Category: Careers


Landing the role of Superman is one that is meant to change your career forever and make you an immortal on the cinema screen, stapled in to people’s minds forever; it is one of the most iconic roles in movie history, the embodiment of being an American (despite being an alien) and any Superman film should make huge stars out of everyone involved. Remember Kate Bosworth? Remember James Marsden? Sam Huntington? Parker Posey? No… because the Superman film all of the aforementioned were involved with was 2006’s Superman Returns.

However, nobody was more affected by the failure of Superman Returns than the man of steel himself, Brandon Routh. When Warner Bros. decided to revive the Superman franchise a whole host of actors were considered for the part; Paul Walker, Brendan Fraser and even Will Smith (who decided to give us his own take on the superhero genre anyway with Hancock, a hero with a similar back story to that of Superman) but when Bryan Singer came on board to direct he decided that an unknown actor should be cast and that was, of course, Brandon Routh.

Prior to being given the part of Superman Routh had largely been seen, but unnoticed, in television shows such as One Life to Live, Gilmore Girls and Will and Grace. Whilst studying at University Routh was always told he bore a resemblance to Christopher Reeve (if you don’t know who he is, stop reading now… seriously) and he was signed by an agent for this very reason who told him if there was another Superman film ever made, he would be the man in the starring role. And then it came along… Routh’s big chance to impress.

Superman Returns bored the hell out of me! For some reason, unbeknownst to man, Superman Returns gained some very good praise from critics and was even a huge hit at the box office taking $84.2million in just five days which was a Warner Bros. record at the time. Yet of all of those people who went to see the film, I don’t think many of them found it to be the return of Superman that they wanted. Superman Returns was a largely lacklustre blockbuster: I wouldn’t say it was the worse comic book movie to hit the cinema screen but it dragged more than Daredevil and the action scenes were worse than Ghost Rider. Instead of making Brandon Routh a huge household name, it made him the butt of many jokes and the subject of many conversations that go a little bit like this:

“I really like him, he was good in Superman Returns

“@!#* off!”

But the fact is, Brandon Routh is NOT a bad actor, he is actually quite good, I think, and his career could and should have looked so different than it does today. Routh, since Superman Returns, has seen limited cinema time and the films he has made that have had wide releases (Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) have seen him appear in nothing more than just a couple of scenes.

Brandon Routh should STILL be playing Superman in my opinion. He was the star of a film that grossed millions and millions of dollars at the box office and was praised by critics and has since fallen down the acting world so much. He should be the biggest action hero around right now or at least be a supporting actor in films like the Die Hard series or even G.I. Joe but instead he is starring in Partners, a sitcom that isn’t going down incredibly well right now and will just be another dent in his career.

Let’s hope the same doesn’t happen for Henry Cavill.

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Steinfeld made a name for herself as always being one of the best dressed stars on the red carpet.

In 2010, young actress Hailee Steinfeld burst into the world of film with a truly magnificent performance in True Grit alongside Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Steinfeld’s performance in the Western was nominated for an Academy Award. The nomination strangely came in the category of Best Supporting Actress; strange because Steinfeld was really the only female character, logically making the lead actress er… Matt Damon. Anyway, since that performance Steinfeld has moved away from acting but looks set to return with a very busy schedule ahead for films released in the next couple of years.

Steinfeld began her career acting in short films at the age of 8, in order to gain experience of the acting industry. In 2009 she starred in the award winning short film She’s a Fox which featured at many international film festivals so people in the know really recognised her as a great talent even before True Grit hit the cinema screens. Clearly her talent shone through at the True Grit auditions as Hailee Steinfeld was chosen out of 15,000 girls to play the part of Mattie Ross, the girl who hires Jeff Bridges Deputy U.S. Marshall to find and kill the man who murdered her father. Steinfeld is also the actor granted the privilege of saying the name of the film in the film by telling Jeff Bridges that he has ‘true grit’.

After rising to fame through that performance Steinfeld went off the radar for a couple of years. You’ve got to imagine that a big reason for this was to concentrate on her studies; Steinfeld is, after all, just 15 years old at the time of writing. But she was also chosen to be the face of worldwide fashion brand Miu Miu for their 2011 campaign. But now she has returned with a whole host of projects coming up in 2013 and 2014, most notably perhaps landing the role of Juliet Capulet in Carlo Carlei’s retelling of the most famous love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet.

True Grit

Firstly though, Steinfeld is set to star alongside British starlet Keira Knightley and everyone’s favourite Incredible Hulk Mark Ruffalo in Can a Song Save Your Life? which, in all honesty, is something I probably won’t be watching. Another project Hateship, Friendship sees Steinfeld working with some more big Hollywood names in the form of Kristen Wiig and the rejuvenated Guy Pearce. The upcoming project I am most looking forward to that Steinfeld is involved in is Gavin Hood’s science fiction film Ender’s Game, slated for an autumn release in 2013. Although I am yet to be impressed with Hood’s direction (Rendition was an average, slow burning thriller, and the less said about X-Men Origins: Wolverine the better) but with a synopsis that reads “70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion” it has grabbed my attention: it also stars science fiction heavyweight Harrison Ford who still has a huge fan following despite winning my award for most boring person in the world.

Hailee Steinfeld

Also this year Steinfeld appeared in the music video for The Cab’s single Endlessly

Steinfeld continues to work in 2014 with The Keeping Room, being directed by the same man who brought Harry Brown to the big screen back in 2009. She is also rumoured to be in the comedy Why We Broke Up although confirmation is still being awaited for that. And Steinfeld has recently been announced to star alongside Kevin Costner in the thriller Three Days to Kill being directed by McG (This Means War) and produced and written by action God Luc Beeson.

It is clear that despite the couple of years break that Steinfeld has had she has a huge career ahead of her. And even though she missed out on winning the Oscar for True Grit I think an Academy Award is more than certain for this huge talent.

I love Anna Kendrick, that’s pretty much the long and short of this blog. There aren’t really that many actresses that I would class as some of my favourite people to watch in films but among them is definitely Anna Kendrick. The last couple of years have seen Kendrick rise to fame and become popular with fans and critics alike.

Like most really good actors and actresses Kendrick’s roots lie in the world of theatre, in particular Broadway. It was clear that Kendrick had talent right from the off as her performance in the musical High Society, at just twelve years old, as she won the World Theatre Award and got nominated for a Tony Award. After a few more shows Kendrick got her first film role in the independent musical comedy Camp and, although the film on a whole received mix reviews, Kendrick’s performance was largely praised and she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Debut Performance.

In 2007 Anna Kendrick got rave reviews once again for her role in Rocket Science but it was in 2008 that she finally got her big break and this came in the Twilight series (although lets not hold that against her, she has done lots of other good films too!). I can’t be bothered talking about Twilight but I thought I better mention it so lets just move on to her brilliant films.

In 2009, Anna Kendrick was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in one of the best films that I think I have ever seen and one of my favourites… Up in the Air. Up in the Air is a lovely, touching story with George Clooney in the lead role and Anna Kendrick puts in the best performance of the film in my opinion. It’s a lovely performance to watch and Kendrick adds some genuine humour in the film and many of the highlights of Up in the Air are down to her. It was Up in the Air where I really became a fan of her.

In 2010 Kendrick appeared in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and didn’t really have a lot to do here where she played the sister to the title character. It was while working on this film that Kendrick met her now partner, director Edgar Wright. Then in 2011, she appeared in one of the best films of the year and an all round near perfect film, 50/50. Kendrick plays the therapist to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cancer patient and their friendship/relationship and mutual respect towards one another is really heart warming to watch and I think that 50/50 is my favourite performance of Kendrick’s so far.

It’s been a dramatic rise to fame over the last couple of years for Kendrick and that shows no signs of lagging just yet as this year has been very busy for the actress. This year Kendrick voiced a character in stop-motion picture ParaNorman, took the lead role in Pitch Perfect and also sang on the soundtrack and is currently appearing in a film being dubbed “the greatest cop film of all time” End of Watch. She is also in The Company You Keep alongside Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf which I am looking forward to seeing but has only been previewed at the Venice Festival so far.

At just 27 years old Anna Kendrick is fast becoming one of the most fun actresses to watch and her career is surely going to reach some fantastic heights.

When Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy took the world by storm between 2001 and 2003 it looked certain that the group of heroes known as ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ would become massive stars in the world of films. Relatively unknown to mainstream audiences, most of the Fellowship had stayed away from Hollywood and seem to have done the same since. With a couple of characters set to return to Middle Earth in the upcoming Hobbit trilogy I decided to see what had become of everyone else who took part in one of the most loved, most successful and simply best trilogies of all time!

Elijah Wood – Frodo Baggins

Peter Jackson plucked Elijah Wood from near obscurity to helm this enormous series. Has so much pressure and weight ever been felt before by an actor? I’m not sure. The star of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Wood looked like he would have a huge career of success and with roles immediately after this trilogy in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Sin City it looked as though a career at the highest level was attainable for the young actor. However, recent years have seen the majority of Wood’s work come in voicing video games and going to television series. Although, this move to television cannot be complained about as he stars in the hilarious series Wilfred. You can’t help but feel like he could have had it so different though. Wood has done voice work in films such as 9 and Happy Feet but nothing that big or that successful has come his way in the floods that he may have been expecting. Elijah Wood will be taking on the role of Frodo Baggins once more in The Hobbit trilogy.

 

Ian McKellen – Gandalf

Probably the most famous of all the actors in Lord of the Rings and one of the best actors that England has ever produced, Sir Ian McKellen is now synonymous with Middle Earth as he portrayed the magnificent wizard and good friend to Frodo Baggins, Gandalf. McKellen has had an interesting career since Lord of the Rings; he finished off the X-Men trilogy, had a brief stint in British television soap Coronation Street and leant his voice to the fantastical feature Stardust. He also starred in an unsuccessful remake of cult television hit The Prisoner alongside Jim Caviezel. His work this decade has mainly consisted of short films but McKellen will be returning to Middle Earth for The Hobbit trilogy and will play an important part in getting the story going!

Viggo Mortensen  РAragorn

Aragorn was one of the fan favourite characters in the Lord of the Rings films and for good reason. He was a very honest, strong, caring soldier and took his duties as a protector of the hobbits very seriously. Since the end of the trilogy, Mortensen has not been as prolific as some other cast members but when he has made a film it has received critical acclaim: A History of Violence, Eastern Promises (which got Viggo Mortensen a Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role), The Road and A Dangerous Method. These all cemented Mortensen as one of the best actors from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 

Sean Astin – Samwise Gamgee

He is the best friend that everybody wants! Astin’s career probably speaks for itself when you take into consideration that if you remove the Lord of the Rings from his career his most famous film is still The Goonies. Since the conclusion of Return of the King, Astin has not appeared in too many films and has been limited to small guest roles in television series’ including Alphas and Franklin & Bash. Astin, like his on screen best friend Elijah Wood, has also done a lot of voice work starring in animated television shows such as Special Agent Oso and the recently rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles alongside Jason Biggs.

 

Orlando Bloom – Legolas

Commonly nicknamed ‘Orlando Bland’, Bloom is arguably (although this wouldn’t be a very long argument and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong) the WORST actor among the Fellowship. Yet despite this Bloom has tasted success in Hollywood in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Aside from this, Bloom has starred in the distinctly average Troy and Kingdom of Heaven as well as the ultimate flops The Three Musketeers and The Calcium Kid. The latter being a comedy mockumentary about a milkman turned boxer who ends up fighting the world champion in his hometown; having seen too much of The Calcium Kid than I would have liked it is amazing that anyone actually thought it would be a good idea. Orlando Bloom should not act anymore. Unfortunately, Legolas has been written in to The Hobbit. Jesus Christ.

John Rhys-Davies – Gimli

It’s hard to believe that the man who played short tempered dwarf Gimli is almost eighty years old! And Rhys-Davies boasts a back catalogue of projects dating all the way back to 1964! It is both ridiculously astonishing and incredibly commendable just how much work Rhys-Davies does and he is clearly a man that loves his trade. Before Lord of the Rings, he had already tasted success in a trilogy after appearing in the Indiana Jones films. Unfortunately, since the ending of the trilogy Rhys-Davies has slowed down in his acting and has not done anything of the same success and popularity.

 

Dominic Monaghan – ‘Merry’ Brandybuck

Dominic Monaghan is a very wonderful little English actor, despite being born in Germany. After his journeys in Middle Earth ended Monaghan said that he was inundated with fantasy roles but he wanted to try something else and that something else came in what would become the biggest show on television: LOST. In LOST, Monaghan played one of my favourite characters, drug addicted wannabe rock star Charlie Pace. After leaving LOST Monaghan starred in FlashForward which was unfortunately short lived and he also starred in Goodnight Burbank which didn’t go down too well.

Billy Boyd – ‘Pippin’ Took

Branded a ‘fool of a Took’ by Gandalf, along with Merry Pippin provided some much needed comic relief to a trilogy that otherwise focussed on such a serious story and dark themes. If you asked everyone who the actors were that portrayed the Fellowship on screen then Billy Boyd would probably be the one that least people thought of. This is unfortunate but I can’t imagine Boyd would be too concerned as he has not done too much acting work since Lord of the Rings.

 

Sean Bean – Boromir

Although his motives were unclear throughout The Fellowship of the Ring Boromir won the hearts of audiences the world over as he played his part in possibly the greatest death scene ever to be shot as he lost his life attempting to save Merry and Pippin. Sean Bean was already a very famous actor in England after playing Major Richard Sharpe in ITV’s television movies’. Since his Middle Earth demise Bean has continued to have a huge film and television career appearing in National Treasure, Silent Hill, Outlaw and Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief. On television Bean has starred in hit shows such as Red Riding and Game of Thrones. In it for the shortest time but arguably having the best of careers out of the Lord of the Rings alumni.

With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey out in December it looks set to launch the huge careers of Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage as well as many more!

 

He’s just a guy that I really want to hang out with.

Since it’s his birthday today (14/10/2012) this is the perfect opportunity for me to write about one of my favourite British actors, or actors in general, at the minute – Ben Whishaw. Now, I’ll openly admit I haven’t seen everything he has been in but once you see him for the first time in a main role, you will not forget him. Even if on screen for just a few minutes he brings great charisma, energy and unforgettable character to his roles and, being in quite a few big films this year, it becomes clear almost instantly that Whishaw is a master of the craft of acting.

At 32 years old, Whishaw has been acting now for 13 years. His career began all the way back in the twentieth century in 1999 and although he appeared in a few films and television series’ it would not be until 2011 that Ben Whishaw would finally get the recognition and attention that he so richly deserves. Whishaw has been quoted previously saying about his personal life “as an actor you have total rights to privacy and mystery, whatever your sexuality, whatever you do. I don’t see why that has to be something you discuss openly because you do something in the public eye. I have no understanding of why we turn actors into celebrities” perhaps showing a desire to stay out of the public eye and just to enjoy his work and let others enjoy his performances too without focussing too much on him as a person.

Ben Whishaw and Daniel Craig together for the first (but not the last) time on film.

As well as appearing on stage Whishaw first got recognition from the film world in 2001 when he was names Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards for his part in My Brother Tom. This led to appearances in Enduring Love, Layer Cake (where he would appear with Daniel Craig for the first time) and Stoned, a biopic about Brian Jones in which Ben Whishaw played Keith Richards. He then moved to television to appear in short lived Channel 4 comedy Nathan Barley. At the time I can remember watching this and thinking that it was indeed very funny, although upon a recent return to the series I think I over rated it quite a lot back then.

After this Whishaw appeared in Perfume playing a perfume make whose craft turns deadly and I’m Not There in which he is one of several people to portray Bob Dylan. After a BBC television series (Criminal Justice) and a couple more feature films: Brideshead Revisited, The International and The Tempest Ben Whishaw appeared in the role that would help get him into Hollywood. The role in question is that of Freddie Lyon in The Hour, a sort of British answer to Mad Men which I enjoyed greatly! Whishaw was absolutely brilliant in his role and this is where I first became the big fan of his that I am right now. After this Ben Whishaw played King Richard in the BBC adaptation of Richard II which thanks to his back catalogue of performing Shakespeare in the theatre Whishaw was perfect for.

My favourite Ben Whishaw role so far – The Hour.

And that brings us right up to speed with Ben Whishaw’s projects this year. The Americans get to see him this month in Cloud Atlas but we Brits have to wait until next February for our chance, but Cloud Atlas is a huge undertaking and has already done well critically in early screenings. Then we finally get to see Whishaw as a young Q in Bond flick Skyfall, which will see him reunite with Daniel Craig eight years after both appearing in Layer Cake. From what I have seen of Whishaw already he seems like he will make the ideal Q. And on top of that (as if that’s not enough) Whishaw is rumoured to be in the running for a role in Robopocalypse which, if you read my blog regularly, you will know is Steven Spielberg’s upcoming blockbuster.

One thing is certain: Ben Whishaw is a very talented young man. Whether he continues to ply his trade in theatre, television or film he will surely be enduring great success. I predict that if he continues to work in films he will one day be on the receiving end of an Oscar nomination, if not being a winner.

Hopefully we’ll see Whishaw in plenty more Bond films after Skyfall!

Back in 2009 unless you were a die hard Home And Away fan it’s very unlikely that you would have had any idea who this Chris Hemsworth guy was. But now, it seems like every big film that gets announced Hemsworth is linked with the role and more than likely getting it as well.

Chris Hemsworth has undoubtedly been the break out star from all of Marvel’s success. Obviously, Hemsworth is best known as Thor to mainstream cinema goers; first of all picking up the hammer in his individual solo outing alongside the likes of seasoned pros Natalie Portman and Sir Anthony Hopkins, he then appeared in the third highest grossing film of all time, Marvel’s The Avengers, or Avengers Assemble if you like. And of course, it goes without saying that once again Hemsworth will be donning the cape and armour for 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and who’s to say we won’t be seeing him in Captain America: Winter Soldier as well? It’s a role that Hemsworth has played almost perfectly so far and as he is only 29 at the minute he could have a lot more outings as Thor left in him.

As well as the continued affiliation with Marvel Chris Hemsworth also had a small stint in Star Trek where it is unlikely he will return considering he died in the first fifteen minutes, he featured in the critically acclaimed genre defying project Cabin in the Woods and then took on the mentor/protector role of Huntsman in the re-imagined telling of Snow White, Snow White and the Huntsman. With Kristen Stewart (Snow White) seemingly dropped from the sequel to the fantasy fairy tale the sequel is rumoured to focus on Hemsworth’s character, putting him at the helm of another franchise.

Along with the franchises Chris Hemsworth has managed to not get stuck in one role as he varies his projects with various stand alone movies. He stars as the main character in the remake of 1980s film Red Dawn alongside Josh Hutcherson (another rising star) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Then there is also Rush, the biographical drama of Formula 1 driver James Hunt where again Hemsworth is leading man. Then there’s one of the most anticipated and sought after movies in Hollywood today: Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse, a sci-fi story set in the aftermath of a robot uprising. This is already being anticipated as a huge hit and with Chris Hemsworth in the staring role it is hard to estimate just how high the success will be that Robopocalypse reaches.

So that’s Robopocalypse, The Huntsman franchise, Marvel’s continually expanding universe with Thor making Hemsworth’s schedule more than just a little busy so you could forgive him for slowing down a little bit, yet that does not seem to be his plan. Word has it that Hemsworth has an offer to play Mitch Rapp in American Assassin, an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s novel. Rapp is a recurring character in Flynn’s work so it seems as though another franchise beckons for this already huge star.

Soon enough, Chris Hemsworth will be one of the biggest stars on the planet, it’s just a matter of time.

I expect two questions to be raised by the title of this post. One: Who is Anthony Mackie? Two: Why will he be a household name? These are both questions that I am set to answer in the next couple of paragraphs. Simply enough, Anthony Mackie is an actor, an actor who has starred in some of the biggest films of the last few years but has so far had very minor roles or exposure in the public domain. However, his talent is undoubted and soon enough, everyone will know who he will be. But let’s not just say random things, people want proof. So what has he been in so far?

Anthony Mackie has made quite an impression on the stage and his theatre roots have not been forgotten as he has grown as an actor and he regularly returns in between filming to perform on stage. On stage he has played Tupac Shakur, starred in three plays written by award winner August Wilson and starred in an ancient Greek tragedy The Bacchae. But while his performances on broadway got him noticed by critics and the people in the know, he would still be unknown by millions around the world if it wasn’t for his film career.

His film career began ten years ago in Eminem’s film 8 Mile. Here, Mackie played Eminem’s rival Papa Doc. I really liked 8 Mile and thought it was a decent film so this was a good place to start for Mackie in my opinion, it was an easy break into the world of film making. His first starring role came a year later in Brother to Brother and Mackie received a nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards for best debut performance. In the next couple of years he appeared alongside Denzel Washington in The Manchurian Candidate, Spike Lee’s She Hate Me and multi-Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby. He later appeared in Helf Nelson and then another multi-Oscar winning film and one that received huge critical acclaim and is probably the best film still to have been made about the Iraq war: The Hurt Locker. With such big hits under his belt how is he still not more famous?!

In the last couple of years it looks as though Mackie has been pushing for more fame, but his choice of roles may just be letting him down. Since 2008 he has appeared in blockbusters such as Eagle Eye, The Adjustment Bureau, Notorious (where he once again plays Tupac Shakur), Real Steel, Man on a Ledge and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. None of the aforementioned films turned out to be as big as their studios or casts had hoped unfortunately. So that leaves us with what he is going to do next… after ten years of being a successful but little known actor Anthony Mackie finally looks set to receive the fame that that handsome face and charming smile deserve.

One of the most anticipated films of next year is Gangster Squad. And here Mackie is included in an all star cast that boasts names of the quality of Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone… basically it’s a sure fire hit. This could get Mackie the exposure that he deserves but if not, then his project in 2014 will definitely get him noticed. Comic book movies have become the biggest genre of the last few years without a doubt! And Anthony Mackie has been confirmed to be in Captain America: The Winter Soldier where his role will be Sam Wilson, better known as Captain America’s modern day sidekick with the power of flight Falcon. If the film stays true to the comic books then Anthony Mackie will have a big part to play as it is likely that Falcon will be Cap’s best friend and the person he can confide in while he deals with the change of waking up in a whole new world. Anthony Mackie is a perfect choice for the role and the casting decision has been greeted with great positivity by fans of the comic book hero. With a role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it is also likely that Mackie could be in with a chance of getting some screen time in The Avengers 2 which would be a dream for most actors at the minute, I believe.

The comic book movie genre shows no signs of flagging and this casting choice could throw Anthony Mackie into the limelight and who knows, in a few more years he might even be headlining films rather than just being a sidekick.

A VERY happy Mr. James Marsden

James Marsden is a recognisable face in the world of movies. Marsden has been in some very popular films of a couple of genres so it strikes me that he is not more famous than he is, but there is a very good reason (or very bad, depending on how you look at it) as to why his career hasn’t quite reached the heights that I thought it would earlier in his career. This reason is the cause of the title for this post and all will become clear in a few minutes.

James Paul Marsden began acting in the 1990s and his career began like so many others, with bit part appearances here and there in a number of, what can only be deemed unsuccessful, television shows. Luckily, in 1996 Marsden landing a lead role in family drama TV series Second Noah and this ran for two seasons, with a further three final episodes being commissioned after fan campaigns. After the shows cancellation Marsden moved into films; after a couple of made for television movies he appeared in Disturbing Behaviour alongside Katie Holmes (the film didn’t do very well) and then Gossip which only made half of its budget back and again failed. After this start it’s a wonder Marsden made it as big as he has done, but he could have been bigger. Here’s what happened…

In the year 2000, after the success of Blade, a movie was being made out of another popular Marvel property. It was of course, the best superhero team of all time, the X-Men. And James Marsden was cast in the role of Scott Summers, or as he is more popularly known Cyclops. This SHOULD have propelled James Marsden into a huge Hollywood star, should being the most important word here. Anyone who knows anything about the X-Men knows that Cyclops is the rightful leader of the X-Men. However, this was a characteristic drastically overlooked during the X-Men films (although this was the only real complaint I have about the first two films, the third is a different kettle of fish altogether). So really, Cyclops and James Marsden should have taken centre stage in one of the most successful trilogies of all time and would have rightfully become a household name; the unfortunate truth is that unless you take a real interest in the X-Men films or make a habit of watching romantic comedies, you probably won’t know who he is. Why? Simple.

Wolverine. The popularity of Wolverine among comic book fans is very rarely matched by another character and it is for this reason that in all three of the X-Men films featuring James Marsden Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine took centre stage. This forced the character of Cyclops into the background and he became a bit of an unimportant character, seemingly his only function was to marginally get in the way of Wolverine and Jean Grey’s romance and he didn’t even do that well. You can’t blame James Marsden for taking the part as leader of the X-Men but surely he would have hoped for a more heroic role in the films before tragically being sort of (I still don’t believe he actually died) killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand.

The reason for Cyclops disappearing in X-Men: The Last Stand was because James Marsden had taken a part in Superman Returns, another film in which he had a relatively small and unimportant part, there again to have his on screen ruined by the main hero of the piece (he does get a bit of bad luck this James Marsden chap) and of course Superman Returns disappeared into comic book movie obscurity rather unsurprisingly as it was very dull. But aside from comic book movies James Marsden has mainly stuck to romantic movies. He had a role in arguably one of the most popular films of all time – The Notebook. He has also starred in romantic comedies such as 27 Dresses and Sex Drive; the musical Hairspray; the fantasy half animated-half live action Enchanted and a film some critics called the worst of all time The Box.

This year, Marsden made a successful move back to television with a role in comedy 30 Rock although his time on television this time looks set to be short lived with 2013 having quite a few films slated for release with James Marsden attached. There’s dramedy As Cool As I Am, thriller The Loft, Enchanted 2 is in the pipeline to be made in the next couple of years. Perhaps the most exciting movie James Marsden is attached to at the minute though is something I am very much looking forward to and is a shoe-in for a few Oscar nominations when it is released. This is The Butler about the life of Cecil Gaines who served as White House butler to eight American presidents over three decades. The cast is full of real Hollywood stars and emerging talent: James Marsden, Forest Whitaker, Alan Rickman, Robyn Williams, Alex Pettyfer, Melissa Leo, Minka Kelly, John Cusack,¬† Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Liev Schreiber and Lenny Kravitz. James Marsden will be playing the great John F. Kennedy himself.

With The Butler, James Marsden has the chance to get the recognition he deserves and reach the heights of fame that he should have done a decade or so ago. If the films had been more true to the comic books with the X-Men then James Marsden would already have achieved so much more than he has. Of course, this isn’t to say that his career has been a washout because he has still had it pretty good; but if X-Men didn’t focus so much on Wolverine it could have all been so different for James Marsden. He never looks disappointed though, I’ve never seen a picture of him without a smile on his face!

James Marsden on set as John F. Kennedy – he’s either blinking or sneakily checking out Minka Kelly… you decide.

Now, the title of this post may be a little bit controversial and may leave people wondering “what on Earth are you talking about?”. After all, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is one of the biggest franchises in cinema history and Johnny Depp actually received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of one of the most famous characters of all time: the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow. Before I get started, I would like to say that I am a big fan of the character of Jack Sparrow and have previously named him as my favourite role of Johnny Depp’s; I have also stated previously that I believe Johnny Depp to be one of the best actors not to have won an Oscar. So why do I think this?

I honestly think that Johnny Depp is one of the most versatile actors of his generation, or at least he was earlier in his career. He has starred in a number of very successful films and his characters have been very varied throughout his career: from Ed Wood to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, from Alice in Wonderland to From Hell. Time and time again Depp has shown that he can bring his A game to the table at every opportunity. That is until he fell in love with the character of Jack Sparrow.

Captain Jack Sparrow was the first (and to date the only) character that Johnny Depp has returned to and played on more than one occasion, four in total with a fifth and sixth movie in the pipeline. So far we have seen Captain Jack Sparrow in Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End and On Stranger Tides. I believe that the choice to play Jack Sparrow is one that, if he wanted to win an Oscar, Johnny Depp should have steered clear from. As the Pirates franchise has got longer and longer the films have got worse and worse; the first was brilliant and quite rightly Depp was nominated for an Oscar for his performance; the second was good; third was very very long, confusing, boring and painful, whilst the fourth received mostly negative reviews and was the first in the series not to gain any Oscar nominations at all. If this pattern continues then Depp will surely become nothing more than simply a forgotten man.

For some reason, Depp’s other films outside the Pirates franchise have been very mediocre, verging on the line between average and bad largely. With the exception of Rango, Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd Depp’s other films have been regularly panned by critics and audiences alike. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Dark Shadows, The Tourist, The Rum Diary and I think it is fair to say that anticipation for The Lone Ranger movie is very low indeed after poorly received promotional shots.

This is not to say that Depp’s versatility as an actor has gone. What I think has happened is that people now can only see Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow because of how iconic the character has become. This is the same way in which people recognise Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky or Rambo and Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Therefore I believe that when people watch Johnny Depp in his more recent films what audiences are actually hoping for is to see Jack Sparrow on the screen rather than Johnny Depp and there is no way that this can ever work in Depp’s favour.

Depp’s taste in suits are almost as versatile as his early career.

I still hold out hope that Depp wins an Oscar one day as I feel that his career really does deserve it, but I do think that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is a sinking ship and Depp needs to get away from it to further advance his career.

Bale as a fictional hero on the big screen.

Christian Bale’s acting talents have brought him praise after praise for a number of films including The Fighter, The Prestige and 3:10 to Yuma but in terms of his public image Bale is sometimes dealt a raw deal. In fact, you never really hear much about Bale off screen but one infamous news story took place back in 2008 whilst Bale was filming the largely unsuccessful Terminator Salvation. You may remember that a video was released onto the internet of Bale having an incredible rant at the director of photography after he walked into Bale’s line of sight during a take. This incident was reported all over the world on main news channels and made Christian Bale look like a petulant little brat. When he later apologised for his actions this was kept away from most of the news. Therefore, it is common when people think of Christian Bale nowadays to associate him with this incident and strike him down almost instantly as not a nice person. However, I aim to change that with these news stories that didn’t quite do the rounds as much as the ‘rant’ but should have and should be brought to the forefront of people’s minds to show just what a fantastic character and heart warming person Christian Bale is.

Christian Bale is known for taking his acting very very seriously and has shown it time and again by slimming down radically, to the point of looking really ill, to pull off roles accurately (The Fighter, The Machinist). But Bale seems to have taken the role of Batman to heart and is carrying out all his duties to make people see what a real hero he is. Earlier this year upon the release of The Dark Knight Rises there was a tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado. 12 people were killed with a further 58 reportedly injured. These victims were just waiting to see a midnight screening of the third and final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Just a few days later Christian Bale was in Aurora visiting the survivors of the attack. Bale spent a few hours at the hospital where he spoke to victims, doctors and police officers who were among the first to respond to the shooting. These people wanted to see Batman and Christian Bale made sure that they did.

Bale meets Aurora shooting victim.

And now Bale has been at it again, making a young child’s wish come true. Five year old boy Jayden Barber was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer back in 2010 and it was his dream to meet Batman. A Facebook campaign was started by Jayden’s family to try and get Christian Bale to visit his young fan and sure enough, Bale was more than happy to oblige. Christian Bale flew Jayden and his family out to Los Angeles to meet him and he had dinner with the family too. This isn’t something that Bale needed to do but he obviously takes his job seriously and playing Batman he will have become something of a real life hero and a role model and this is a wonderful thing of him to do: making a young boy’s wish come true. And there was more good news for Jayden and his family as they recently found out that the cancer was in remission.

Christian Bale makes a young boy’s wish come true.

Christian Bale isn’t the only big screen hero to have done this recently though as Ron Perlman, famous for playing Hellboy has done the same recently this year. Perlman donned full make-up and costume to visit leukaemia sufferer, six year old Zachary . When asked for what he wished for most Zachary said that he wanted to meet Hellboy and don the make-up himself. Sure enough, Perlman and Spectral Motion made this boy’s wish come true.

Ron Perlman becomes Hellyboy to make a young boy’s wish become reality.