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That Old Feeling

Whenever I read that an actor and director is planning to work together—again—I have to wonder: why do some actors and directors get so stuck on one another? And what does that really offer the viewers?

The world has more or less come to terms with the bizarre love triangle that is Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. And Woody Allen rotates through various fixations with actors or actresses that serve as his “muse du jour,” Scarlett Johansson being a recent example. Chris Nolan has his Christian Bale and has sprinkled cast members from Inception throughout the last of the Dark Knight trilogy. Which brings us to Leo DiCaprio, now set to make yet another Martin Scorsese movie.

This is probably a great setup for the actors and directors. They’ve worked together before and know what to expect from one another. It’s sort of a safe way to get things done, especially in a business where everything (particularly money) is on a huge scale.

But if you look at the kinds of movies these actors and directors make together, you’ll notice that for the audience, they’re all kind of the same. A Tim Burton movie is going to be quirky and a bit dark. A Chris Nolan film will also be dark, but less quirky and more moody. And a Woody Allen film is a Woody Allen film, no matter which muse he has at the moment.

I liken seeing one of these movies to going to a favorite fast food restaurant. I always know what I’m going to get, and I usually like it. But too much of it will give me indigestion.

And really, more often than not I want something different. So, you know, I think these actors and directors should consider expanding their menus. Give someone else a shot?

By the way, as a complete and total aside regarding my previous post, some of you have written to ask why I hate Benedict Cumberbatch. I don’t. In fact, I love him. But my subconscious has cast him in a particular role, and like the directors named above, my subconscious also likes to use the same actors again and again.



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