Are there any actors not welcome in Hollywood for political reasons? Or is the blacklist really a thing of the past?
Also , while being an accused Communist got you on the blacklist in the 1950’s - could being far right blacklist an actor today? Or is the film industry actually much more conservative than some actors would make it seem?
It’s convenient for conservatives to spread the story that Hollywood is liberal, but like any profession, the film industry has people of all political stripes. (Schwartzenegger, for instance, is certainly on the conservative end.)
There isn’t any political blacklisting going on nowadays. Money drives everything and you can be anything short of a child molester and would still be hired if you brought in an audience.
The last actor to claim blacklist was probably Cliff Robertson, and that had nothing to do with politics: Robertson discovered a studio head forging his name to checks and turned the guy in. Hollywood considered Robertson a rat and he found it hard to find work. Though whether there was cause and effect could be a matter of debate.
There doesn’t seem to be a political blacklist these days – Arnold Schwartzenegger still gets the occasional role, and he’s pretty far right, by “Hollywood” standards. Of course, Arnold’s a pretty big star, and his pictures are pretty much guaranteed to make money, which is the primary consideration of the film industry.
The only actor I can think of that couldn’t get cast these days is OJ Simpson, and possibly Robert Blake.
Scandal usually hurts if it tarnshes your image. OJ was never really an actor; he was (we thought) a likable personality. Whether or not he killed his wife, his trial for murder publicized the fact that he was a wife beater. Makes it kind of hard to laugh at him in those POLICE SQUAD films now (unless you enjoy seeing him smashed to bits in those outrageous sight gags).
Blake, on the other hand, always played tough guys. If he were to be aquitted (or even if he were to be released after serving prison time), I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone like David Lynch put him in a film.
I tend to think that there are probably more conservatives in Hollywood than is commonly thought. However, since it is the “in” thing to save the spotted owl, or protest against tax breaks, the conservative minds are probably just keeping their mouths shut so they DON’T get blacklisted.
I think actors might be “blacklisted” but not for political reasons. Rather because they’ve earned a reputation for being very difficult, addicted to drugs, or even downright kooky and that makes it hard for them to get work.
Marilyn Monroe was on her way to being on this “black list” and currently Sean Young comes to mind. Talented but not worth the trouble.
[tangent]Polanski’s coming back to the States; apparently his lawyers have just struck some sort of deal with the DA’s office whereby he pleads guilty to statutory rape (I think), but doesn’t go to jail.[/tangent]
I agree with the why and with Ms. Young who I first thought of.
One of the many, many bios of Robert Blake noted he was unemployable for much of the 80’s because he was seen as so difficult.
Shannen Doherty I belive is in the same boat, now tho A. Spelling gave her a 2nd chance (which she blew).
Mackenizie Phillips also comes to mind re drugs, she talked about how hard it was to get a 2nd chance.
if you re putting +$60Mil. on the line, or your 1 shot a series, do you really need to worry that your star (or 2nd or 3rd character) isn’t going to show up everyday … One factor over the past decade or so changed the culture a bit : Indie films - if you can get a “star” it helps the film so its not the locked studio system it had been & so harder to truly “blacklist” Drew barrymore made her comeback this way – she almost certainly would have stayed blacklisted in another era …
This is true, and Sean Young is a good example, even if the reputation isn’t fair. The reality, as I understand it, is that she clashed with James Woods on a film (the rumor is that she refused his advances), and Woods, a notorious prick, started spreading slanderous rumors about her.
A better example would be Val Kilmer. He’s an amazingly talented actor who gets bored really easily, and acts out. Look at his performance in The Island of Dr. Moreau – during the dinner table scene, where he’s supposed to just be sitting there, he’s doing all sorts of little business in the background, trying to upstage the other actors. He obviously thinks he’s wasting his time with the stuff Hollywood usually gives him, so he behaves badly to demonstrate his displeasure. It’s too bad, because when he’s actually engaged in a part, he does amazing work (Tombstone). Unfortunately, that happens rarely, so he has the reputation of being exceedingly difficult on a set (read what Tom Sizemore said about him on Red Planet), and he doesn’t get as much work as he might otherwise.
Wrong! Convicted child molestor Victor Salva directed last summer’s “hit” Jeepers Creepers. I put “hit” in quotations because it was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen and I never would have given money to a scumbag like Victor Salva had I known what a turd he was.
You need to remember that the “Blacklist” of the 1950s was an actual list of actors, writers, etc. who were alleged to have ties Communist/Marxist/Soviet ties.
There may be people today who, because of their outspoken political beliefs, difficulty to work with, general flakiness or ability to p*** off some studio executive may be judged “not worth the effort” but that isn’t the same as an actual, organized blacklist as in the 1950s.
The Smothers Brothers weren’t exactly blacklisted – CBS cancelled their show, in part because they didn’t like their political commentary, but no one tried to deny them work.
John Garfield is one star who ended up blacklisted. Also, the Hollywood Ten were all blacklisted, though they were all writers. Dalton Trumbo wrote using assumed names.
According to http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/blacklist.html, other stars blacklisted included Sam Jaffee, Lionel Stander, Lee Grant, Larry Parks, Charlie Chaplin (who was not allowed to return to the U.S., but this was late in his career and didn’t affect him that much), Zero Mostel, and Herschel Bernadi. The film The Front gave many role to ex-blacklisted actors.