Movie Stars Go to the Small Screen


Lately, major film stars have turned up on television shows and I’m not talking about guest appearances. Christina Ricci is on the ABC drama Pan Am. Zooey Deschanel is in the FOX sitcom New Girl. Believe it or not, back in the 1950’s and 1960’s it was verboten for movie actors to do anything on television. When the studio system dissolved, television evolved into a training ground for many, many actors. Take Sally Field, she got her start in television shows such as Gidget and The Flying Nun, then she went to movies such as Norma Rae, Places in the Heart and, yes, all those Smokey and the Bandit films. George Clooney took a similar path to film, since he learned the craft on various sitcoms before hitting the jackpot with the NBC drama ER. He then did some back and forth between film and television, before settling on film. Now, there seems to be going back and forth between television and film. In fact Sally Field went back on television, since she was on the ABC drama Brothers and Sisters. Anyway, this is interesting enough to get me thinking. (Oh geez! There you go again. You must be saying now.) So, here’s my take on this development.

It’s the Recession
While Ricci was in the Adams Family films and Deschanel was in Elf, these aren’t actress known for working in blockbusters. So, while the studios are spitting out remakes and retreads, since they are sure bets in these economic times, actresses like Ricci and Deschanel are left scrambling for work. Where can they find work? Independent films? Maybe. Yet, if they want a more regular paycheck, there’s television and that’s where they went. After all, there’s nothing wrong with following the money.

Willingness to Try Something Different
Ricci and Deschanel are both young enough to try something new without their career’s taking a big hit. If they want to grow as actresses, they should be on the lookout for roles that aren’t just “girl next door” or types they’ve done before. If these roles are found on television, then what’s the harm in signing up with a television program? Lucille Ball worked in film for 20 years before she went to television and no one faults her for making the switch.

Demographics
This applies to more to Sally Field, than to Ricci and Deschanel. The audience for film skews towards the 18 to 35 demographic. So, it can be difficult for actresses over 40 to find roles in film that aren’t just the killjoy or shrewish mom. If an actress over 40 wants to keep working and have roles that are more than just “types”, series television is a viable option.

So, if actors and actresses like Field, Deschanel and Ricci find a role that helps them to grow as artists or even if it just helps to pay their bills, more power to them. Opportunities aren’t always found where one would expect them. If doing something different helps them out, good for them. They are taking responsibility for their lives. No matter who you are or what stage of live you are in, that’s always a good thing.

Sources:
http://popwatch.ew.com/2011/09/21/new-girl-zooey-deschanel-terrible/

http://screenrant.com/pan-am-series-premiere-review-mcrid-133372/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000398/

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2 Responses to “Movie Stars Go to the Small Screen”

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