Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Actresses Behaving Badly

I'm sorry. I admit that I don't know her personally at all. And I also don't have any idea what it must be like to have the public laser-focused on pretty much every single move that I make. Nor can I imagine how hard it might be not to be able to run to the grocery store or sit in a restaurant or see a movie without people approaching me and bothering me all the time. I'm sure being famous has many drawbacks.

But I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Kristen Stewart needs a serious attitude adjustment.

Warning: what follows after the cut is a rant, so if you are a serious fan, you may want to back away slowly.

I've always thought of KStew as a bit off. Last year when the Twilight movie rocketed onto the world stage, she seemed clearly pained to find herself in the middle of a media firestorm, the sudden focus of every female in the world aged 11 through 60 plus all of those people who have ever met or had anything to do with a female aged 11 through 60. She winced and stuttered her way through media appearances and played the part of Shy Artiste to Oscar-caliber levels. Text book deer in the headlights reaction.

And I gave her a pass. Poor girl had no concept of what sudden fame might be like. She's only a kid after all, and maybe she needed some time to get used to being a Movie Star. I get that. No problem. Even though she'd chosen to be an actor, a profession that could conceivably lead to fame thus setting up at least a certain level of expectation when one shows up to star in a movie based on a hugely popular book series, we'll chalk this one up to "Wow, who knew?"

But this time around? Sorry, but she's worn out the magnetic strip on that particular card from swiping it too many times. Anyone out there who is honestly shocked by the amount of attention New Moon is getting must seriously live in a place that doesn't have wide spread electricity. KStew has had a full year to prepare for the media gauntlet she knew she would be facing come this fall. And she's had ample time to get her mad interviewing skilz up to snuff. She's not a rookie any more, and just like all pros, she should have been working out in the off season in prep for the Big Games.

However, from what I've seen so far (and I've seen a lot, believe me), Kristen Stewart has not grown one inch as a professional Movie Star since the last time she dominated every media outlet known to mankind. She's as awkward and uncomfortable and inarticulate in interviews today as she was a year ago, as if being put in front of a camera is causing her physical pain. But because she's no longer a fresh face coming off a runaway surprise hit, this time around she appears arrogant and rude and ungrateful rather than shy and awkward and charmingly befuddled.

And it's not just on camera that the girl leaves a bad impression. I just read EW's cover story on the Twilight Trio (Robert Pattinson, Stewart, and Taylor Lautner), and by the end of the interview I was scowling in disgust. She's a Mean Girl! From the article:
EW: You guys [Pattinson, Stewart and Lautner] are lucky. You clearly all dig each other.
[Taylor] Lautner: The amount of time we have to spend with each other-if I didn't like these two, it would be exhausting.
Stewart: And there's all these people that we as a group don't like. So if we didn't like each other to...
[Robert] Pattinson: What are you talking about?
Stewart: This group (pointing at their trio) doesn't like certain individuals outside of it. That gets so wearing on a movie if you don't have...You need to have people who get it, and that are in your position.
Now,  I'm not saying that just because she's famous that Stewart has to like everybody. It just seems fairly obvious that admitting in an article published in a very ubiquitous entertainment magazine that there are people outside her little clique that she doesn't like is pretty impolitic. Actually, admitting to anybody that you consider yourself part of a special clique that excludes virtually everyone else in the universe is pretty stupid even if you aren't famous. It's a lesson hard learned by second graders on playgrounds everywhere, but nobody likes popular people who actually buy into their own popularity even if we can't deny that they are popular.

Too, you would think that someone on Stewart's publicity team - her agent, publicist, the movie studio wranglers, the janitor who sweeps the set - might point out that, given that the largest-by-far portion of her fanbase is made of teenage and preteen girls, the following is not something you want to see printed in a magazine no matter how true it might be (again, from the EW article):
EW: How are you all coping with living in a fishbowl? (snip)
Stewart: I don't mind working every day. It's just, suddenly I have this other role. And that's really disappointing. All I'd like to do is go outside with a book and figure out what to do with the day. And if I can't do that, then I'm just going to sit in my hotel room on my balcony and chain smoke. (Pauses) I'm going to stop smoking. I'm not such a good smoker, anyway. It's not in my bones. I'm gonna drop it.
Sorry but the backpedal is just a smidge too little too late. Way to be a role model, Kristen.

I think what gets me the most, however, is the first half of that remark wherein she expressed disappointment in having to be a movie star. Clearly, Kristen hates - HATES - that being famous means that she has given up her privacy. I'm sure many if not most actors feel the same as she does, frustrated and angry that along with the money and fame comes a sense that the public falsely believes that it now owns every aspect of that person's life. Yeah, that does gotta suck. But the difference between KStew and all of those other actors is that she lets the public know how much she resents us for her current situation. She's actually pissed off about it - publicly. Like she just found out that she's responsible for cleaning all of the pit toilets after the Woodstock 2010 reunion and was never told this was part of the gig.

And this is where any sympathy for her dries up like a leaf off the tree. Kristen Stewart made a conscious choice to become an actor. She chose as her profession a job that puts her in the center of the public spotlight, success in said profession being defined as achieving fame to the degree of  appearing in movies that people actually want to see. To now turn around and whine that it really sucks to have to put up with people looking at her and asking her questions and wanting to know all about her life is a lot like an obstetrician complaining because he has to get out of bed in the middle of the night to deliver a baby.

If dealing with the media as part of the publicity for her films is too hard for the girl, she needs to find another form of acting. If she's all about the art without any of the annoying fame stuff, there are other ways to express her creativity. She should try Broadway as I don't believe the folks in Cats ever had to endure media junkets. Or perhaps the local community theater? Puppet shows at my public library have been known to bring in crowds of up to twenty, but I swear I've never seen a single photographer  or reporter from EW there.

If it's the fame and the fans and the constant attention that chaps her ass, then she needs to think about working behind the camera or walking away from movies altogether. At the very least, she should stick with those obscure indie flicks that aren't based on internationally best selling novels since those pesky Harry Potter books have virtually ruined the industry for all literary adaptations as far as remaining anonymous after starring in them.

In short, get over it or get out of the business.

Because in the end, nothing irritates me more than a whinging Movie Star. Poor me. I've got a career that thousands of young women would give their eye teeth and more to have. At only nineteen years old I've made more money than most people will make in their entire lifetime of work, and that during a crippling economic environment in which people are losing jobs and homes like empty gum wrappers. I'm starring in an insanely successful movie franchise with two of the hottest young actors on the planet (even though my acting skills are still questionable at this point (see: hospital scene of Twilight)). I'm empirically beautiful with a long career ahead of me, my face on virtually every magazine cover on the newstands, and reporters clawing at the chance to interview me.

And nobody forced me to do any of this - I chose to be an actor all by myself and managed to get very, very lucky in an industry where only the tiniest fraction of people ever manage to make a living much less achieve pop star icon status.

Yeah, boo-flipping-hoo. She has to do interviews and deal with over-interested fans? Cry me a river.

I'm not the only one who finds KStew off-putting. CNN has even noticed.

My advice to Kristen, who will never read this in a million years? Hire yourself a personality coach who will teach you how to fake it. Someone who can show you how to act gracious and formulate coherent answers to fairly straightforward questions that get asked so often you should know the lines by heart by now. Someone who will help you master basic body language cues like smiling and not hugging yourself and rocking back and forth in an attempt to self-comfort through your obvious distaste so that you don't appear like a snobbish Hollywood starlet who is clearly above the pedestrian trash who buys tickets to your movies. These are certainly achievable goals as evidence by the dozens of young stars who manage to come across as genuinely nice people.

Or, since you are an actor by trade, just throw yourself into the role of a young movie star who really loves her job and appreciates the fans and is so very grateful for such an amazing opportunity. Go crazy method and pretend to enjoy every minute of this thrill ride instead of constantly looking as if you were about to undergo a root canal. Pretend this character has the wisdom to know that today's superstar is tomorrow's has-been and thus takes nothing for granted.

Then get in front of those cameras and act your little heart out. Us fans are quite fine if you save your true personality for those people that you do like.

I'm not the only one who thinks this.

1 comment:

MissFifi said...

Well put. If you hate it, leave it, though wonders what would she actually do then? It does suck having strangers pine for you and dying to just breathe your air, but it is part of the job and actors have known this for decades