Sunday, July 1, 2012

Eight Actors Who Should Fire Their Agents

Legendary agent Irving "Swifty" Lazar. His white Persian cat had the day off.
One of the mysteries of the Hollywood universe is how some good actors consistently end up in cruddy films, and yet others somehow miss out on that one big film that would catapult them to superstardom. The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in their agents. It is, after all, the modern-day Irving "Swifty" Lazars who vet the scripts and directors before ringing up their client to let them know that, fingers crossed, they're going to be getting the lead in Police Academy vs Predator. Clearly, the best career advice for the following list of actors is to dump their representation and find some other way of finding roles; the Magic 8-Ball might be one option.

8. Mira Sorvino

Let's see; beautiful Mira is fluent in French and Mandarin Chinese; she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard;  she won an Oscar in 1995 for Mighty Aphrodite; and since then she's done...nothing, Nothing worthwhile, that is. Her IMDB CV since Aphrodite reads like the contents of a DVD sale bin at Wal-Mart: a lot of schlocky action films and others that are probably part of some film tax credit dodge. If it's true there's a conspiracy against brainy women in Hollywood then Sorvino is the poster child for it.

7. Clive Owen

Poor Clive Owen; it seems like yesterday he was on the short list to be the next James Bond, and now he's stuck doing the action films Daniel Craig turns down. Shoot 'Em Up, The International,  Derailed and Killer Elite represent the stuff star actors do on their way up or down. Owen is in his prime and he really only has Children of Men on the plus side of the ledger. And he'll have to win at least two Oscars to make up for King Arthur.

6. Matthew McConaughey

If Clive Owen's problem is too many action films, Matthew's curse is too few. This is one of the most macho, virile actors around, and just when you think he's going to become the next big he-man actor he turns around and does some desperately witless rom-com.   U-571 was followed by The Wedding Planner; Reign of Fire by How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; and what does he follow up The Lincoln Lawyer with? Magic Mike! A chick flick about male strippers! The only way forward for Matthew is for he and Clive Owen to switch agents and thereby rescue two careers.

5. Eddie Murphy

Some might say Eddie is his own worst enemy when it comes to picking roles, but the issue here is that he's a fine comic actor who's consistently been willing to whore his talents in any jerky comedy that came with a big paycheque. Check him out in Bowfinger and The Nutty Professor and you see someone who has a Peter Sellers-like ability to create and inhabit fully-realized comic characters. Most comedians play one character the entirety of their career (step forward, Adam Sandler), but Murphy can do much, much better. It's time for Eddie to stop letting his posse choose his scripts.

4. Alec Baldwin

If any actor deserves to get a mulligan on their career it's Baldwin. Turns out he's one of the best comic actors around, but until 30 Rock came along he'd been wasting his time trying to play it straight and macho in dire efforts like The Getaway and The Shadow. His agent was apparently blinded by Alec's leading man good looks and figured comedy was beneath him.

3. Geena Davis

She can play it sexy, tough or funny, but apparently she can't survive her agent's decision to put her in Cutthroat Island and The Long Kiss Goodnight. That pair of bombs effectively ended Geena's place on the A-list, and since then she's been reduced to playing a supporting role to a CGI mouse in three Stuart Little films. Her agent couldn't find her at least one rom-com?

2. Steve Martin

It's possible that Steve and Eddie Murphy share the same agent, because Martin can also be accused of wasting his talents in a string of family-friendly comedies like Father of the Bride, Cheaper by the Dozen and Parenthood. And there's no explaining his participation in the jaw-droppingly racist Bringing Down the House. Steve was once a wild and crazy guy, and his early films, The Jerk, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, and The Man with Two Brains, reflect that persona. Perhaps Steve spent too long working at Disneyland in his youth, because he's played things pretty safe for a long time now.

1. Jeff Bridges

This might seem like an odd choice, and it's definitely too late in the day for him to switch agents, but it seems to me Jeff could have had a much more spectacular career. He's possibly the best actor of his generation, but somehow he's never got the big hit or the big role. His agent certainly tried. Bridges got the lead roles in films that were supposed to be big, like King Kong, Starman, Tron and Heaven's Gate, but they all turned out to be different flavours of turkey. Take a moment to imagine if Jeff had had Harrison Ford's agent. Jeff Bridges as Han Solo? as Indiana Jones? Those films would all have been even better with Bridges on board. In fact, most any big film of the 1970s and '80s would, in my opinion, would have been better with him in it. It could even be a drinking game: you and your friends name any random quality film from the last 40 years, and if a majority agrees that the film would be even better with Bridges at the top of the bill then everyone downs a shot. You'll be falling down drunk in no time.


Sue Dunham said...

Geena's problem was her husband, Renny Harlin, directed those 2 movies.

Cary Watson said...

You're right. What a bastard.