To effectively stake their claim in the wild, animals spray their urine on trees, plants, and patches of ground surrounding their desired territory. The acting community uses a similar tactic to nab roles, swapping out pee for a well-timed red carpet quote.
In the jungle of Hollywood, landing a major part is a survival of the fittest competition. Even the men and women at the top of the food chain have to leave their mark.
Bradley Cooper is the latest actor to enter into the tricky world of public role campaigning, connecting himself to an upcoming Lance Armstrong biopic produced by J.J. Abrams. Unlike a cougar tinkling on a nearby bush, slipping casting suggestions into the swirling rumor pool is a subtle art.
Cooper originally told the BBC that he would love to play the controversial biker, only later to state that he wasn't even aware that Abrams was producing a film based on the athlete's life. Unfortunately, the matter complicated itself for Cooper when Abrams revealed at the Producer's Guild Awards that Cooper had sent him a personal e-mail regarding the movie. Cooper may insist he's not chasing the part, but you can bet the other A-List badgers smell his scent all over it.
RELATED: Bradley Cooper Wants To Play Lance Armstrong: Why He's Perfect
When it comes to publicly courting roles, it's all about recognizability. Actors and actresses aren't making a big to-do about nabbing the the lead in a drug addiction indie film or the most recent adaptation of that 18th century novel everyone read in high school. No, they want the part audiences have already heard of; in Hollywood, that's either the biopic or the superhero blockbuster.
Thanks to the wonders of Internet, speculative campaigning can spread like wildfire. Rihanna says she wants to play Whitney Houston in a non-existent biopic instantly begins fueling the idea of Rihanna playing Whitney Houston in a biopic.
Last year, Drake told the NY Post that he'd love to play Obama. He was even preparing for the role, one that no one is asking him to take on. "I watch all the addresses. Any time I see him on TV, I don't change the channel. I definitely pay attention and listen to the inflections of his voice. If you ask anyone who knows me, I’m pretty good at impressions."
The self-campaigning doesn't end at mere suggestion. To put himself in front of F. Gary Gray's eyes in hopes of landing the lead in the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, up-and-comer Ephraim Benton filmed a 13-minute video where he impersonates the group's frontman Eazy E. Will it work? Or rather, is it good enough to help his chances?
Attempting to spin exposure into a real life audition rarely works. Most memorably was Sean Young's failed attempts at courting Tim Burton to cast her as Catwoman in Batman Returns.
After being cast as Vicki Vale in the original Batman and losing the role after a horse riding incident, it was Young's prerogative to rejoin the franchise. She even dressed up in costume and making the media rounds to catch Burton's attention. Here she is discussing the role on Joan Rivers' talk show in 1992:
With comic book movies dominating the multiplexes, it's no surprise that famous faces continue to publicly declare themselves fans of caped crusaders in hopes of sparking interest in their casting.
RELATED: Lance Armstrong Confesses to Doping — Could He Face a Perjury Charge?
In 2011, at the height of Marvel fever (and a year out from Avengers), Patrick Dempsey told the LA Times he was anxious to take the lead in a proposed Doctor Strange film. “I’ve been lobbying for that. There’s a whole bunch of people [among the Grey's crew] who are into comics and Marvel, too, on the set and they’re like, ‘Doctor Strange, that’s the one you should do.’ It would be fantastic."
The movie has been teased as a potential post-Avengers 2 project — will Dempsey still be marketable by 2016? Joining the actor in his Marvel praise is Friday Night Lights and Hart of Dixie star Scott Porter, who he recently threw himself into the ring for the role of Nova in Guardians of the Galaxy. He may not get his wish, as the character was not even included in Marvel's announced line-up. That's serious display of ambition on Porter's part.
Some actors go the extra step. Isaiah Mustafa, aka the "Old Spice commercial guy," was so driven to bring Marvel's genetically enhanced hero Luke Cage to screen, he went ahead and used his deodorant money to fund a fake trailer for the movie. Now, casting agents know what Mustafa looks like with glowing eyes:
Hung star Thomas Jane was vocal about his diehard passion for comic books and The Punisher character before taking on the role in the 2004 adaptation. So it's not surprising that when he wasn't asked to return for the sequel, 2008's Punisher: War Zone, he left with a chip on his shoulder.
Hoping to prove himself Hollywood's one and only Punisher, Jane reprised the character in a self-produced short film that he premiered under the radar at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. The film boldly tells Hollywood to screw themselves... but also to consider rehiring him for a new Punisher feature.
This isn't to say that publicly campaigning for a coveted role never works. Monday may have been an example of the strategic move blowing up in one actor's face, but it also proved that it can work in the right hands. In 2011, Paul Giamatti told Conan O'Brien that he was dying to star in a Spider-Man movie as the over-the-top villain The Rhino.
RELATED: Andrew Garfield on 'Spider-Man' Costume Changes, Superhero Responsibilities
Late Monday afternoon, we confirmed that Giamatti's wish has indeed been granted: the actor will suit up for Amazing Spider-Man 2. Giamatti is one Hollywood wolf who knows how to mark his territory... proving once and for all that rhino urine leaves the harshest stench.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: WENN]
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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
The Grey's Anatomy producers seem to be getting smarter. With monikers like McDreamy and McSteamy, the medical drama, entering its eighth season on September 22, makes no large effort to hide the fact that it has a very specific target demographic: people who like to look at handsome guys. Early on next season, they will be taking full advantage of this: creator Shonda Rhimes announced an "all boys episode."
This is not exactly to be taken literally: the female castmembers will appear in the episode. However, the males will command the vast majority of the screen time, plot and development, including a sharing stake of the episode's narration.
Of course, none of this is to suggest that this is purely an aesthetically-charged ratings booster. It is always respectable to shift the focus onto different characters; it was always interesting, at the very least, when Scrubs (also a voiced-over medical series... but with more jumping) experimented with it. Few other details have been released about this male-centric episode, other than that it will revolve around an accident at a Comic-Con festival of sorts. We're expecting patients dressed like Game of Thrones characters.