Common Sense from Hollywood

Over at PJMedia, an interesting post about Anthony Hopkins.

He refuses to publicly get into political discussions.

In a conversation with fellow actor Brad Pitt for a lengthy chat for Interview magazine, Anthony Hopkins explained why he seldom — actually: never — talks about politics… and why he’s not a big fan of other actors talking about politics either. In short: “Actors are pretty stupid.”

“People ask me questions about present situations in life, and I say, ‘I don’t know, I’m just an actor,'” Hopkins told Pitt. ” I don’t have any opinions. Actors are pretty stupid. My opinion is not worth anything. There’s no controversy for me, so don’t engage me in it, because I’m not going to participate.”

Hopkins was interviewed by Pitt because of the release of his new Netflix movie, The Two Popes, in which he plays the part of Pope Benedict XVI. Although Pitt apparently tried to get some controversial political (or religious) answers out of him, Hopkins refused to play that game.

Hopkins view is refreshing, but for me different reasons. When I was in business, I never brought up politics with my customers. Either they would agree with you or disagree. And if they would disagree, why drive a wedge between yourself and your customer?

Along with millions of others, I haven’t watched the Oscars for years – who needs a lecture from some multi-millionaire on how I should live simply? From someone who flies in a private jet and has huge homes?

Is it ego?

I have an interest in classical Hollywood – say, Hollywood up through the 1950s. And they had what was known as the studio system. Under this system, actors were under contract to a studio. And the studio had strict rules as to how they would act and be seen in public.

Rock Hudson, for example, was told to go on dates with various actresses, despite as we learned years later he was gay.

The studios carefully cultivated images of their stars, whom they considered their property.

One of my favorite stories involves Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner. They were driving late at night through Indio, CA (near Palm Springs), when Frank took out his revolver from the glove compartment and started shooting store windows.

Supposedly in the middle of the night a studio exec came to bail them out of jail with a large amount of money, and the incident was forgotten.

There was a lot to be said against the studio system, too. James Garner had a wonderful biography about his days as an actor.

He told of his breakthrough role as Maverick, and because he was under contract to Warner Brothers, he was getting paid a very small amount not commensurate with the popularity of his show. Some actors considered themselves as little more than slaves to the studio system.

The point is, studios recognized what they were selling – an image.

At the very least, why create controversy among your potential audience?

There’s a reason why fewer and fewer people care about the Oscars.

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