Saturday, May 4, 2013
Due to my crazy week, this is my first day of posting since Jason Collin's announcement hit the news. Although pretty much everything has been said, I felt the need to add my two cents...
As readers of FH know, I am not a fan of celebrities who go on the cover of magazines to proclaim being gay, or anything really about themselves. Although I respect every ones choice to come out as they wish, personally, I respect the quieter way celebrities like Matthew Bomer have chosen to come out without a lot of muss and fuss. It seems more organic and natural. Most celebrities who require a ticker tape parade to announce anything on the cover of People Magazine are usually as interested in promotion as they are the news. I look forward to the day when the phrase 'coming out' joins 'record player', 'tomfoolery,' 'dalliance', 'suitor' and ' ice box' as words only found in history books. Coming out was, and continues to be an often 'agressive' process instead of a natural part of one's growth.
Until then however, we are all still expected to announce something to the world that really should be irrelevant. I want to be clear, I believe everyone should be out, the closet is not a fun place to habitat. I just believe big, loud, public proclamations of one's sexuality are on par with girls becoming woman at a debutante ball. Regardless of my personal feelings however, I am not naive to the importance some public outings have had on the movement and public perception. Ellen's coming out and for different reasons, now Jason Collins have both been quite significant. Although I smiled seeing an outing on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the importance to me is also personal. There are many out celebrities, but there are very few that I can relate my own life to. Jason's story I can sort of relate to. I applaud Jason, not for being gay, that is really not important. I applaud him for entering a room without a door, and leaving it open for others to follow.
It is always interesting for me to check out the stats that blogger provides and see what posts are bringing people to FH. One of April's top posts was a Blast From The Past post from 2008 featuring actor Robert Urich.
For those who don't remember, the incredibly sexy Urich was a staple on television in the 80's. His handsome leading man looks making him a favorite of many. Sadly, Urich died of cancer in 2002 at just 55 years of age. In my post back in 2008, I included some caps from the 1982 movie Endangered Species. The caps were not mine so I decided to get my hands on a copy and make my own caps for the blog. Sadly, like many movies that first came out on VHS, the DVD release includes edits with some slight changes in in how low they cut the film for Robert's only nude scene. I can't say I loved the flick, but I did enjoy seeing Urich, especially lathered up in his shower scene with actress JoBeth Williams.
Endangered Species (1982)
'Your body will be vigorously encouraged, your mind will be lovingly pushed and your heart just might expand. . . that part is up to you!'
When viewing this set of images of Austin, the first word that came to mind was flow. I always feel that flow in when spending time with the work of photographer Joe Mazza. There is a feeling of being quietly, but intently, drawn in and gently pulled along. Never jarring or confusing, which for some reason seems to be the goal of some photographers today. Joe's fascination to see, and and his ability to explore, the story behind the eyes of his subjects, leads to a deep connection between artist and subject that radiates through all of his work.
Besides connection, the flow seen in this set, equally stems from Austin's ability to use his body and movement to create unique and beautiful poses. Some of this comes from his passion for yoga, a discipline that also has a focus on flow and connection. Using yoga to both relax, and more importantly connect with emotion, Austin expresses a confidence within his work that is both appealing and incredibly sexy.
'Austin is amazing to work with! Very spiritual and spontaneous; he's a total professional, often looking at the photos we took to see how he could tweak his poses to make them better. I adore him as a person and love working with him.'
As visually stunning as Austin's body and poses are, Joe's images also draw you strongly to Austin's eyes. The connection between mind, body and spirit all come together within his hazel eyes to add a level of emotion, and almost an insistence, that the viewer look and experience something beyond, only the physical.
Every so often I get an e-mail from a model who has been on FH who worries their images might have an impact on an acting career. There has long been an assumption that nudity could affect one's ability to be taken seriously on screen. It is interesting however, that some of today's biggest superstars have at one time or another appeared naked on screen or in print. Some, like Tom Cruise have displayed the goods on screen (All The Right Moves), others, like Brad Pitt, have been victims of a well situated photographer (in the Caribbean with G Paltrow).
As time moves on and thoughts on sex and sexuality have become a little less puritan like; and with the internet often catching celebrities with their pants down (Jude Law), posing or showing a little skin on screen seems almost a non issue with regard to gaining success as an actor. Now I know it may be slightly different with someone trying to break into the buisness but if I were the agent to an upcoming actor, there is something even worse to be grabbing on film than one's own pistol.
It is almost inevitable that most actors these days will at one time or another be asked to hold a gun. American's preoccupation with violence shows no signs of stopping, and action movies are sadly, still one of the countries biggest exports. I would however, caution any young actor to avoid holding a gun, especially a machine gun or automoatic weapon on a movie poster. It has nothing to do with my stance on gun control (which should be obvious), it is more the difficulties action stars often have to be taken seriously in other roles.
In most action movies, the hero very often shows their butt, thankfully something avoided by those who directed Steven Seagal... A Van Damme movie without a bootie shot, is hardly worth the price of admission! Many action stars have even gone full frontal. Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis have all shown all on screen. It has not been the tool between their legs that has caused typecasting as much as the tool in their hands.
There is just something that happens when one becomes an action hero that makes it difficult for an actor to be taken seriously in other roles. There are of course exceptions, Daniel Craig and Bruce Willis are still weaving into drama from time to time but most action stars have not been so lucky. Sylvester Stallone maybe one of Hollywood's biggest stars, but he struggles to get any role in which a gun is not a central part of the role. It is simply not as easy to accept a Rambo as a griefing husband, a manic depressive or single father trying to make a living working at the mall. Movie viewers don't like their heroes crashing back down to earth.
Tom Cruise had a pretty diverse acting career going on until he decided to become the king of the summer blockbuster. Since then, box office numbers have shown, that most studio executives want to see him doing anything else. (Rock of Ages....)
Schwarzenegger, Seagal, Van Damme are not likely to ever to win an Oscar for Best Actor. Acting, or a lack of acting ability aside, they have pigeon holed themselves as action heroes, not as actors. So all you young actors looking to be taken seriously on screen, stop taking on those action movies. Stop the violence, stop the car chases and spending all your time in front of a blue screen! There is a much simpler way to make it big. Pull a Fastbender, drop that gun, and then just drop your pants. It's not a hindrance, to be naked anymore!
Jean-Claude Van Damme