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LEADING MAN REDUX





At the end of his GQ magazine article, ”The New and Improved Leading Man”, Mark Harris asks the question about the movie “Magic Mike”, “Remember the other guy in the movie? You know, the young guy who played...you know, the Guy? What’s his name?“ Well Mark we do.   AdamRodriquez. Joe Mangniello. These two gorgeous and talented actors should be bona fide Movie Stars.  The most important rule of being a leading man is best described in “Bambi vs. Godzilla” by the venerable David Mamet, “These men, and their performances, are characterized by the absence of the desire to please. On screen, they don’t have anything to prove, and so we are extraordinarily drawn to them. They are not sensitive: they are not antiheroes; they are to use a historic term, “he-men”. How refreshing.” Today’s movie going audiences have seen real men in the media, 9/11 first responders and Seal Team Six. John Wayne and Cary Grant were molded by a studio system but you believed they could lead a posse or sweep a woman off her feet (literally). Later Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Gregory Peck studied acting at the New York schools (Meisner, Strasberg, Adler) on GI Bills and probably know the price of eggs, butter and gas. A seasoned actor’s work is enthused with his life experience and the audience can relate to his authenticity. I feel that’s what is lacking in the current crop. I don’t see any reason they can’t have long careers too. In “Adventures in the Screen Trade” William Goldman derides the list mentality while casting “Misery” and how the delicious Richard Gere has successfully defied the peak shelf life logic and continues to do so (“American Gigolo”, “Pretty Woman” Arbitrage”). 
Actors have bills like everyone else so there's nothing wrong with a nice payday from a big franchise film or blockbuster and a nice cushion to explore indie film roles.  My question is does Hollywood have to remake the same three authors and franchises every ten years. The New York Times bestseller list is rampant with excellent books by authors Pelecanos, Carcaterra, Quinonez and Mosley.  How about “Meet John Doe”, “Evil Roy Slade” give Kate Hudson a call and remake her mom’s movie, “The Duchess and The Dirt Water Fox”. Adam would be great as Miguel Melendez of The Young Lords”. For the production cost of “John Carter” Disney could have produced five movies. So having said my piece I’m going to have myself a Magnum ice cream bar.


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