Monday, June 21, 2010

Young Actresses These Days

When it comes to young Hollywood starlets, there are certain things that we expect to happen. For example, let's take a look at the Olson twins. Mary-Kate and Ashley managed to get by on doing nothing but being precocious on the so-wholesome-its-sickening classic Full House, but once they grew up, where did they go? To NYU (for a little bit), and a very short lived movie career (remember New York Minute? All too prophetic....), but mostly to the social scene where all you really hear about them now is what parties they showed up. Of course, I never felt the Olsons had that much talent to begin with, so I suppose its puzzling that their still popular. But then again, I suppose you don't need talent to be popular*.
But its depressing when talented young actresses do bizarre things. Take Lindsay Lohan. She had a stellar debut in 1997's The Parent Trap, and hit a career high with her performance in the severely underappreciated Mean Girls. But it all went downhill from there. In her personal life, she became a wreck, and is now a popular staple in the tabloids. Her acting career has suffered as well: there was that heinous 2007 debacle I Know Who Killed Me, or La Lohan on a Stripper Pole and her on-set behavior issues in Georgia Rule, also 2007. Her career may find some redemption in Robert Rodriguez's scholky Machete and Lovelace, in which she portrays porn star Linda Lovelace (you stay classy, Lohan).
Now, that's a bit of an extreme example for the purpose of this post. What I'm actually disturbed by is Amanda Bynes' announcement that she's retiring (via Twitter no less). Her reason, of course, is that she is no longer fulfilled by acting, and wants to pursue other options. Well, okay, but here's the deal: she's 24-years-old. I think it's a little too early to be retiring when you're still in your mid-20s. Also, think about this: it's been three years since Bynes last headlined a movie (2007's Sydney White). Since then, she's hand a few sitcoms fail to make it onto TV, so acting work has been hard for her. Maybe that's what she means by "no longer fulfilled?" And this fall she'll appear in Easy A as a religious Mean Girl who becomes Emma Stone's nemesis. It sounds like a meaty role for the girl who told Maxim she wants to be taken seriously as a woman now.
Bynes as Penny in Hairspray
Personally, I've always liked Bynes. Yes, she was mostly known for her slapstick comedy on All That, The Amanda Show, and What I Like About You. But I really do think she has talent, as evidenced in, in my opinion her best performance to date, Hairspray. She has a great voice, and she can do live comedy well. So TV and movies didn't work out for you, Amanda. Maybe, instead of retiring, you could head to Broadway? I'm just thinking out loud. I'd hate to see developing talent wasted.
*New York Magazine ran an interesting piece on Megan Fox's stock as an actress. This, of course, was before Jonah Hex earned its scathing reviews and awful box office. Though I don't think the latter bit changes the validity of their conclusion.

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