Comics Creators

Why movie stars got replaced by corporate brands...


This is amazing and yes I know I’m 10 years behind discovering this show now…

…but I saw the most interesting point made on the Burt Reynolds/ Dom DeLuise/ Charles Durning episode by an old actor called Charles Nelson Reilly. He talks about movie stars and how they can’t be impersonated anymore because nobody really sounds distinctive. Think about it: He says Bogie and Bacall, Jimmy Stewart, Brando, Jimmy Cagney and all these guys were immediately recognisable by their ticks and delivery, but nobody can impersonate Keannu Reeves or Julia Roberts. It’s especially fascinating because he has the most incredible answer for why this is the case.

I won’t spoil it because his delivery is so bang-on, but check this out at 5:00 and suddenly we realise why the movie stars got replaced by corporate brands like Batman and Lord of the Rings in the 90s:



While I see the point, it’s not difficult to do a Keanu Reeves impression.


Really interesting video - totally agree with most of the points.
RE: Keanu…


That’s interesting. So people today all act the same because they have no theatre background? I’ve actually heard the opposite more than once, that today’s actors, especially the ones from the UK, all act the same because they all have the same theatrical training (and to a lesser degree, the same posh background).


His point about impersonators is fascinating. Who would recognise 90% of movie stars after 1990?

Everyone has same ripped body type too as opposed to huge or tiny frames and all those different shapes of the 30s/ 40s especially.



It all sounds like a “back in my day” moan. There are plenty of people who still do actor impersonation. I just watched the Tony Awards last night and there were plenty of film actors who were also nominated for stage awards including Millarworld film alum Mark Strong and the infamous Man of Steel actor Michael Shannon. So his main points are a bit baseless.


I agree with you. The back in the day moan is strong with this one.

I do think the concept of movie star is over. First we got way to much movies than 15 years ago. A movie doesn’t stay months in the theaters like they used to. Second, if an actor is big, Hollywood will milk it so hard by putting him in every goddamn flick, so that after 5 years everybody grows tired of him or her. Third, the rise of youtube celebrities and social media ones that are now bigger than actors had a huge impact.

Same with film directors. Names as Spielberg, Zemeckis and so on don’t matter. No one is waiting for the next “insert director name”. Hell, I’m a director and haven’t give a toss about who directed this and that. Except for Tarantino and Wright. But they are author directors which is a whole different thing.

The world is changing as always. Nothing wrong with that.

And Keanu is such an amazing actor. Speed, Walk in the clouds, Point break, Matrix, Bill and Ted and so on. He might not please a few folks but he has something going on and his filmography proves it. An actor that arrives at that stage is not an actor that cannot act. You cannot carry a movie and a shit load more by being a shit actor.


There is a two word answer to why movie star were replaced by corporate brands - Foreign markets.

Who cares what Keanu/Afflect/Vin Diesel sounds like if he’s going to be dubbed anyway?





Other point - communications. The Nineties saw homogenization. The internet. Cell phones. Bald guys with goatees. Radio started it. TV defined it. The net killed it.

So many trying to do an Oz accent didn’t help, either.


I think, if you’re a director, you’re in the minority for not waiting for the next [insert director name here]. Everyone INSIDE these industries is very much plugged into who is producing brilliant work. I’ve done a little work in film, as a writer, and I can absolutely say that I follow directors first and foremost, because they have the most authorial impact.

I’ll see an Aronofsky anything. I’ll see a Lanthimos anything. I’ll see a Paolo Sorrentino anything. I’ll see an Iñárritu anything.

Again, all of these trends are becoming more and more true for the greater public PERHAPS, but even that I think is overstated – with a few exceptions, franchises have always dominated. I didn’t see HOME ALONE because Chris Columbus or John Hughs were involved. I didn’t see Independence Day because of Emmerich, or the Rock because of Bay. I saw Lion King because of the Disney brand.

Directors, especially, have always been for harder core audiences. And I think that continues.


Neither of those are generally lead actors though. Strong plays the villain or support in any film.

I do accept the point that they can be comparatively bland nowadays. I can’t right now even remember the name of that bloke who got to headline Avatar and Terminator.


I think if the public really believed directors don’t matter people wouldn’t have spent the last three years taking a dump on Zack Snyder’s head.


You said it yourself: in the industry people are interested in who is producing it.

Exactly. Producing it. Apart from a few director, I couldnt see the difference between most of them. Now is way more importing who is producing it than directing it.

Lets take the Edgar Wright example with Antman. Man worked years on the movie and had is vision but the producers wanted a mainstream hero flick fitting the MU. And we know what happened.

Same story happens more and more.

Anyway my point was that most people outside the industry dont give a toss about who is directing a film, specially the newer generations.

Also you never saw The Rock? It’s a masterpiece man! A masterpiece. Sean bloody Connery. Sean Connery.


The public or fandom/film geeks?

I doubt the majority of any of these audiences could tell you who the director was if it wasn’t Spielberg. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter, they run the show and define a good movie or bad but I doubt it ever matters significantly whether most people go to see a film or not.


The lead in Avatar was a blue CGI thing and Christian Bale was the lead in Terminator: Salvation. The actor that had the two in common wasn’t really the lead in either.

Also, are you familiar with actors from the era that the guy in the video is referencing though or is this your own “back in my day” moan? :wink:


You have actors like Daniel Day Lewis whose Method Acting is joked about but not the actor. His characters may be impersonated but not him.

I think in many cases, the old guard actors were essentially playing themselves in almost all their roles. Maybe today’s actors are trying to become the characters they play and go beyond themselves.


I remember Bale lost his shit on the set of Terminator. What batshit crazy against the DOP.

If he had acted liked he had that fit the movie would have gotten an oscar. :stuck_out_tongue:


I agree with this. It essentially runs counter to the supposition in the video that the problem is skill and experience based.


Very much so. I can remember Humphrey Bogart’s name.

You guys seem a bit confused by the difference between lead actors and character actors, the same as when the last round of this conversation went around. “Oh Michael Caine is great”, yes he is, he plays the butler.