Friday, January 18, 2013

British Invasion (Part 2?)

Thanks to this amazing blogger, I encountered this tidbit from BBC Radio about the plethora of British actors in Hollywood right now. Give it a listen if you've got the time; it's only a little over a minute and a half of audio.

I think Stephen Frears makes a really interesting point about a crisis in Hollywood right now. While I am a fangirl with an inclination towards British actors, there are also A LOT of British actors getting attention right now... well, there have been for a while, but it seems like there's a great resurgence. Tom Hiddleston, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch - this trio of awesome has been getting a lot of buzz this year for their films. And let's not forget that actors like Daniel Day-Lewis and Damian Lewis both won Golden Globes for their performances (Day-Lewis for Lincoln, Lewis for the TV show Homeland... wait, both of their last names are Lewis... weird...) I also think Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson (especially Emma Watson - on my God, Perks of Being a Wallflower... feels) are a new generation of actors to keep an eye on. And Andrew Garfield and Eddie Redmayne, of course. Plus I think once Robert Pattinson gets away from Twilight, he's capable of total awesomeness. And there's Rachel Weiss (man, I'm so bummed that The Deep Blue Sea didn't get more award buzz) and Daniel Craig and Ewan McGregor and Tom Hardy and Alan Rickman and Colin Firth and Gary Oldman... hey, you know what would be easier? Listing the American actors I really like.

Also, all British actors seem to know each other. What the heck is this all about? (
I mean, I love actors like Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr... the list could go on but I'm running out of people coming off the top of my head and honestly, you get the point. But when asked who my favorite actors are, over half of them are from across the pond and those actors from across the pond come more readily to mind. Which I think is interesting, considering I'm surrounded by American cinema and media culture, which is more focused (as it would be) on American actors.

Apparently I've discussed stuff of this nature before (I'm getting to the point where I've forgotten what I've written about and what I haven't. Oh no), albeit in slightly different context. I think I avoided talking about this directly before because I don't want to come across as saying that one country's actors are better than anothers. I do, however, think they're different. I don't exactly know what it is, but they're different. And I mean that for European acting as a whole. Christoph Waltz and Daniel Bruhl and Gerard Depardieu are just different from American actors. I can't really say how or why. They just are.
Maybe it has something to do with different acting styles. "Method acting" seems to be pretty big in the States and I don't know if how its taught here is different than elsewhere in the world. And honestly, I don't know much about other acting styles outside of "the Method." And according to the Wiki article, both Leo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis use "the Method." So nix that idea.

Maybe it has something to do with different sorts of training. I mean, a lot of British actors get their start in theater, especially the theaters of London, while I feel like like often actors here catch their break on TV or film and then might go to theater, as theater seems pretty separated from the film industry in the States. But then again, this doesn't seem quite right either. Lots of American actors begin in theater, like Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman. But it does seem like maybe more Americans start in film and crossover to theater, whereas British actors start in theater then crossover to film, though both continue to do theater throughout their careers.

Maybe it has something to do with the parts British actors are given. I mean, a lot of British actors are cast as villains. AND VILLAINS ARE JUST SO COOL (ahem... sorry about my enthusiasm. But more about that in a later post). But not every single British actor currently acting has played a villain. So...

I don't know. It just seems like a lot of the big, break-out stars are British. It's not that there's no big break-outs from Americans; it just seems like there's a lot of Brits. And then when make fun of them at awards shows (which is getting old; stop it, award shows) because we're totally baffled by it. 

Yeah, I got nothing else. This is still a mystery to me and will continue to be a mystery. Any further thoughts on this are, as always, welcomed and appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. So this post needs a rebuttal from yours truly because, as I was discussing with my friend Paulina, I made a rather large oversight here. It should be kept in mind that America pretty much owns the film industry in the world and Britain is sort of meshing and working together with it, while other countries have much smaller film industries and are far removed from the Hollywood scene. Thus, when I say that I can't name very many of my favorite actors who are American, that is actually incorrect because I can name a lot just compared to the number of big film actors that come from other countries. Apologies for this - at times something right beneath your nose can be easily overlooked just because it's so obvious. Total rookie mistake on my part - but I'm good at making mistakes and I almost always learning something from them, so no harm, no foul :D