Sunday, 6 December 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #407: Do Abs Mean Action?

Welcome to the show folks...

The internet is all abuzz about
Twilight/New Moon star Taylor Lautner getting signed to play the title role in the action/adventure/toy adaptation Max Steel, with a certain biz blogger declaring him the next big action star.

Not so fast, let's just stop and think for a minute about the pros and cons of trying to make Mr. Lautner an action star.


1. He's young, good looking, seems to have a lot of charm, and his abs certainly get a lot of attention.

2. Has a martial arts background and seems buff enough for the physical aspects of action film-making.

3. I don't see him and his personal life getting the sort of tabloid attention his co-stars get. Which is good for him in any field in entertainment.


1. He's
too young and too good looking. Right now his target audience are pimply teenage girls, sexually frustrated cougar wannabes and immature gay men. This target audience does not go to action movies. The target audience of action movies are straight boys and men who like to watch fights and blow shit up. They don't want action heroes who look like they'd enter a fight and scream: "Oh God! Not the face!" They want tough looking characters, who look like they could take a punch as well as they could give it, and care not a whit for vanity or fashion.

Then there's his age. There's a good reason why Clint Eastwood could still play a believable tough guy when he was just shy of 80 years old. The best action stars are ones that look like they've been through some serious shit, and bear the consequences of that on their face. That requires some age and experience, and young master Lautner hasn't even finished puberty, let alone gone through hell and back.

That means he will have to be extremely careful in what roles he takes, using his youth and inexperience as a character element until he gets grizzled enough to play a believable veteran tough guy. And he should also avoid the sort of scripts where his dialogue is made up entirely of "youth slang" and overly macho posing, because that reeks of phony, which might take you through one movie, and maybe even two, but it's not going to help you in the long run.

2. Martial arts and physicality, while helpful, can also be harmful. There is too much temptation in Hollywood movies to take a modicum of martial arts skill and exaggerate it into some sort of cartoonish superheroism. Sure, it might sell some tickets at first, but try to maintain that standard as you age without elaborate special effects and suddenly the longevity one gets as an action star is lost.

If he wants the sort of longevity to his career as an action star, he should aim for more realistic looking abilities. Something to separate himself from the supernatural wolf-boy character he plays in

3. This is still a pro. The temptations of fame are many, and clubbing oneself into the wee hours can take you away from the focus needed to maintain a proper action star career and to know the difference between the gag inducing posing of the shorter lived stars, and the sort of quality "action hero" roles he needs. So my advice to him is stay off the tabloid radar, be boring in his personal life, and to bank his money, because you never know when it's all going to end.

1 comment:

  1. ....I feel confused.

    'Max Steel'? The internet tells me this was a CGI cartoon on for a few seasons around the turn of the Millennium. And it being adapted for the big screen makes its actor an Action Hero? Really?

    I'm sorry, but I can respect the hype he's getting about as much as I could a similar judgement about the star of a live-action 'Danny Phantom' movie!