Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Blast from the Past: Breakout Stars of 2007

Here's a sample of a piece I submitted to a humor website back in 2008 involving the break-out stars of that year:  Casey Affleck, Ellen Page, Seth Rogen, Tilda Swinton, Marie Courtillard, Jonah Hill, Jason Bateman, Shia LeBouf, Michael Cera, Keri Russell, Emile Hirsch and Nikki Blonsky

Jonah Hill:
Before 2007: Jonah Hill was a walking contradiction to the old Hollywood adage that you have to be at least moderately attractive if you want to be a movie star. Despite looking more like an amorphous blob of playdough than Cary Grant, Hill had managed to find work upon arriving to L.A. in small roles starting with bit roles in I Heart Huckabees, Click, and The 40-Year Old Virgin culminating in the Justin Long comedy Accepted, where Hill started to get major screen time as a portly sidekick who's benefit to Justin Long's character is a naive willingness to follow him along on his crazy schemes (think of the Zach-Screech relationship on Saved by the Bell).

In 2007, Hill had a great year playing the portly sidekick designed for comic relief, once again, in Knocked Up  before transitioning to starring in his own film in Superbad. This was not only a major step up for Hill in terms of screen time, but also, in Superbad, he gets to play a character who doesn't completely repulse women. He even gets a love interest and while she didn't respond favorably when he tried to kiss her when he was drunk at a party, she didn't slap him and scream "Ewwwww, get away from me, fatso!" which is what would have previously happened in a scene with a Jonah Hill character. On top of that, Hill managed to score some extra cash and provide comic relief for playing a suck-up assistant in "Evan Almighty."

What does Hill's future look like? Because Hill has had the fortune of appearing in two very funny movies, the public is temporarily forgetting about how he doesn't exactly look like Cary Grant or even Jason Alexander but they are bound to come to their senses eventually. Hill, is playing it smart, however, by working on a screenplay however and the general rule of that in Hollywood is that if you write the screenplay you can cast yourself in it, regardless of how ugly you are, so Hill's career should be able to stay afloat through at least one more movie.

Ellen Page:
Before 2007: This spunky Canadian had her first gig in the Canadian TV series "Pit Pony" (your guess is as good as mine) and dabbled in the Canadian film industry (the Canadian film industry consists of approximately 7 people in Halifax with hand-held cameras looking to fill their spare time since being cut from the club hockey team) before being cast as Shadowcat in X-Men 3. Being somewhere around the 11th most important character in a very, very crowded story, Page
didn't get a whole lot of notice and they probably couldn't even find a seat for her at the premiere. 

2007: Paired up with a screenwriter who matches her spunk, Ellen Page becomes the star of the year's biggest Indie hit "Juno." Critics are won over because, in all honesty, they don't comprehend what the characters are saying and decide to just give the film a good review for fear of looking stupid and Page goes onto win a prestigious Oscar nomination.

What's her future looking like?
Page's biggest obstacle to becoming filthy rich and being in lots of movies is that she seems to be somewhat picky. According to her imdb profile, Page "Considers herself to be a Feminist and tries to steer clear of the 'stereotypical roles for teenage girls' because she finds them to be 'sexist'" which disqualifies her for 98% of what Hollywood has to offer, so unless she wants to make Juno 2 there might not be too much work for her.

Casey Affleck:

Before 2007: Casey was best known as Ben’s little brother. Ben even managed to score Casey apart in Good Will Hunting and gave a shout-out to him in his Oscar acceptance speech.  Casey’s greatest accomplishment aside from sharing a set of parents with Ben has been appearing in the Ocean’s 11 series. If you’re going to respond to this last sentence with, “Huh? I had no idea that Casey Affleck was in the Ocean’s 11 trilogy and I’ve seen all the films,” don’t worry about it. I’m sure Brad Pitt and George Clooney were too busy giving charming and witty interviews and admiring themselves in the mirror to even learn the names of their costars as well. But after 2007, not only will Pitt and Clooney know Affleck’s name but they might even be willing to invite him into their trailers because………

In 2007: Affleck became a movie star. How did he accomplish this? Sheer nepotism. Ben Affleck made his directing debut which he used as a chance to help little brother out with a starring role in Gone Baby Gone. You know, however, that you've made it when someone who isn't related to you casts you in a movie as was the case with The Assassination of Jesse James where Affleck received an oscar nomination.

What's the forecast for Affleck's future? Let's just see that when Ocean's 14 comes around, Pitt, Clooney, and Damon will be carrying Casey's luggage on the film's press tour. In all seriousness, however, Affleck should be able to use his Oscar nomination to land more film roles because in Hollywood, the promotion department always wants to be able to put "Starring Oscar nominee" in front of an actor's name as long as he doesn't make the mistake of dating J-Lo or doing movies with Michael Bay.

Tilda Swinton:
Before 2007: Tilda Swinton was not really anyone. She had a few lines in Adaptation and played the wicked witch (or possibly the good or mild-tempered witch, I didn't see it) in Chronic-what!-cles of Narnia Part I. In 2006, I would have probably had an easier time getting a cab than Tilda Swinton.

In 2007: Tilda Swinton has an Oscar, bitches. Even better, she got out without having to suck up to Paula Abdul or weather verbal abuse from Simon Cowell, like last year's Supporting Actress winner Jennifer Hudson. She did have to effusively compliment George Clooney on the press circuit and do a weird scene in a mirror where she stared at herself while running her finger along the outside of her bra.

What's the forecast for Swinton's future? Swinton will be competing on American Idol in hopes of getting 7th place. No but in all seriousness, Swinton is next appearing in a dramatic movie by the writer of Forest Gump where Brad Pitt ages backwards in time and falls in love with Cate Blanchett who's aging forwards, so at both ends of the timeline, one of them will be a pedophile. Not sure what Swinton's role is but let's hope she's not going to be having to have sex with any old people or babies.

Jason Bateman:
Before 2007:  Bateman was the brother of one of Michael J Fox's sisters on "Family Ties" who broke out in Arrested Development which lasted three seasons because goddamnit, no one else was watching it. Also, Bateman decided to use his newfound fame to give his sister an acting gig on Arrested Development that included his sister trying to make out with him. Weird.

In 2007: Bateman seems to be on track to being a character actor and will just show up to any film as long as they have a craft table whether it's "Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium" or "The Kingdom." His big breakout role was Juno where he acted alongside his Arrested Development son and gave some pretty hilarious interviews. 

What's the forecast for Bateman's future? Bateman will continue his quest to randomly show up in as many films as possible and endlessly talk about Arrested Development's possible return to torture the 6-10 people who watched the show on the first run.

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