Variety columnist Anne Thompson has written an interesting piece titled "U.S. short on tough guy actors." "Where have the manly movie stars gone?" she asks. Why do directors, who could once turn to Steve McQueen (left), now need to look outside America for a macho man? (Hello, Russell Crowe, Jason Statham, and Gerard Butler.)
She deems Johnny Depp "fey" (at least in the Pirates trilogy), Brendan Fraser "goofy" (that’s just his dual citizenship with Canada), Tom Cruise "out of his league" (Lions for Lambs) and comic-book superheroes Brandon Routh, Edward Norton, and Tobey Maguire all "boy-men." She acknowledges that we do have some actors — over the age of 50 — with enough
balls weight to play the U.S. president (Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Tommy Lee Jones). And that a few men are "seasoning well" (Will Smith, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Nicolas Cage… just go with her on that last one). And yet, we still need to outsource many of our most rugged roles.
So, help Hollywood out: Are there "manly" American actors they’re overlooking?* Thompson offers up Mad Men star Jon Hamm, and argues that his "laconic, mysterious, and masculine" presence is one explanation for that show’s success. I concur. I find it curious that she didn’t bother to address Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (right), who can certainly kick ass and take names (and wear a suit). Or even Matthew McConaughey, who had the weightiest role in Tropic Thunder. It’s because macho men don’t really have that white of teeth, isn’t it?
* Sorry, Mom, David James Elliott is Canadian.
addCredit(“Steve McQueen: Everett Collection; Dwayne Johnson: Tracy Bennett”)