July 30, 2008

Is Katie Ready for Broadway?

Few things in life are surprising any more. Pamela Anderson's latest marriage tanks. Not surprising. The Hogan family is spoiled, self-centered and incredibly vapid. Not surprising. Kim Kardashian gets a reality show and her ass wants its own SAG card. Not surprising. Katie Holmes on Broadway? Surprising.

Let's analyze. Katie Holmes is not known as a serious thespian. Her biggest role to date has been playing the amaaaaazing wifebot of Tom Cruise and she has struggled with that role. Prior to becoming Mrs. Cruise, her biggest gig to date was playing an attorney opposite Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Begins, most definitely the highest grossing movie she's ever appeared in. Ms. Holmes couldn't pull that off. Rather than being the tough, determined and feisty lady that Wayne/Batman deservedly pines for, Holmes' Rachel is a meek little mouse that squeaks out her lines and acts about as indignant as a petulant child who is being sent to bed early. This is the civilian public service crusader who is going to clean up Gotham City? Would Superman have fallen head over heels for Lois Lane had she been a simpering little sally who would faint at the drop of a hat? (Speaking of which, Holmes' best scenes in the film were, in fact, the scenes where she was unconscious.)

Since grasping that gold ring of being Mrs. Cruise, Holmes has only signed on to one other project - - the questionable Mad Money. For her "comeback", Holmes was criticized by Wall Street Journal reviewer Joe Morganstern as being a painfully low point in the dismal movie and who "pops her eyes, scrunches her nose and shakes her booty in lieu of acting."

Surely such talents were not what attracted the producers of All My Sons. Surely it wasn't John Lithgow's ability to pop his eyes, scrunch his nose or shake his booty that garnered him the role. Mr. Lithgow (and Dianne Wiest and Patrick Wilson) earned their roles by sheer talent and proving themselves in other stage roles, or on the screen. In other words, they have paid their dues. In spades.

What has Katie Holmes done to earn the role of Ann? She hasn't proven she can carry a secondary part in a movie, much less on stage. How is she going to carry her part on stage, if she is continually the weakest link on film, a medium where scenes can be reshot until they are right? There are no reshoots on the stage. No director to yell "Cut!" because you sound meek or aren't emoting enough.

Let's be honest. Katie Holmes has no business being on the Broadway stage. She has been miscast in films before but this is more than just miscasting. This is utter stunt casting at its finest. The producers don't want Katie Holmes the Actress. They want Katie Holmes the Sideshow. They want the tabloid equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster, the Bigfoot. Katie Holmes has become that oddity. She may never have been a particularly adept actress, but she was young and she was cute and she didn't appear as genuinely weird as she does now, with her Scientology-loving hubby at her side, dragging her to and fro, looking nearly three times her age and as if she's in desperate need of a good nap and a big sandwich.

Should Holmes actually go through with this Broadway debut, and should she not break out the big guns of acting that she has yet to demonstrate, it may signal the end of her career. I, for one, don't think she has it in her. If she can't make me believe that she really and truly loves her husband and they have a real, genuine marriage, how is she going to make me believe she is Ann or anybody else? And she's acting opposite some serious thespians, not fellow teens on a soapy melodrama. Her audience isn't going to be squealing teenage girls, but subtly nuanced appreciators of the stage who aren't going to pay good money to gawk at Tom Cruise's current wife.

So you'd better bring all you've got, Ms. Holmes. Otherwise I think that Lithgow and Wiest will be eating you for lunch.

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