This just in: American actors not manly enough

Dwaynejohnson_lVariety 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”)

Comments (51 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 4
  • keiren63

    Matthew MacC never comes off as a grown man–he constantly plays the boy-man. Dwayne Johnson always manages some level of girly moment in his movies for levity and to show a different side of him: macho men don’t have girly sides. I’ve said to people that it’s interesting that today’s stars don’t look like “grown-ups” the way past stars do. I think that’s one of the reasons Daniel Craig made such a splash as Bond: he looks like a grown man. And there’s Clive Owen…although, of course, the UK gives us Jude Law, yet another fey boy-man.

  • Janie

    I guess I can see where she’s coming from- the days of John Wayne and Steve McQueen are over. But America has still got some manly men in movies and television. I would offer up Rescue Me’s Denis Leary. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan- I’m betting his performance as The Comedian in Watchmen will blow us all away with macho-ness.

  • Mike

    Nathan Fillion fits the bill, but can’t seem to find tyhe right project to launch him into that arena.

  • Broadway Baby

    These seven ‘seasoning well’ names are making manly man movies right this second – what does she want or mean for that matter?

  • BrandonK

    The macho man isn’t really in vogue anymore, any more than Marilyn Monroe-style female vapidity is. Times change, get used to it.

  • Nose

    I don’t mean to be so nitpicky on a Monday morning, but it’s Gerard Butler, not Gerald, and Mike, Nathan Fillion is from Canada too…we make ‘em extra awesome up here.

  • Melinda65

    I agree with keiren63–Matthew McC is, at most, a boy-man. He’s not macho, and to me, not even attractive.
    Mike, I agree with you about Nathan Fillion, but since he’s Canadian, how about another Firefly vet, Adam Baldwin? He deserves to be a big-time actor more than those OTHER Baldwins.

  • junior

    I hate when people write articles like this because there are always exceptions and it doesn’t really matter anyway. Is anyone really clamoring to go back to the sexist chauvinistic days of the alpha-male leading man? Exactly. And to offer Hamm as an example of manliness is funny given that “Mad Men” tries to break down that image in every episode.

  • anonymoose

    Dennis Leary?
    The whinebucket?
    Nope. Too babyish. There are no manly men in American movies anymore but that’s probably because the manly men have real jobs. MAYBE The Rock would count, but I don’t think of him so much as manly as an insecure metrosexual who is overcompensating for something. But then again, when the best the rest of the world has to offer is Jason Statham (a balding, middle aged puny runt with an oversized ego) I dare say that we’re not the only ones in trouble.

  • LisaMama

    What about Denzel Washington? Keifer Sutherland? Michael Chiklis (from The Shield)?

  • aymzer

    Nose, it is still Tuesday even in Canada right? J/K

  • M

    Clint Eastwood is still the man! Matthew McConaughey is a bongo-playing raging metrosexual . . .

  • LadyFabry

    I’m just going to throw these out there..Casey Affleck and Mark Wahlburg. It seems to me that these two guys can hold there own in a movie.

  • LadyFabry

    I’m just going to throw these out there..Casey Affleck and Mark Wahlburg. It seems to me that these two guys can hold there own in a movie.

  • LadyFabry

    I’m just going to throw these out there..Casey Affleck and Mark Wahlburg. It seems to me that these two guys can hold there own in a movie.

Page: 1 2 3 4
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by VIP