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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Friday, September 30, 2005

Who Can It Be Now?

In Hollywood, there are certain prototypes for actors. One actor becomes famous for said type and before you know it, agents are scouring the planet looking for someone who is just like that someone. See, there's one camp that believes in originality. This camp, however, is the direct opposite of those who subscribe to the "ain't broke, don't fix it" tactics of casting.

Years ago, actor John Larroquette said it perfectly. Luckily I wrote it down.
"There are five stages of an actor:
1. John who?
2. Get me John Larroquette.
3. Get me a young John Larroquette.
4. Get me a John Larroquette type.
5. John who?"

Here's a few more examples. A few years ago they touted Brad Pitt as the new Robert Redford. They even, don't laugh, called Scott Wolf the next Tom Cruise. Matthew McConaughey was the next Paul Newman, and now Josh Lucas is the new poor man's McConaughey. It's a virtual merry-go-round of actors, if you will.

There are 3 actors that fit into this trend perfectly, only they break the mold by transcending time. Instead of being of the same type from different time periods, they are the same type of the same time period. These actors are Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Topher Grace.

Now I'm well aware of the fact that there have been other actors that have been popular simultaneously who also have similarities. But the amazing thing about this trio is that they all have the everyman look. They're the average joe guy you know. The nice guy who finishes last, except for in the movies. Only now the one guy who would have finished last is actually three guys who finish first and quite frankly, that doesn't make sense at all.

Up until now, the paths of these men have been relatively parallel, but I have no doubt they have come close to intersecting more than a few times. Originally Tobey was at head of the pack, hands down. He ruled his Cider House. He made Pleasantville, umm, pleasant. He IS Spider Man.

But then the tides changed. Tobey's reign become to be threatened by the increasing popularity of Jake "Donnie Darko" Gyllenhaal. In fact, as I type this, Hollywood is in the throws of being taken over by not one, but two Gyllenhaals. Incidentally, Maggie is also a "understudy" replacing Parker Posey as indie movie queen...until she goes mainstream that is, which is only a matter of time. Here me now, believe it later.

Topher played it the safest out of the group. While the others were to duke it out on the big screen, Topher "Don't Call Me Christopher" Grace, was content to rake in the dough on a steady sitcom salary for That 70's Show. But then Ashton Kutcher happened. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty certain Topher's internal dialogue went something like this:

"Ashton is another movie...again? And now he's all over the press for babysitting dating Demi Moore, too? What does this guy have that I don't? Ok, so maybe he was a Calvin Klein model but looks can't be everything, right? I mean just look at Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. Wait a second..."

And then my friends, the seed was planted.

Before you know it Topher was all about making the move from tv to film, striking while the iron was hot. First came Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, then came In Good Company, next comes Topher... with a carriage of money.

So now, it's anyone's game. According to IMDB, the 24 year old Jake is in five movies that haven't come out yet. The 30 year old Tobey is still going strong with four movies yet to be released. And the 27 year old Topher has one movie in the works.

But it's not about the quantity, it's the quality, right? So in that case, let me just say this. Remember that one movie that Topher is in? Well,..are you sitting down? It's the very same movie Tobey is in. You might have heard of it. I'm not sure. It's a little diddy called Spiderman 3.

This is where I become confused. Putting Tobey and Topher in the same movie. Is that ingenious or just incredibly stupid? In one sense, these actors need not compete for audiences. This way you get two "guys you don't know but feel like ya know" for the price of one. But then I think of the poor director, trying to differentiate between the two, most certainly ruing the day they made that casting decision.

In the future, however, this madness has got to stop. In my opinion, there's simply no need for all three of these men. Why divvy the parts between 3 guys when one guy could have a slew of good parts all for himself?

That's why I propose a solution we can all agree upon. I vote for Topher, hands down. He's the most understated, but arguably the most talented of the three. He's the dark horse of the average guys, if you will. He's a master at sarcasm and dare I say it, the cutest of the three. He's also had the least amount of opportunity thus far. It's time there's a new quasi king in town and Topher is just the man for the job.

So you call the Gyllenhaal camp. I'll call the Maguires. Be succinct and to the point. Tell them we'd like to thank them for the services they rendered, but really, we no longer need them at this time.



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