(This is a preview of the PopRox column in Sunday’s paper. It looks different because it is. I’m not allowed to be as free-wheeling in the paper. You don’t have to study the two versions to see where it’s different, but feel free to and come back every Thursday to see the REAL version, the way it’s supposed to look and be read.)
When you’re a fan of a movie star, you tend not to notice when they become so remarkably egotistical their heads are more disproportionate than Stewie on Family Guy.
They’re the charming, wildly popular movie stars whose movies we’ve seen so many times we mistakenly feel like we know them. That leads us to give them a pass when they say things so absurd, if it was said to you by a stranger on the street you’d consider punching their right in their effing face for being such a complete douche.
But because these crazy things are being said by our favorite actors, we laugh it off, forgive and forget and fork over $12 a pop for their next 3-D movie.
Maybe we should start rethinking those decisions when it comes to our two latest offenders — Ryan Reynolds and Will Smith, two of my favorite actors who decided to take at least a brief trip off the reservation this week:
What he’s done: The most underrated TV sitcom of the 90s, Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place; Fifteen, the model for which all Canadian teen soap operas should be based; Van Wilder, which was awful; the criminally underrated Adventureland; Definitely, Maybe and The Proposal, because he’s hot and hadn’t done romantic comedies to establish his female audience and Green Lantern. Let’s talk about that last one.
What he said: In a podcast with British movie magazine Empire, when asked about whether he’d reprise the role of Green Lantern ring holder Hal Jordan in Justice League, “Working on Green Lantern, I saw how difficult it is to make that concept palatable, and how confused it all can be when you don’t really know exactly where you’re going with it or you don’t really know how to access that world properly — that world comic book fans have been accessing for decades and falling in love with. So at this point I have very little interest in joining that kind of world. But, you know, a great script and a good director can always turn that around.”
Analysis: Green Lantern is putrid, just a poorly made movie from start to finish. It’s basically an advertisement for all of the products included in its marketing package. While not all of this is the fault of Reynolds — he has to shoulder some of the blame, right? Apparently not, as he throws the entire production team directly under the back wheel of the bus, gets behind the wheel and punches down on the gas pedal.
Which is fine, I guess, if you’re cool never working again for Warner Bros., which produced Green Lantern. But not one sentence later, he says he’ll do it again if there’s a good script and director!
He’s … he’s kidding, right? “You stink, your movie stunk, it probably will stink if you do it again … but call me when you get Scorsese!”
And that’s not even the worst part! The movie bombed so badly Warners had to scrap plans for a potential franchise and lost tens of millions of dollars in production and marketing costs.
I don’t remember studios ever taking the blame, but I sure do remember 50 million other instances where they blamed the actor. So who here thinks they’d even consider bringing Reynolds back for a sequel, let alone a Justice League movie, potentially the biggest movie the studio will ever make?
No one? No one thinks that?
Sorry, Ryan. You’re alone on this one.
What he’s done: Had an uncredited cameo in Kevin Smith’s Jersey Girl. Wait, has he done anything else?
What he said: According to Entertainment Weekly, on why he dropped out of playing Django in Django Unchained: “Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!” And also (SPOILER ALERT!): “I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!’”
Analysis: Holy crow, Big Willie! You thought it was cool to tell an Oscar-winning writer and likely the most respected scribe in Hollywood this side of William Goldman how to write his movie? And you were willing to drop out of it because of that? HOW BIG IS YOUR HEAD???
You know who didn’t think the script needed to be changed? THE ACADEMY EFFING AWARDS, that’s who, as they saw past the tragic error of the bounty hunter killing the bad guy and gave Tarantino the best original screenplay Oscar.
Tarantino has built his reputation as being a no-BS actor’s writer, respecting their boundaries while challenging them and then going out for beers with them after. So I can’t even imagine what was going through Quentin’s head while he was listening to this seemingly megalomaniac wax poetic on the importance of Will Smith being the lead actor. I picture him gagging on his own puke in his mouth, but trying to keep quiet so as not to disrespect Smith.
The absolute best part of this is that Smith almost definitely is giving this interview after the Oscar nominations were released, and presumably after the Oscars were awarded. During the awards season, Jamie Foxx — who replaced the Fresh Prince as Django — was promoted as the lead actor and bounty hunter Christoph Waltz as the supporting actor. Waltz won his second Tarantino-penned Oscar. So he was so full of himself that he still decided to call Quentin out for not cow-towing to his every whim, even though Quentin was apparently right the whole time.
The balls on him! Either Smith missed the point and intention of the whole script, or he is just too involved in his own stardom to notice that Django was the star of the movie — despite not killing the bad guy.