Bad thread title. I suspect this has been discussed before, but yikes, how do you search for it? Maybe y’all can help. But I digress.
Lately, I’ve been a little surprised by two developments engaged in by famous actors (Hollywood and UK) that I thought was only rarely ever done:
- Appear in TV commercials.
- Make fun of their (current) character on a comedy sketch, using ideas, themes and memes from the “still in theaters” media property.
As far as famous movie actors appearing on TV, especially in commercials, it just wan’t done all that often. I think there once was a taboo of sorts associated with the cheap crassness of TV? So that highly paid and respected actors just stayed away. If you actually DID appear in a TV commercial it could mean you were retired and just didn’t care, or maybe you were desperate for money and exposure.
However, perhaps starting with the Japanese trend of hiring famous Hollywood types to fly over to Japan, get paid upwards of $1 Million, and within a few days shoot a commercial then leave, we started seeing such actors appear on US TV. I definitely recall seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger appearing in various Japanese TV commercials, and this was a well known “thing” about 20 years ago. It’s even the story line in the movie “Lost in Translation,” in which the Bill Murray character is a famous US actor in Japan briefly to film a Suntory Whiskey commercial or two.
(FWIW, they also used visiting American athletes, typically baseball players, in commercials an awful lot, thanks to the celebrity status these guys enjoyed in Japan. But outside of Japan, I had no idea who they were, not being much of a baseball fan myself…)
As for making fun of the hot property that has paved your way to fame and fortune, I have seen this multiple times recently, and am not sure what to think of it. Could it be a new cultural norm? I am not sure that wasn’t always the case. Two recent examples:
a. Commercials, probably mostly European, using Game of Thrones actors to reprise their roles (loosely, in the case of The Mountain, or exactly, in the case of the "Shame, shame! sequence). Holy cow. Link.
b. Saturday Night Live sketch, featuring Adam Driver, playing Kylo Ren as Imperial Navy intern, in a mock Undercover Boss episode. It’s actually pretty darn funny, he (famously?) says “OK Boomer” to a room full of millennials. Link.
Yeah, I can think of some similar instances in the past, like the Star Wars Holiday special and Mark Hamill’s appearance on the Muppet Show. I just can’t get past the fact that they’re diluting their brand, making fun of it, while the show / movie is still being marketed. And we’re talking the HUGE brands, like Star Wars and GOT.
I must be totally out of it, if this is a common thing. Is it?