Monday, April 15, 2019

TV: Greed

Earlier this month, Michelle Williams felt the need to share with her fan via the press that "she's finally being paid as much as her male co-stars."  This 'accomplishment' comes via TV and after she destroyed her film career over greed.


The green eyed monster plagued her not all that long ago when she was promoting the box office bomb ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.  At the time, Michelle was the supposed star of the film.  She was not hired as such.  The star of the film was the Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey.  A number of accusations made after the filming was complete led to a ridiculous decision to reshoot Spacey's scenes with actor Christopher Plummer.

Kevin was a popular actor, before the accusations.  He was not, however, considered 'box office.'  To ensure that the film had a chance at box office success, Mark Wahlberg -- an actual movie star -- was cast in the film.

A movie star puts butts in the seats.  Mark's done that with THE PERFECT STORM, PLANET OF THE APES, THE ITALIAN JOB, THE DEPARTED, THE HAPPENING, THE OTHER GUYS, TED, LONE SURVIVOR, TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, TED 2, DADDY'S HOME, TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT and DADDY'S HOME 2 -- these are all blockbusters that each sold over $100 million in tickets in North America.  If you look at total box office -- domestic and international -- Mark has many other blockbusters.  Ticket buyers around the world are willing to spend their money to see him.

Michelle, by contrast, has appeared in four films that grossed more than $100 million domestically.  "Appeared" is the key word.  She was not the lead in any of those films.  As a lead, success for Michelle Williams is $16 million -- and $16 million is huge for Michelle, she has films she's been the lead in that haven't even grossed $1 million in ticket sales.

Some would argue that, at her age, she's lucky to be working at all.

She didn't feel that way while promoting ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.  She was convinced that this would be another Academy Award nomination and, who knows, maybe the big win.  And she had only been paid $1,000 for reshoots!  This made her very unhappy.

Now she was fine with that when she signed the contract.  She felt differently after.  She was an ungrateful brat wanting more money.

She was especially appalled that the box office muscle was being paid over a million dollars.

So she whined in public and made herself an ugly bitch.

That's one reason she didn't get a nomination.  There's also the fact that she wasn't very good in the role.  See Hillary Swank -- two time Academy Award winner Hillary Swank -- in TRUST to see how the role actually should have been played.  But mainly, it was the fact that she was a greedy, ungrateful bitch that hurt her.

Greed destroys many careers.  We're not speaking of how people make choices based on money, that happens all the time.  We're talking about when their image in the industry becomes one of greed, how that harms them and their career.

Whether it's Jaqueline Bissett -- who wrote herself out of starring roles in the early 80s with her greed -- or Steve McQueen -- who never made one interesting film in the 70s as his greedy image took hold, greed destroys.

Greed is her image now -- in part, why she's turned to TV.  Greed and dumb.

As one of us observed in January 2018 following the Golden Globes:

The victims of assault and rape are not just women and what took place was insulting and self-serving.  It's now morphed into "poor Michelle Williams."  Mark Wahlberg's not the problem.  She should have hired a better agent.  If a film has reshoots or goes beyond it's shooting schedule, you get that in writing and you get what you want.  And it's generally the easiest thing to get in a contract because the studio expects the director to stick to the shooting schedule.  This is not a gender issue -- that Mark got more money that Michelle for reshoots -- it's an issue about making the demands you need to make.  Joan Crawford accidentally saw Bette Davis' contract for WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?  She saw Bette was getting a better per diem and other benefits.  Joan, like Bette, was a woman.  It wasn't sexism.  It has to do with representation and also with hawk-eyeing the work you're paying your agent a commission to do.

Michelle is not going to get as much to make a film as Mark is currently.  He's established as the lead of several hit films and she's not been the lead in any hit film.  But she is an extremely talented actress and her agent should have demanded a hard out and a most favored nation clause.  If her agent had, the studio would have been forced to pay Michelle for the reshoots and pay her what they were paying Mark.

When FOX sued Elizabeth Taylor, it wasn't about the box office for CLEOPATRA.  It was about the fact that they didn't want to pay her what they owed her.  (This is when they tried to invoke a moral's clause, etc.)  Her contract stipulated what she would be paid for the scheduled shooting and what she'd be paid if shooting went over.  This is not a new issue.  Michelle was poorly represented and might want to consider new representation.

She was greedy and she was dumb.  She signed the contract outlining what she'd be paid and then, after the fact, was upset she wasn't paid more.  She also didn't demand, during reshoots, that her agent get her a better deal (we checked, she didn't) and he could have because the reshoots were due to firing/replacing Kevin Spacey.  The studio was very touchy at that point and would have ponied up further money.  But Michelle's dumb and stupid and she waited until she and failed actress Busy Phillips had nothing else to do except for bitch to each other to decide that she'd been done wrong.

Her film career is pretty much over now.  She's 39 this year and she never managed to carry a hit film.

Which is why she's now doing television.

FX's FOSSE/VERDON -- a series whose title literally means Fosse or Verdon.  Sam Rockwell is playing director and choreographer Bob Fosse while Michelle's been cast in a role with the name Gwen Verdon.

It's not Gwen Verdon.  Williams appears to believe she's portraying Jen on DAWSON'S CREEK again but with a plumper body and the effects of heavy alcoholism playing out on her face.

Bob Fosse was someone Gwen married and chose to indulge.  A mini-series about her might explore that and offer something more than Saint Gwen.  This one doesn't.

Everyone is a bad cliche.  Or worse.

What's worse than a bad cliche?  Kelli Barrett playing Liza Minelli.  Kelli's face looks nothing like Liza's and her body is flat whereas Liza was curvy beauty in CABARET.  Even more puzzling is that they can't get the wig Kelli wears correct.  They've got a whole film to study of Liza and they can't fashion a wig correctly?

She doesn't sound like Liza either and she lacks the flair to catch your attention.  And did anyone need Paul Reiser to recite lines while playing Paul Reiser but being called "Cy Feuer"?

It's hideous.

As hideous as the 'dance' scenes that are pretty much shot all in close up -- we don't just mean the ones for CABARET -- we mean all of them including SWEET CHARITY's famous "Hey, Big Spender" dance.

Did anyone involved in this crap know anything at all about shooting a dance scene?

In this bad mini-series, Bob Fosse is the devil and that gives Sam Rockwell something to play.  Too bad the script leaves nothing for anyone else.  And too bad what should be a lively show is cold, clinical and dead on arrival.  There's nothing wrong with making trash if you admit it's trash but FOSSE/VERDON wants to be high class trash and fails to pull off either.

Michelle's big return to TV turns out to be another bomb in a career with far too many already.

Greed has a role in SPECIAL as well.  Ryan O'Connell takes his memoir I'M SPECIAL AND OTHER LIES WE TELL OURSELVES and turns it into an eight-part NETFLIX series.  Ryan plas Ryan Hayes, a young man with cerebral palsy who is starting an internship at the comedy website EGGWOKE -- when two things happen.  First, he gets hit by a car and, second, EGGWOKE is now a click bait site for personal narratives.

At EGGWOKE, they think he's recovering from his accident.  He doesn't rush to correct them.  He forms a friendship with EGGWOKE's most important writer Kim (Punam Patel) and she repeatedly learns that he's not who he tells her he is -- starting with his inviting her to a party at his new apartment which, she finds out, is actually his first apartment.  Punam Patel has to be TV's finest best friend since Valerie Harper played Rhoda.

Ryan's attempting to take more control and responsibility for his life.  His mother Karen (Jessica Hecht) has been his helper, coach and best friend throughout his life.  With Ryan exploring more areas of his life solo, Karen's found time for Phil (Patrick Fabian), her neighbor.  But every time Ryan struggles, she puts Phil on hold.  She's pushing him away.

Ryan and Karen both have their own greed -- each wants a different lifestyle and anger explodes when they blame one another for not having what they wanted.

It's a messy ending to the eight episodes but life is messy and SPECIAL is very easy to relate to.  It's also very funny.

SPECIAL gives you the feeling that people came together to tell a story that mattered to them.  FOSSE/VERDON?  It feels like people came together because they were paid to.

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