Posted June 7, 2011 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Features
 
 

Reviled & Working In Hollywood Part Two


Part 2. This week, Polanksi, Costner, Ritchie & Madonna!

Part 2

In Hollywood an established name and an interesting private life goes a
long way. Due to this stars such
as Robert Downy Jr and Micky Rourke have been rightly afforded second chapters
in their once flagging careers. Now it seems controversial figures such as Mel
Gibson – who can be seen in the lead role of Jodie Foster’s The Beaver later
this month – prove; not even anti-Semitic drunken rages can keep a man down in
Hollywood regardless if it is an industry founded and run by Jews. With this
thought in mind we decided to take a look at some industry figures that have a
questionable place in Hollywood; whether it’s because of their unhinged
personal lives or a downward spiral at the box office.

Roman Polanski (Main Pic)

Hey Day? After a career spanning over 50
years Polish-French Roman Polanski was, and still is, considered one of the
best directors of all time. This is most notably for his films Rosemary’s Baby
in 1968, The Pianist and Chinatown in 1974. Chinatown was nominated for 11
academy awards and is regularly said to be one of the best films ever made. It
also helped launch Jack Nicholson, then a rising star, into one of the biggest
actors in Hollywood. The Pianist, a film about a Polish-Jewish musician
who struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II,
earned the director a Palme d’Or in 2002.

Where did it all go wrong? We round up our
list by going full circle and in our penultimate figure we look at a director
who again has courted controversy in his private life. It has been well
documented that in 1977 Polanski admitted sexually abusing a 13-year old
girl pleading guilty to the charge of unlawful sex with a minor. He has
since avoided sentencing by running from extradition to the US, where the
charges were made. Last year he narrowly avoided extradition from Switzerland
to the US. Polanski has continued to make several films since his admission of
sexual assault and continues to have many high profile supporters such as Woody
Allen, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Harvey Weinstein and Pedro Almodóvar. His
freedom to continue making movies has begged the question: should such
controversial figures be lauded in the movie making world? Or should their work
be shunned? The answer so far has proven complex due to the many grey areas
surrounding this issue. It also seems what is important to Hollywood is very
different from what is important to the movie going public.

And Now? Polanski remains
unable to enter America but not unable to make movies. Next year he will be
releasing his latest feature film, Carnage, which tells the stories of two sets
of parents who decide to have a cordial meeting after their sons are involved
in a schoolyard brawl. Hollywood stars remain unturned off by the controversial
movie making maverick and Carnage will star Kate Winslet, John C Reilly, Jodie
Foster and Christoph Waltz.

The Pianist Trailer

Kevin Costner

Hey Day? The height of Costner’s fame
was the 1990s when he starred in films such as The Bodyguard (which made $410
million at the box office), Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves and Dancing with Wolves, which he
directed and starred in and was nominated for 12 academy awards for. Although
his acting has generally always received a luke warm reaction from critics all
these films grossed well at the box office and he was considered a bankable
star in Hollywood.

Where did it all go wrong? A notable point
was Waterworld which he is uncredited as director. Costner had just starred in
two flops – Wyatt Earp and The War – and Waterworld was to be the big
budgeted film that would bring him out on top again. Instead of this Costner
was slated and Waterworld was a big disappointment critically and financially
and it ended up winning five golden raspberry awards. Since then Costner,
although making films, has remained rather under the radar. Some of his films
have been well received such as Open Range in 2003 and The Upside of Anger in
2005. Nevertheless, despite working continuously he has failed to emulate his
previous success or match the triumphant career of some of his contemporaries,
such as Tom Hanks or Denzel Washington .

And Now? Costner continues to star (The Company Men) and sometimes
direct films; he currently has
three up and coming films – Man of Steel, A little War of Our Own (directing
also) and Learning Italian – Costner perhaps, unlike some others on
our list, regardless of his lack of big success in recent years, still deserves
his subdued place in Hollywood. It will remain to be seen if he can re-alight
his mis-mash career with A Little War of Our Own, a story based in World War II
which centres on a Sheriff who has to try and keep a town from exploding into
violence.

The Company Men Trailer

Madonna

Hey Day: Erm, if we’re talking
musically – which we aren’t – we could go on forever. But the big screen is a
completely different story, despite her starring in around twenty films. However,
we will give Madonna credit for her performance in musical Evita, where she
played the Argentine political leader of the same name. She was also fairly
well received by her fans in films such as Desperately Seeking Susan and Dick Tracy.

Where did it all go wrong? As you can
see it never really went well in the first place nevertheless Madonna has
doggedly pursued success in Hollywood throughout her lengthy
career. Regardless of her dodgy performances and shallow films such as
Body of Evidence – a debauched movie about a woman who kills men for their
money – The Next Best Thing and Guy Ritchie directed Swept Away, she continued
to be cast in films. However, Madonna hasn’t appeared in anything since
2006, but she has turned her hand to directing. In 2008 she released a film on
her Semtex Films production label entitled Filth and Wisdom and starring
up-and-coming actress Holly Weston and Richard E Grant. Made on a budget of an
estimated $1 million and grossing $22, 406 (according to IMDB) it was a
complete failure. Although some critics praised it in parts, Guardian film
critic Peter Bradshaw summed it up: “Well, it had to happen. Madonna has been a
terrible actor in many, many films and now – fiercely aspirational as ever –
she has graduated to being a terrible director.”

And Now? Not one to give up Madonna
went back to the drawing board to direct a second film about a woman who
becomes obsessed with the love story between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII, due to be released
later this year. Made via her Semtex films and starring Abbie Cornish and James
D’Arcy Madonna at first struggled to find other sources of funding but
eventually managed to pull it off. Like Gibson, Madonna has the resourcefulness
of an independent filmmaker and with her own money and steely name she is
determined to continue making movies. We wait with baited breath to
learn if Madonna scotches her endless run of bad movies with W.E.

Filth and Wisdom Trailor

Guy Rithie

Hey Day? Ritchie’s two first feature length
films Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
and Snatch re-launched the cockney gangster flick and were triumphs for the
stars, director and the British film industry. Lock Stock, made in 1998,
launched stars such as Jason Stratham, Vinnie Jones, Mathew Vaughn and Jason
Flemyng in to the movie business. But his biggest success has to be Snatch,
made in 2000 and starring Brad
Pitt. It was made on a budget of $6 million but grossed $30 million.

Where did it all go wrong? We like to
think of it as the movie curse of Madonna but Richie really isn’t blameless
when it comes to the catastrophe that is Swept Away, released in 2002. Made on
an estimated budget of £10 million it made just over half of that at the box
office and was slated by critics. Richie failed to redeem himself with the mind
boggling Revolver and furthermore, despite going back to his roots with Rock n
Roller in 2009 – albeit a better film – this was also given mixed reviews.
Apparently though, his sketchy record didn’t deter movie bosses as he managed
to land Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downy Jr and Jude Law. Although
financially it was a success, it again received mixed reviews.

And Now? Although he has not yet lived up to his original
success financers are still willing to take a risk on him – maybe his
recognisable names and Hollywood chums have something to do with this. He will
soon be releasing a sequel to Sherlock Holmes in December this year and he is
reported to have been signed up for a remake of Excalibur originally directed
by John Boorman. Let’s see if Ritchie can pull either of these out the bag – we
won’t hold our breath though.

Swept Away Trailer

Read Part 1 of Reviled & Working In Hollywood


Marcia Degia - Publisher

 
Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.