Friday, May 2, 2008

An Actress' Take

I apologize to those who find it tiresome to read articles that dredge up the past but my schedule hasn’t allowed me to write many blog articles since last year, and Urban Myths has been gracious enough to provide me with an opportunity to do so once again no matter how “old” the material (thanks UM!) So, if you’ll humor me for just a moment, I’d like to share my thoughts on an aspect of the entertainment industry that is related to the subject(s) of this blog.

First, I’d like to clear up a misconception about those of us who choose to have a career as an actor/actress. Keep in mind that while we do choose our careers we do not choose to be “famous”. No one can choose that. It either happens to you or it doesn’t and whether it does or not, is beyond your control. Contrary to popular belief, most of us (albeit, not all, but a lot) just want to be actors – not stars - and yes, there is a difference. So, when discussions about tabloids and paparazzi take place, it annoys me to hear people say we “ask for it”. That is like saying that the victim of a mugging “asked for it” because they left the house with their wallet. We do not ask for photographers to hide in our bushes, climb our trees, stake out our houses, or follow us to gyms, coffee shops, doctor appointments, etc. No one asks for that. If you ask me, the whole paparazzi thing is legalized stalking. There is a line there somewhere but it has been crossed so many times that no one really knows where it is anymore.

However, to be in this business, to stay, and to succeed in it, there are things about it that we must learn to accept – like them or not. No matter why any of us gets into this business, it is well-known that if we achieve a certain level of success, people will “want to know” and the paparazzi and the media will follow us, take our pictures and ask us questions that we may not want to answer. This is not our doing. This is society’s doing. We cannot help the way the industry is. We have no control over the public’s insatiable need to know about things that are none of their business, their lack of sensitivity, or their lack of respect for our privacy. We do however, have control over how we deal with it.

I will grant you that some paparazzi will, at times, intentionally antagonize in order to get you to cooperate or act out so they can get a shot. And even when they are on they’re best behavior, they can be pretty annoying. And sometimes you just want to be left alone – period. However, I would be remiss if I blamed only the paparazzi because you see, it is not just their fault. There are celebrities that do indeed create their own problems where this issue is concerned.

There are the obvious Don’ts of course: Don’t act out or cause a scene; Don’t use profanity or flip the bird; Don’t show up at a well-known celebrity hang-out; Don’t “leak” information about where you will be, when you will be there and who you’re with; Don’t go into detail about your private life in interviews; and above all, just don’t make a big deal out of anything – the more you try to hide something, the harder they will try to find it out. If you act like it is no big deal, then it ceases to be one.

Please do not misunderstand…I am in no way suggesting celebrities should not ever leave the house, run errands, exercise outside of their homes, go out to dinner or try to have some fun. However, when you do these things, you know that you will most likely encounter paparazzi or two. So, just don’t do any of the “Don’ts”, don’t make a big deal, and just come & go. It really is that simple.

When you do not want to “deal with it”, then don’t deal with it…if you encounter them despite sticking to the “Don’ts”, then just ignore them. They’ll snap a pic or two and if you don’t react, eventually they’ll be on their way.

As someone who works in this business, I can tell you that I do understand how Nicole & Keith feel at times and why they may appear to be camera shy on some occasions. It is not at all pleasant to be stalked. It sucks. It’s intrusive and kind of creepy and after a while, it does get to you. Unfortunately, it isn’t going to change and as unfair as it may be, we just have to suck it up and deal with it.

When Nicole Kidman’s bodyguard/driver/trainer/friend, assaulted a photographer, there was a lot of “to-do” about whose fault it was. Some feel that the photographer got what he deserved. However, from what I saw, it appeared to be an unprovoked and violent attack. The photographer was not in her face, not chasing her, not antagonizing her…just sitting in his car. And just so we are clear, this guy is Nicole’s employee and that does make her partially responsible because he was acting on her behalf.

It is exactly this kind of behavior that enables the “you asked for it” attitude. Especially when you are one of the many celebrities who do, in fact, set up photo ops and leak whereabouts. Because when you do that, you set a precedent.

Nicole Kidman set that precedent 2 years ago at the beginning of this relationship and has encouraged it ever since. Does that mean the paparazzi should be able to stalk her at all times? No. But nor does it mean her “bodyguards” should be attacking photographers. Photographers, who btw, she gives beer to when she wants her pictures all over the tabloids so the entire world knows when, where and to whom she is marrying; photographers she poses for when she wants the public to know how together, happy and in love she and her husband are.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t leak you’re your whereabouts & stage photo ops on one day and then tell them to F-Off when you’re not in the mood on the other.

There is a balance here. Many celebrities have found it. It is not achieved by beating up photographers…just ask Sean Penn how well that worked for him and his image.

If Nicole is sick of being followed everywhere – and I honestly don’t blame her, I would be too - then maybe she should start practicing some of the “Don’ts” above…they work.


maclen said...

The movie industry was established in Hollywood, according to wikipedia, in early 1910, which would make it almost 100 yrs old. And the idea that people who decide to seriously try and delve into that business are simply not aware of what it may or might entail is pretty laughable. Now, I'm pretty sure that this "actress' take" may just be a satire by Urban Myths ... or an actual letter from a actress..I'm not sure... but the points of it are certainly worth discussing. It's simply an excuse to claim when you are being too intruded on that you were not interested in being a "star" but an "actor" so you should be left alone... or that you should be able to decide what you want to reveal... I'm not saying it shouldnt be the case, I'm saying that is the reality. To claim in 2008 or the 1990s.. or 1980s..etc... that you were not aware that you would be scrutinized in tabs, gossip sites or stalked by the paparatz if you were able to land that blockbuster movie, or hit tv show, or hit song is too disengenous. Unless of course you never watched tv, or listend to the radio or dont surf the web today. If people are not wise enough to know the consequenses of getting into a business... "I wanted to get into the coal mining business because it is a very popular commodity to the entire world, but I never realized the health hazzards of coal inhalation, or shaft collapes before I got into it!... if people even today arent aware or intelligent enough to be aware of the consequences of wanting to be a "celeb" they should maybe consider warning labels for the "obvious" impared.

doublewide said...

good blog.....and coming from a whole different perspective. just cements what i have suspected of NK from the git go.

doublewide said...

oh, and she should have been held accountable for the pap beating incident....but she paid that one off. and don't anybody tell me she didn' died.

bstnactrs said... is my blog and it is not a satire. Go back and read it again - I think you may have misinterpreted. My points are the same ones you make in your response. LOL.

The only thing I will add is that my point about being "stars" is not meant to be taken as an excuse after the fact...if you will note, I do say that no matter why we choose to be in this business, we DO know this will happen if we reach a certain level of success.

However, not all of us strive to reach that level - that is the misconception...that when I say "I want to be an actress" I mean I want to be a "star"...that is not necessarily true.

If it happens, it happens, certainly I am not going to turn down any amazing opportunities, but I do not have to be as famous as Nicole Kidman to feel that I have been successful as an actress. Does that make sense?

White Trash said...

Since I don't know whether you indeed are an actress or not, I will take your word. I think your points are extremely valid.

Good post!

It's really a two-sided coin with the media today. While the gossip and tabloid fodder have gotten extremely out of hand due to the wide spread ability to push a rumor or story across the internet Paps are becoming much more aggressive with celebrities so you find the celebrity stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they shun the media, they only get taunted more, but if they go along with the media and actually set up interviews and staged photo ops to combat the constant hounding of the press, the public perceive them as trying to keep their face in the public eye.

I don't know how I would handle the fame, if I were in the limelight...not sure I could.

maclen said...

bstnactrs said...
" is my blog and it is not a satire. Go back and read it again - I think you may have misinterpreted. My points are the same ones you make in your response. LOL."

Yeah, I did agree with your final summation bstnactrs, I just wanted to give my take on the whole celebrity phenomenon, and how it it is handled by the few who recieve the highest levels of attention. I was addressing my comments to them. I certainly believe there are alot more people who are simply working actors, and content to just be that and not, as you say, desperately want to be "superstars at any cost. I was talking about those people who when they are not "famous" will court the media, and then when they happen to land the big blockbuster or hit show, they complain about the media then suddenly "getting in their way....again I'm not saying thats how it should be, Im saying that is the reality of the business... and the business is they'll use the media and the media will use them. Unless of course the new celeb's fame fizzles and you get the cycle repeating itself... and it creates kidman's.

bstnactrs said...

maclean - I got ya! And ITA.

banbotox said...

Good blog-different perspective from what we've been exposed to from kidman.
Thank you.
Helps to know that there are those that can really act and don't need to pimp out their faux private lives to keep themselves in the press.

getaholdofurself said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
notachance said...

While I agree somewhat with your blog bstnactrs, I do think there's a big difference between those who act because it's truly their calling, or even just their part-time passion, and those that head to Hollywood in search of "THE big break" that gives them fame & fortune - so maclen's assessment of "they got what they were asking for" rings true.

And what a nice, welcomed change of topic!

getaholdofurself said...

good blog! while no one can fully understand until they're in it, i tend to agree that if your objective is celebrity/fame, you have an idea of what you're getting yourself into today.

"If Nicole is sick of being followed everywhere – and I honestly don’t blame her, I would be too - then maybe she should start practicing some of the “Don’ts” above…they work."

isn't this a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out?

CJ said...

Nicole was fired from promoting Chanel #5. Guess she's too old and frozen to model anymore.

isitoveryet said...

I have a gut feeling she was involuntarily released from The Reader as well.