Millennial’s Guide to Film: The Age of the Ugly Actor
Ever since the birth of the star system in the film industry, the most successful actors and actresses have had these borderline flawless, untouchable idols of society. However, we are gradually becoming disenchanted with beauty because we apparently have seen enough pretty faces, and we want something different. Essentially, perfection is out and abnormal is in. A new generation of stars is on the rise as more and more of our Hollywood studs of the past decades are starting to rock salt and pepper hair. Nevertheless, these up and coming stars are not George Clooneys or Leonardo DiCaprios, they aren’t the teenage heartthrobs we’re used to, but there is just something about their look that we can’t help but be intrigued. In other words, the next generation of male stars presents itself with a much more unique look I would say.
So, who are these not so sexually attractive studs and why are we so attracted to them? A big part of this new trend is the roles they take on. They aren’t average looking dudes trying to play the jock or prince charming. They are interesting looking guys taking on captivating characters. For example, Rami Malek in Mr. Robot. Malek plays a hyper-intelligent tortured soul with an inherent disconnect with the world around him. He’s not a ladies man and he certainly does not radiate sex appeal, yet there is something about him that is not only interesting, but also really attractive. Maybe I’m making this argument based on my “type,” but there is concrete evidence out there. The countless fan pages speak for themselves; people like weird.
There is also the creativity aspect. It is incredibly attractive when someone is passionate about their craft. We are surrounded by a manufactured world full of Instagram “models” and surface level bullshit, it seems like the population of people who view the world from a creative perspective is decreasing exponentially. Whiplash starring Miles Teller is the perfect example of someone who is hopelessly in love and obsessed with his art. Teller doesn’t always play the tortured artist, but he always adds a quirky aspect to the roles he takes on that constantly sparks my interest. He is one of the few actors that will get me to see a movie just because he is in it.
Sometimes there aren’t really words to explain why we find someone intriguing, they just have that je ne sais quoi that pretty boy actors can’t achieve. I feel like Adam Driver has that something special, and I’m not alone. Scorsese can back me up on this one. Scorsese can be quoted giving some serious admiration for Driver that he discovered when casting for Silence:
“I love the way he moves, his sense of himself on camera… he also has that remarkable baritone voice. He’s talented, of course, and very, very brave.-Martin Scorsese
We also have growing antagonists. Caleb Landry Jones is for sure the go-to gross, delinquent star in film lately. He played the crazy brother in both Get Out and American Made. He goes absolutely ape shit with the roles he’s given; there is no amount of crazy that he isn’t willing to take on for a character.
Also, starring in Get Out is English Actor Daniel Kaluuya. For starters, he absolutely killed it in Get Out, which could be considered his breakthrough role. I think he totally has the potential to play both the hot guy who comes in and saves the day, but also the dark, cynical character that we can’t help but want to dive into his psyche.
I noticed that the entire cast of Dunkirk all have the vintage, euro look that us Americans swoon over. It is always interesting to see how American war films are cast as opposed to European war films. Americans are often jockish, tough guys whereas in European war films are cast by actors that wouldn’t necessarily be considered men that are “manly.” Cillian Murphy is in pretty much every Christopher Nolan film, but I think what really gave him a following was his role in Peaky Blinders; he is for sure on the rise. Barry Keogan is my personal favorite (and the most unique looking) of the group. After getting incredible reviews for his performance in Killing of a Sacred Deer, which he uses an American accent for, I foresee great things for him.
This new wave of actors are becoming more popular or mainstream because filmmakers want to create content that hasn’t been seen before, and our curiosity with imperfections are on an all time high. We have seen Indiana Jones save the day and Ryan Gosling use his charm to swoon the ladies, but we want the underdog to be our protagonist. We want the weirdo, the nerd, the melancholy and the weak link to thrive in a world that has been defined solely by perfection. Cheers to the age of the unexpected and unconventional actors, and may all the Ken doll lookalikes finally have a date with reality.