Sad Moments in an Actor's Life

I just saw this Keurig ad, starring James Corden:

Just imagine that you're a famous, comedic, British actor. Keurig calls you up and says, "Well so...what we'd like is that you come here, to America, and do a funny commercial. But you have to promise that you leave it to us and our writers to make it funny, oh and please don't use your actual British accent. We want something posh. Also, do you mind if we slather you with so much makeup that your eyebrows disappear?"


Oh please. Since when has *any *British actor ever refused a paycheck?

A sound retort. But, watching him, I don’t feel like he’s seeing the beauty of the house that he’s building behind his eyes.

cough Daniel Day-Lewis cough cough

Not really seeing how this is different from literally every other celebrity endorsement, ever.

You don’t get a true sense of how much actors sell out until you watch commercials that they do in other countries. If U.S. celebrities (and Corden currently is one - his show is produced here) make U.S. commercials, they know they’re going to air to their existing fans. It’s when they make ads for Germany or Japan on the side that they’ve truly sold out.

For more, see Lost In Translation.

Well, it is a commercial aimed at an American audience who know him more as the host of Late Late Show. And since he does that show five days a week it isn’t really like he had to “come here” to do the commercial. And the accent is basically exactly how he speaks on his show, and the humor is similar.

Not really seeing the point here.

Agreed on both counts.

Back in the late 1990s, in the U.S., there was a TV show, JAG, that featured an actor named Trevor Goddard as a love interest to the Catherine Bell character. At some point after he was written out of the show he did a commercial for a vacuum cleaner, I don’t recall the brand. Some time after that he died by suicide. It’s not a stretch to think his fall from TV to commercials had something to do with it.

Corden’s commercial wasn’t any worse than William Shatner pitching for Loblaws. This was aired during the mid to late 70s, when the original “Star Trek” was a massive syndication success and the show had an extremely devoted fan following. He just didn’t get residuals for reruns for Trek and hence wasn’t making money off his new cult status.

And then there’s Orson Welles’ ads for Paul Masson wines. Now THAT was an ignominous end of a career.

Green pea-ness!

I always had the impression that while US actors have historically been very hung up on the notion that “I’m a *film *actor; I don’t do television.” (or sub in TV and theater), or TV and commercials, etc…), British actors have been much less elitist about it, bouncing from one to the other as work presents itself.

So while you’re unlikely to see say… George Clooney doing a TV series anytime soon, you’ll see Benedict Cumberbatch going between TV, movies and commercials without a hitch.

Lately, though, we’ve seen film actors do more television series. Julia Roberts is on Homecoming on Amazon and Matthew McConaughey was on True Detective on HBO. It helps that these are often limited in scope (I think Matthew McConaughey’s season of True Detective was only ten episodes) and they’re also deliberately meant as prestige shows. Awards season bait, in other words.

At first, I was waiting for Shatner to tear off his shirt. Then, by the end, I was feeling like he was about to need to file a sexual harassment warning on that penguin.

But there are some pretty key differences between that ad and Corden’s:

  1. Shatner doesn’t come across as sad.
  2. They didn’t bring in Shatner as a Canadian and then tell him, “No, you’re doing Canadian wrong. Do it differently. More Canadian.”

Indeed, but bigger names can obviously be a bit picky about what they do. Some ads involving very well-established actors can be like mini-sitcoms:

[On Jaws: The Revenge]
I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.

– Michael Caine

Other than those feeble Nespresso commercials? But he can practically phone those in.

Clooney started in TV (Roseanne & ER), and is currently doing a series of TV commercials for Nespresso. So I don’t see your point.

Also E/R and Facts of Life

going from playing the lead to playing the lead’s parent.