writer's strike, I spend way too much time checking out the latest showbiz scuttlebutt on Nikki Finke's blog. She has good sources, gets things early, and has opinions. And so do her commenters, usually (deservedly) anonymous ones.
I'm less interested in her news about box-office blockbusters, which I have come to view as theme parks. So I wasn't really following her breathless updates on the casting of the next Spiderman, after Tobey Maguire exited the franchise. It just seemed to me to be the same old story: make someone a star, pay him so much you don't want to pay him any more, get me the next star.
But when she announced that it was Andrew Garfield -- who apparently gives a great performance in the upcoming David Fincher/Aaron Sorkin movie The Social Network -- Finke singled out for praise "his heartbreaking performance in Boy A."
What? I follow the indy movie releases fairly closely, and I HAD NEVER HEARD OF Boy A. So I immediately
put it at the top of my Netflix queue, and last night I watched it. It was terrific -- the kind of movie, well, that I touted yesterday -- about a reformed juvenile delinquint trying to start life over again after being released from jail.
Garfield's performance is heart-rending. But the movie around him is also perfectly executed -- writing, acting, direction, score. I'm sure Andrew is thankful it got made, because it helped put him on the map. But I hope more people rent it. And I hope audiences realize that actors like he, Maguire, Johnny Depp and Robert Downey, while bringing a lot to comic-book roles, are actually much more interesting in, and worth seeking out in, smaller movies.
These days very few movies (or TV series) make it through the chute of development without first "attaching" a "star." A smaller and smaller list of actors and actresses has the ability to get something greenlit. Yet over and over there are examples of shows and movies that MAKE stars. Like Juno. Like the women in Up In The Air. Like The Sopranos. Like Modern Family. And like Boy A.
There's talent aplenty out there, and the "next Andrew Garfield" is surely among them.