next greatest export, but neither her Hollywood roles nor serious British parts are gaining the kind of traction she and the people behind her want. Her publicist today denied the reports regarding her sought after involvement in Ridley Scott's ALIEN PREQUELS, but it's possible that Gemma Arterton's camp is just trying to cover her tracks for speaking about the project too soon, and that she will still be meeting with Ridley Scott to appear as the female lead in the Untitled ALIEN PREQUELS sometime in the near future. Either way it seems a shame for the British film industry to once again be positioning a generic pretty middle-class (I know her mum was a cleaner but there's fuck all trace of that in her current prissy personality) white girl with standard acting abilities. On the other hand Archie Panjabi is a British Asian actress who won an Emmy last week for her role as Kalinda Sharma in CBS' The Good Wife, but you don't hear about Ridley Scott wanting a meeting with her for the Untitled ALIEN PREQUELS. (Must mention that Ridley Scott is an Executive Producer on The Good Wife, which makes it even worse.) Not even Mike Newell thought about casting Archie Panjabi as Princess Tamina in The Prince of Persia even though she'd have been more ethnically appropriate for the role than what Arterton was. It seems shocking that Archie Panjabi had to go to America to breakout because her own country failed to support her in the way they have Gemma Arterton. Shame on you Britain!

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