Friday, December 30, 2011

Star Making Roles Part 1: Gary Marshall Edition

Ironically the night before I return back home to Boston after coming home for Christmas I am watching Pretty Woman with my family.  If you follow me on here, I watched this movie with my family the night before I went home on Thanksgiving.  This made me think about something different this time, while Pretty Woman was not Roberts first film but this movie made her a huge star. Everyone starts somewhere, sometimes some one's first film rockets them to super stardom while with other actors/actresses it takes one, two and sometimes many more films to make it big.  Gary Marshall's film had the magic with Robert's career.

Julia Roberts-Pretty Woman (1990) In the 80s Julia Roberts was the younger sister of the much more famous Eric Roberts; she had a few acting gigs on television shows like Crime Story and Miami Vice.  In 1988 Robert's landed her first major film role in the small film about a pizza place called Mystic Pizza.  One year later she scored a prime role in with an all-star cast in the film Steel Magnolias.  This film starred three academy award winners,Sally Field, Shirley McClaine, and Olympia Dukakis, the film also had the acclaimed Dolly Parton, and another ingenue Daryl Hannah.  Robert's role Shelby was the only Oscar nomination for the film; she landed a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category.  While landing an Academy Award nomination pushed her in the right direction it was her lead role opposite Richard Gere  made Roberts a huge star.  Gary Marshall's film utilized her smile, charm, and great comedic timing in order to make her one of the biggest stars of all time.  Roberts was nominated for her second Academy Award for this film, but did not win until 2000 with her film Erin Brockovich.

Marshall seems to have been the master of catapulting leading ladies in the limelight.  I have rarely seen a man help stars become massive stars so quickly.  Not only did Marshall direct Roberts in her star making role in Pretty Woman, but he also directed Anne Hathaway in her first major film, The Princess Diaries (2001).  Anne's career took a lightening bolt ride making her sought after by many directors.

Anne Hathaway-The Princess Diaries (2001) In 2001 a young girl awkwardly turned from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan before our eyes, in the film The Princess Diaries.  Hathaway had the grace, presence, charm and wonderful comedic timing that launched Julia Roberts into being a major star.  Hathaway has gone on to star in numerous films with many major stars.  At the beginning of her career Hathaway was on the path to be pigeon holed into the similar roles; she was going to always play the innocent young leading lady.  Hathaway's next two films proved this trend, they were Ella Enchanted, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.  Ann broke her good girl routine by baring it all and taking an incredibly dramatic turn in the Oscar winning film Brokeback Mountain.  Since then she has had a versatile resume which included The Devil wears Prada, Get Smart, Alice in Wonderland, Love and Other Drugs, and landed a Best Actress nomination for her performance in Rachel Getting Married.  In 2012 Ann will kick but as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, and will prove what a wonderful singer she is in the musical film version of Les Miserables.

I love watching actors/actresses becoming stars, and it has been fun to watch these two women's careers grow blossom (they have hit sour notes of course), but these women are legends.

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