Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are just a couple of actors who I would quite happily poke in the eye if I was to ever bump into them on the streets on London. But for whatever reason I find these men irritating as human beings, is that reason enough to not want to watch their films?
As I made the trek home last week, I passed a bus stop advertising Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman’s new film, Oblivion, a sci-fi story about post-alien invasion Earth. My first thoughts? ‘Ooo a new film with possible explosions and alien-related twists!’. My second thought? ‘Tom Cruise? Oh, thanks but no thanks.’ His mere presence on the poster was enough to put me off watching what could have been a decent film about another alien invasion of earth and another bunch of remaining humans living in spaceships.
But why the Cruise-beef? Well, despite starring in many a favourite of mine, media coverage of his private life has left a lot to be desired and we appear to disagree on fundamental social and moral issues. Having said that, he is still getting high profile roles and is still considered a Hollywood legend. So what would we need to know about actors/actresses in order for us to be put off their films? Lindsey Lohan is constantly shown in the news as having broken the law one way or another but would this stop me going to watch a film with her in? No, probably not. Unless she was the only person in it. In which case, the producer would need a slow slap with a wet fish.
Is it because we’re disappointed to find out that film stars, whom we have idolised for decades, have been exposed as being *gulp* human beings? Would we feel so against them if they were Hollywood newbies? If we had always known the ins and outs of their love, sex, social, professional and religious lives? Personally, I still love watching Top Gun, Cocktail, Rain Man and Days of Thunder, to name but a few, but perhaps that’s because I had watched these before I learnt of the man behind his famous characters?
Personally, I find it hard to shake off past roles of actors when I see them in new films, let alone the image of them stark-bollock naked, dancing in a London night club with the Cheeky Girls. Not that Tom Cruise has done this…yet. Christoph Waltz’s performance as Dr Schultz in Django Unchained was, for me, eclipsed by his role as Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, resulting in me expecting him to blow Django’s head off at any moment. It wasn’t until he died (whoops, spoiler. Soz.) that I could relax and enjoy the film. So it is any wonder that real life actions of film stars influence how we see them too?
That brings me nicely onto Mel Gibson……..well, where do we start?