Tuesday, 9 October 2007
When the fat cats and big wigs of Hollywood get together for their annual meeting these days, it seems they spend most of their time deciding which actor they can squeeze the life out of this year. Colin Farrell, Jake Gylenhall and Jamie Foxx all had their moments, as chosen by the executives at the top of Hollywood ladder. However, the time has now come to choose a new star.
I’d like to think they’d sit in a cave on top of the Hollywood hills, in ceremonial robes, circling a crystal ball and asking ‘the spirits’ for an answer. In reality, using the latest viewing polls may provide the more accurate answer they’re looking for, and satisfy some of the shareholders at the same time. Whichever method they decided to use, one man has come out on top.
For the past year cinema audiences have been bombarded with the performances of English actor, Clive Owen (above), Hollywood’s latest chosen one. Disaster movies, shoot-‘em-ups (including the ingeniously named Shoot ‘Em Up), epic adventures and even this years movie about Queen Elizabeth have all been fodder for Clive.
The technique that Clive adopts in tackling each of his varied and frequent roles is ‘the English middle-class white male method’. Middle-class white males, in truth, have developed this unique performance method for the past couple of decades, by retaining an air of uncaring blandness and remaining polite throughout. The trick is to not become intense or in any way emotional at any moment, thereby fading into the background and not causing any fuss. Clive fits the bill perfectly.
Ignoring his ‘English middle-class white male method’ Hollywood producers have been handing Clive some of their top roles. He’s applied his unique dullness to great historical figures such as King Arthur and brought his essence of un-cool to Sin City. More recently when the need was felt for yet another film about Queen Elizabeth, the usual rabble of lovies and ‘heavyweight’ actors were gathered together. The character of Sir Walter Raleigh, notable throughout history for his charismatic charm and wit, was handed to the reliably wooden Clive Owen.
He’s currently filming The International in which he plays an Interpol agent attempting to expose a high-profile finance group. Add that to the Sin City sequel planned for 2009 and Clive already has a busy agenda. Hollywood and therefore audiences clearly like this guy, and intend to further his career even more.
On a good note for Clive he was nominated for an Oscar for his lead in Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men in 2006. It’s a standout performance on a CV that’s rapidly running out of space as he excelled in a role for the first time since Croupier in 1998. I can only presume that Hollywood and its audiences are still clinging to that memory, which for me faded rapidly when I saw his appearance in the Elizabeth trailer.
Perhaps he’s secretly holding some talent back that he’ll bring to the screen with astonishing effect in his next few films. If that isn’t the case then hopefully it’ll be my face that shows up on the crystal ball at the next meeting, as I’ve already mastered the technique that Clive has so marvellously displayed for the last year.