We have lift off. Hailee Steinfeld is destined to be a star.
Hollywood has a way of manufacturing the early success of actresses. In fact LaLa land has perfected the practice. It started in the forties and fifties. Gourgious young girls were given studio contracts and thrusted into roles they didn’t understand. Then they were made to go out on the town with good looking young actors they didn’t even know just to get their pictures taken. No one cared if they were talented or not, because their job was to stand still and look pretty or scream and kiss the hero who saved them. It was a black eye on Hollywood and it still is.
Later, great actresses like Aubrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn began to put a stop to such exploitation to prove they could act and look pretty while doing it. And for the most part they succeeded, but they were but a lucky few.
But then the 70s came around and non-conventional beauties like Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand took the silver screen and broadway stage by storm. The manufactured pretty face seemed to be on its way out, but like most industries run by old men, somethings never change and the old practices were brought back in a new form – Cable television.
The Disney channel and ABC family have taken the place of the studio contract. Disney and ABC Family are basically farm system for young actresses. Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Ashley benson and Vanessa Hudgens have all been pushed upon us and our children. They become stars over night and yet none of them can really act. Sure they can read the lines and cry on demand, but there not Glenn Close, Cate Blanchett or Meryl Streep. These young manufactured woman wouldn’t know a Broadway stage if they were standing on it with lights beaming into their eyes.
Look, I’m not trying to be cruel and some of these girls may really come into their own one day, if they spent time in the workshop, mastering their craft. The only thing I see Vanessa Hudgens mastering is sandy beaches and boy toys. Soon she will be thirty and her career will stall if she doesn’t invest in acting classes. Even great athletes like Kobe Bryant practice everyday.
Back to Hailee Steinfeld, a natural who took my breath away as Mattie Ross in True Grit. I went to see the film because of Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and those wonderful Coen Brothers, but ten minutes into the film, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A fourteen year old actress I’d never heard of was blowing Jeff Bridges off the screen and delivering line with speed and accuracy. She lacked intimidation, something we should all strive for.
The young lady from Tarzana, Los Angeles was Hailee Steinfeld and she was justly nominated for an Oscar for that wonderful performance. She still has a lot to prove and she to hasn’t donned the broadway stage, but she’s also not a Walt Disney creation. The Coen brothers cast her on her merit. She was talented and mature for her age.
Next up, Romeo and Juliet, a play I know like the back of my hand. Yes, it’s a love story, but an ill fated love story marred in tragedy. Some of William Shakespeare’s monologues for Juliet Capulet are intense and emotionally demanding. We will know a lot more about this promising young actress when she specks those ill fated lines. I just hope the adaptation stays true to the play so Hailee Steinfeld will have the chance to do so.
Young actresses and actors like her give me hope. Hope for a better Hollywood product; A throw back to the times of talent over beauty, screen presence over slow motion glamour shots Michael Bay seems to enjoy so much. I love film and admire great actors. I say the more the merrier.
Here is the first look at Hailee Steinfeld in Romeo and Juliet
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