Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Real Reason Hollywood Stars Make the Big Bucks

Your faithful correspondent has a pet theory about Hollywood actors and their extra-ordinary levels of remuneration. An Spailpín doesn’t think that they pull down the big dollars because of the acting they do for the films’ two hour duration.

They pull down the big money for the acting they do afterwards, in keeping a straight face when promoting a film that they know, as surely as anyone can have knowledge of anything in this crazy, mixed-up world, that the film they’ve just made is a complete and utter pig.

There are two films in An Spailpín’s mind particularly at the moment; One Day, a romantic comedy starring Anne Hathaway and someone else, and Cowboys and Aliens, a science fiction actioner starring Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde.

There are some people who will like these movies, to whom the pictures will speak as works of art. An Spailpín’s brother Mayoman, Willie Joe, got rather a blast out of Cowboys and Aliens. But generally speaking, the movie industry will remember these two films as turkeys.

Everybody knows it. In modern cinema, there are no word of mouth hits anymore. A movie sinks or swims immediately it comes out. It may become a beloved DVD hit a year later, but as far as Hollywood is concerned, if a picture doesn’t open everyone concerned with it has a smell rising from them because of that, a smell that can only be cleared by a bone-fide box office smash.

Anne Hathaway knows that the picture is a bomb by the time the movie is released. Chances are she's known for months. But she’s still got to do her media, as she is the only star connected with One Day. She is the only person with whom interviewers wish to speak. What would Ryan Tubridy do for twenty minutes’ of Hollywood glamour on the Late Late Show this Friday night, instead of the scrapings of the RTÉ canteen, followed by a panel discussion featuring Terry Prone, Eddie Hobbs and Jason Byrne?

So Anne Hathaway does her interviews and smiles her million dollar smile and talks about Yorkshire and how much the book moved her and how hard it is to find good females roles in Hollywood and yes, she loves Kate Middleton and the wedding did remind her of the Princess Diaries and all the while she’s thinking: my God, will I ever have a hit movie to myself? Or will I be on the Hallmark channel for the rest of my days, playing alcoholic mothers who sell their daughters for crates of gin?

Harrison Ford hasn’t had a hit since Air Force One. The last Indiana Jones movie doesn’t count, because nobody can think of it without becoming incredibly sad. Jon Farveau, the director of Cowboys and Aliens, has the consolation of the guaranteed money of the Iron Man franchise (provided nobody has a hundredth-monkey-moment about these interminable Marvel comic movies), while Daniel Craig has the matchless consolation of knowing that, whatever happens to him in his future career he cannot possibly make as bad a call as Clive Owen already has.

While Olivia Wilde thinks: Tron bombed and this bombed. I have three, maybe four more movies left until I’m on the Hallmark channel for the rest of my days, playing drug-addicted mothers who sell their sons for crates of Acapulco Gold, the notorious bad-ass weed. Oh God, oh God, oh God.

But they can never voice that. Instead it’s all about how great it was to work with Harrison Ford, how much she learned from Hugh Laurie on House, and how she really got to explore what her character went through and developed as a person when Zolbat the alien wrapped his scaly tentacle around her milky-white neck, before Daniel Craig chopped it off (the tentacle now, not the neck).

And people say Hollywood actors and actresses are over-paid? Reader, they don’t get paid half enough for keeping a straight face through all this.