Blurring the Lines Between Actor and Movie Star

In the world of film there are two kinds of people. There are actors and there are those who star in movies. But when a mountain of money and fame is at the end of the red carpet, what’s the difference?

Actor: Someone who pretends to be various different people throughout their career, often the furthest thing from themselves. They dedicate themselves to the craft, using talent and sheer bravery to captivate audiences by being someone else.

Movie Star: Someone who stars in movies.

If Entourage has taught me anything, it’s that you don’t always have to be a super talented actor to make it in Hollywood. It helps to be good looking or be friends who good looking people. That is what gets you on the screen.

We’re not idiots. We know that Dane Cook isn’t Daniel Day-Lewis. He could only hope to be. But Dane Cook is in a lot of movies. More than Daniel-Day Lewis. But how can we allow this? How can we let this happen?

Spot the difference

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Daniel Day-Lewis spends months researching his character and only picks the right role. The one that challenges him so that he can hone his craft. This means he stars in maybe one movie every three years.

Dane Cook probably reads the title of the script and wants to know when filming starts.

So of course, simple maths means he’ll be in more movies. So Actor vs Movie Star quickly becomes the same as saying quality vs quantity.

There are more movie stars than actors, because anyone with a pretty face and nothing better to do thinks they can star in movies. I’m looking at you, Kim Kardashian.

There are only three reasons you’d want to see Kim Kardashian in a film. Two are in this image. The third is just behind her.

Now, of course, some movie stars can actually become actors with the right roles. I used to think Adam Sandler was a movie star and then I watched his performances in Punch Drunk Love, Reign Over Me and Funny People.  Chris Evans was always a movie star for me. The first movies I saw him in was Not Another Teen Movie, The Perfect Score and Cellular – for all intents and purposes he was a pretty face and anyone could play those roles. But then I watched London. Have you? It’s really good. And so is his performance.

The fact that the line between the two is blurry is something that comes with the territory. Actors start out doing various roles that don’t actually need any real acting but rather just reading lines and being charismatic. The older an actor gets, the more serious they become about their craft. They can choose more challenging roles. They can prove that they can win awards and stand toe to toe with actual actors.

The best example of how blurry this line has become? Tom Cruise. Tom fucking Cruise. Is he an actor? Of course. You’ve seen Vanilla Sky, A Few Good Men, etc. But you’ve also seen him in Mission Impossible, Edge of Tomorrow, Top Gun, etc. So let’s not try to box him in. Him of all people. This is how confusing the difference is.

Tom fucking Cruise running from your fucking labels

Quite simply, in the battle between Actor and Movie Star, there is no winner. Only compromise. Serious actors can do more light-hearted films and cameos that don’t require any intense acting at all. Think Matt Damon in Eurotrip. Matt Damon is an acclaimed actor who is pretty good at what he does but he might just do something that requires no actual acting chops. It doesn’t make him any less of an actor, though. Because he proves he can do both and at the end of the day that’s a trend we’re seeing.

Who knows, maybe one day Dane Cook and Kim Kardashian can do a critically acclaimed gem that sees them winning awards like Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

Unlikely, yes. But stranger things have happened. Time will tell.

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Dean Ravell

Writer/director. Fascinated with all kinds of film and just wants to be part of the wonderful world of cinema.