Then and Now...
... oh, there's so many then and now types of topics I could discuss. Music, the internet, doing business... but this time I choose the movie industry. I’m working on one of the others too, but that’s for another day.
That's right. The movies. Some of you must have known this was coming eventually for those who know where I work...
A few weeks ago I popped in a CSI DVD from Season 3. I was telling DH about it the following morning and recounted a quote that was uttered in conversation between Warrick (a CSI) and Grissom (the philosophical, handsome, bug-obsessed head CSI). Grissom watches some guy walk down the hall with no discernable expression on his face.
Warrick notices this and says, "You don't recognize that guy, do you? It's Tom Haviland, movie star." Grissom gives a slight nod in acknowledgement and replies (in his straightforward Grissom sort of way), "Clark Gable was a movie star."
Not only did that give great insight into the character that Grissom is, but as I was recounting it to DH I realized how right it truly was. Gable really was a movie star and there are so many others now that are just... celebrities.
Oh yes, there's a difference between a star and a celebrity, and you couldn’t possibly convince me of anything different.
Think about it: a star (in the movie industry) is someone who has truly made their mark with their acting efforts and still managed to keep enough mystery around them that you’re left wanting to know more about them. They pick their roles carefully but they can afford to be choosy. They’re around for years, making an impact in their films. There’s a sense of classiness not crassness when it comes to a star, and you get the sense that they’re comfortable without being on camera for awhile either. They’ve made their characters truly human, and you love them or empathize with them, or just downright hate them. They’re people like Dustin Hoffman, Bette Davis, Clark Gable – they don’t have to be from the b/w era of movie making, they just have to have left their mark in some significant and lasting way.
They don’t even have to have won any awards for their body of work either. Or have been nominated. They keep a very human aura about them.
A celebrity, however, is everywhere and branches into everything, and their flame could go out just as quickly as it lit up. The media often makes celebrities more than they should be. Try J.Lo or Jessica Simpson or Paris Hilton. They’re trying to be everywhere and everything – they’re on the tabloids and they don’t really care because the more their name is out there, the more their price goes up (to borrow from a country song about celebrity). Celebrity is easily forgotten, a flash in the pan, while stardom just seems to last. I’d so much rather watch a star in a movie or on television than a celebrity…
But then if you give it some thought, there's still a difference between a star then and a star now. Stars "back then" (whenever that may have been) were under exclusive contracts to studios, they were provided anything they could ever want for. Heck, the studios practically owned them.
That's not so today. Now stars may have production companies that are associated with certain studios, but they could make a movie with almost anyone. They might own an interest in a studio themselves instead of the other way around. You might hear about a "3-picture deal" for one star or another, but they could go make another movie with another studio in the middle of that deal. It's not a binding "We Own You" type of contract anymore (in the music industry, however, there's a totally different story). Instead of studios taking control over the press and image of the stars of their movies, it's the stars having complete control over the chaos that their image is (but not necessarily having control over what the media has to say about them).
When you owned a movie studio it was a business then... it's a mega-corporation now. Stars are taking home a percentage of the gross - something that was unheard of even 25 years ago. I could go on and on and on. A lot has changed in the movie business over the years, but one thing still remains...
... A star can have celebrity, but a celebrity isn’t necessarily a star.