Reports of the death of the movie star are greatly exaggerated. There will always be movie stars no matter what era of Hollywood we live in. The actor hierarchy is always changing. Right now, guys like DiCaprio, Bale, Damon, Pitt, Clooney and others are THE guys that audiences gravitate to more than others. Whatever the reason, they seem to connect more with moviegoers than other actors.
Remember, there was a time when the name Leonardo DiCaprio meant nothing. There was a time when Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were struggling actors. There was a time when the Academy Award winning actress pictured above appeared in 31 episodes of The Bill Engvall Show. I’m serious.
New movie stars will eventually come. We just have to be patient and let it happen naturally. A lot of things need to fall into place in order for an actor to make the leap from “talented, scene stealing person” to “big time movie star who can carry any film.” You need to work with the right people. You need to pick the right projects (that’s the big one). You need to find the right role. You need to have a combination of acting ability, charisma, and screen presence. Jennifer Lawrence is a prime example of a new movie star being made before our eyes. When House At the End of the Street bombed last year, nobody thought she’d be the next big thing. But then Silver Linings Playbook hit and she became America’s sweetheart, an Oscar winner, and David O. Russell’s muse.
It’s hard not to root for a guy like Benedict Cumberbatch to be the big star that everyone talks about. Maybe one day he will be. Maybe Cumberbatch, Gordon-Levitt, Hardy, and Fassbender (among others) were simply born at the wrong time to become a truly big movie star and they’ll forever be remembered as this generation’s group of talented guys who never really made it. Maybe some of these guys will be late bloomers and reap the benefits after years of hard work. After all, Robert Downey, Jr. became huge late in his career. If Pitt really does retire or if DiCaprio is serious about taking an acting break, it will only open doors for someone new to step up and take their place. It’s what happens. It’s a cycle.
For now, the state of the movie star is in good shape. We have plenty of talented people worthy of having the title of “movie star” and as long as they’re up for the challenge, there’s no rush to replace them. Instead of worrying about where all the new stars are, we should enjoy the ones we have and let everything take care of itself.