Thursday, 11 June 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #303: Sometimes You Need A Little Brutal Truth

I just read this piece on Patrick Goldstein's Big Picture blog about Eddie Murphy's on-set behavior.

According to the report, Mr. Murphy seems to think that on-set call times are just a suggestion and he's usually about 90 minutes late every morning. He will only work 5-6 hours a day, causing extra (& extra-expensive) shooting days to be added to the schedule, and demands a mini compound of multiple RVs for him and his extensive entourage.

Now one has to wonder why Murphy's getting this treatment. His box-office performance is iffy at best, with only a few money-makers among bushels of overpriced money-losers. The only reason I can conceive of is that he's still coasting on the early success that made him a star over 20 years ago.

Which is why I think every studio needs a Vice President of Brutal Truth. This is someone who cannot be fired, whose sole job is tell anyone, and I mean anyone, from the janitor to the chairman of the board when they're screwing the pooch.

This VP would then have a conversation with Eddie Murphy, alone, without his coterie of toadies, minions, and associated yes men and say:
"Eddie, you've done some great work in the past. And I really mean in the past. I'm talking about when Reagan was President, okay? And lately, I'm talking since Bush 1, your performance at the box office is more off than on. Come on, Meet Dave? Yet your still expecting to be treated like royalty, in fact, better than royalty, because even the Queen of England still shows up on time."

"Do you see what I'm getting at Eddie? I'm talking about one of the primary laws of business, which is returns on investment. You don't deliver the returns worth the investment your behavior is costing us. Even the rare movies that make a profit, make only a thin profit because you cost so damn much. So you have to start acting like a professional, or we'll find someone else, and you can find another profession."

"This was a lovely chat. Now I have to go tell the CEO that he can take his expense account and shove it up his ass. Bye, and I hope we don't have to talk again."
Because if there's one thing Hollywood seems to need, it's someone willing to tell them the brutal truth.


  1. You know, I really don't have a problem with "stars" having an entourage. So long as they pay for them.

    You want a RV fleet on set to house all your hangers on? Fine. Pay for it.

    Actors, any actors be they A-list or Z-list, should get a paycheck. Period. All that extra crap they demand....well, pay for it out of YOUR paycheck.

    I guess I have issues stemming from stories my dad used to tell about how he could get fired for changing a light bulb in his office. He was "Management" and that was a "Union Job" (ie: it takes a certified electrician to change a light bulb.)


  2. Studios need taxes losses too. Not only that, but they have to validate their "multicultural" rep or some big time organizations will be visiting them for "donations".

    Reason enough for Mr. Murphy to continue in their employ, regardless.