This morning, I read an article in the Hollywood Reporter that featured an interview on that venerable show of truth and good taste, the Howard Stern Show, with Sally Fields.
For those not in the know, Sally Field was huge in the 70’s, known for movies like Smokey and the Bandit, it’s sorta lame sequel, and some other movies that gave her an Oscar somewhere along the way. Oh, and she played Forest Gump’s Mom, despite not being that much older than Tom Hanks. But for this interview, she mentioned her lackluster work in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. She mentioned that she did it as a favour for the producer, who was a friend of hers, and found the work crappy, saying “You can’t put 10 lbs of shit in a 5 lbs bag.”
Now before you think I’m too flip, Sally Field (or “The Sally” as one person called her in reply to my less-than-favourable comment about her), is truly an accomplished actor. She has a knack for making her characters relatable, strong, dignified, and she has excellent comic timing. I think she is a great actor. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was not the best of the whole Spider-Man movies, but still better than Spider-Man 3.
So this blog isn’t about her, the movie, or even that fanboy who refers to her as “The Sally”. This is about actors in general. To get more to the point, I refer back to something Michael Bay once said about whiney actors in his Transformer movies.
Now normally, I don’t take much of what Michael Bay says seriously. He makes big, bombastic movies known for their explosions and imagery rather than for their depth. But on actors acting in his movies, I did, and still do, agree with what he said…
“Do you ever get sick of actors that make $15 million a picture, or even $200,000 for voiceover work that took a brisk one hour and 43 minutes to complete, and then complain about their jobs?
With all the problems facing our world today, do these grumbling thespians really think people reading the news actually care about trivial complaints that their job wasn’t “artistic enough” or “fulfilling enough”? What happened to people who had integrity, who did a job, got paid for their hard work, and just smiled afterward? Be happy you even have a job — let alone a job that pays you more than 98% of the people in America.”
Michael Bay, responding to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, reposted from A.V. Club
He may be the king of explosions, Transformer movies, and, well, more explosions, but he definitely has a point here.
If I worked at a typical job for 3-6 months, I might make $17,000, probably before taxes. In that same time frame, some actors could make from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions. To that into some context, Movie Extras get paid around $148/ day. They get an increase of $50 for wearing a hairpiece, or working in crappy weather. Then there’s overtime, which is a full days pay for every hour after your scheduled time. That’s more than I make in a day.
The movie industry pays its people well. There are good reasons for it. It can be difficult work, physically, emotional, you could be away from family, and so on. But there are many jobs that exert similar wear and tear on a person and family, yet they don;t get millions of dollars for a few months work.
One of my favour examples of actors thinking they are worth more than they are is Bruce Willis. I love his work. He’s one of my favourite actors. But when he was offered $3 million to work 3 days on the set of Expendables 3, he declined. He wanted $4 million. Fortunately, the producers, and Sly Stallone I’m guessing, declined and in exchange, they got Harrison Ford.
Everyone has the right to complain about their job. But for people who make millions every time they start a movie, they should be complaining a little less, if at all. With so many people out there unemployed, working three or more jobs just to make ends meet, or working crap jobs because the system seems to be working against anyone who tries to improve their station in life, all actors should bless their stars and their hard work for getting anything, even if it is just a few scenes in a lame-ass Spider-Man movie.
I often wonder how some of these whiney actors would handle working at McDonalds, or in a pharmacy, as a teacher of a kindergarten class, a greeter at Walmart, or one of the many jobs that is done by those that work for them. I wonder how long they would last without a break to run to their trailer and drink their soy beverage, weep to their dyed-pink Chihuahua, or try to find understanding in their favourite philosophy book. They would quickly learn they can’t afford any of that shit because they work a regular job.
There are no doubt actors who are very grateful for the career they have. But for those who whine, just remember, there are billions of people out there who have it worse.
So STOP WHINING!