Monday, April 11, 2016

"The Boss" and Career Metamorphosis

Renaissance man. Wearer of many hats. Multi-tasker.  Jack of all trades. [I'm just realizing that all these idioms are so masculine.]

There has always been a lot of labels for someone who takes on many different jobs or is tremendous at multiple skills. These terms especially become relevant in today's world, as it seems like it is only becoming more and more popular for most people (out of necessity or fun) to have multiple jobs and interests that takes them throughout their day to day life.

Of course this doesn't just apply to us regular joe's (or how about regular jane's, eh?) - it is also very relevant for those working in the entertainment industry, especially actors. Some actors are good at one thing and will stick to gross out comedy or super serious period dramas for their whole life. Then there are actors that are continually morphing into new characters and performing in different mediums every time you see them - from theater, to TV, to the big screen.

There are even those bold, versatile entertainers, that have switched from being a musician to an actor. Sometimes you just never know what opportunities will arise and where that new move will advance you down the path of your life.

Melissa McCarthy knows this better than any performer in recent years.

She may be the star of the number one movie at the box office this weekend (The Boss), but one of her old hats got put back on the rack again this week. After months of drama and stress for fans, it was finally announced that McCarthy will be returning to the show that made her famous after all! New episodes of Gilmore Girls  without Sookie St. James would have been miserable - she provides a large chunk of bubbly heart, laughter, amazing cooking accidents, and makes up one half of the tremendous friend duo with Lorelai Gilmore. Even if she's only able be part of one scene, that's better than nothing at all.

Many years after leaving Stars Hollow, McCarthy became a bona fide movie star after Bridesmaids rocketed her into the spotlight and led to her first Oscar nomination. She's now considered top billing on all her movies, is producing her own scripts, and has become the muse of director/writer Paul Fieg (from former Heavyweights fame - never forget). What makes McCarthy admirable (other than her top notch lip sync skills), is that all her success hasn't gotten to her head (or at least it doesn't appear to have) and she couldn't be more thrilled to return to a TV show that used to find its home on a little network called the WB.

Other people who have made the transition to bigger stardom don't always like reflecting on their past. I'm mostly just referring to Mark Wahlberg. Calling him Marky Mark today is only for the bold. Allegedly he does not get "Good Vibrations" from the past. [Terrible pun definitely intended.]

Wahlberg really did conquer a rarity.  The transition from TV to the big screen is one hurdle, but morphing from a singer to an acclaimed actor is more comparable to that time Homer tried to skateboard over the Springfield Gorge. There's probably someone out there that could make that jump, but more will crash down to the bottom of the ravine.

Time has shown that it is definitely much harder for musicians to be taken seriously as actors. Yet, there are some legends who have successfully made the jump.

I got talking about Cher's Twitter presence yesterday (per usual - and if you want to live your best life you too should join Twitter just to read her tweets, which showcase the only proper way to use emojis ) and the conversation turned to people who started as singers and then successfully became movie stars. It's not about Mariah's turn in Glitter, or Christina's take on Burlesque, or Vanilla Ice's foray into Cool As Ice - these were one off gigs. I'm talking about actors who you can watch in a movie and you completely forget all about the fact that they were singers at one point in their life. The small group that fall into this category have found immense success - even being nominated for numerous Academy Awards.

Ultimately, acting wasn't just a whim for singers like Cher, Wahlberg, Dolly Parton, Will Smith, or Queen Latifah.

Out of that list, Dolly and Cher have since reverted back to their singer/performer status after their string of hit movie performances in the 80s and 90s (except for when they bring out the big acting guns for more recent flicks like Burlesque and Joyful Noise).

There's always an ebb and flow to everyone's life, but I don't see Wahlberg ever reverting back to his musical roots, but hey, you never know. The need to release some tunes might start pumping back into his veins.

There's also nothing wrong with moving on and looking toward bigger success. Much like McCarthy, the transition from TV actor to movie star status can happen, but it just might take some time. People like Jennifer Aniston, Tina Fey, Chris Pratt, and Steve Carell all got their start on the small screen and have now only continued to take over the entertainment world.

It is possible to convince people that you are capable of more than one thing, even if it takes awhile. But that doesn't mean that you always have to leave everything from your past behind.

Based on the box office numbers, the world can't get enough of the hilariously brassy characters that McCarthy has become known for in the film world, and yeah, I love it all too. Although, I only hope that in between all that lovely cursing and hilarious hi-jinx, McCarthy gets the opportunity (like in the wonderful St. Vincent) to be the leading lady that shows off some of that old school Sookie St. James charisma on the big screen as well.

Until next time. 

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