Summer Muscle; It's Time to Sit Back, Relax and Try to Look Up Brad Pitt's Skirt. Hollywood Hasn't Given Many Women Lead Roles, So Here Are a Few Good Men

Newsweek International, May 10, 2004 | Go to article overview
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Summer Muscle; It's Time to Sit Back, Relax and Try to Look Up Brad Pitt's Skirt. Hollywood Hasn't Given Many Women Lead Roles, So Here Are a Few Good Men


Byline: Sean Smith and Devin Gordon

Don't blame us--Hollywood decided long ago that summer is testosterone time. And we don't greenlight the movies, we just write about them. So with apologies to Halle Berry ("Catwoman"), Nicole Kidman ("The Stepford Wives") and the enchanting Anne Hathaway ("The Princess Diaries 2"), what follows are four insightful pages of beefcake. Hollywood knows that most women won't object to the man show, given that the season's filled with so many big names. Jackman. Hanks. Washington. Garcia Bernal. Oh yeah, plus Mike Myers as Shrek. (Hey, Princess Fiona thinks he's foxy.) So let your cinematic fantasies heat up with the weather and take a sneak peek at our top picks of the season.

Tobey Maguire--SPIDER-MAN 2

As glamorous as it may sound, life as a superhero is more like the worst job you've never had: long hours, lousy pay and a really hostile work environment. It's all getting to be a bit much for college freshman Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man. On top of protecting the innocent from the forces of evil, Parker is working two (other) jobs just to cover the rent and struggling in his classes and caring for his widowed aunt and pining for the girl he loves (Kirsten Dunst). In "Spider-Man 2," the sequel to 2002's $403 million smash hit, our hero is "pretty stressed out," says Tobey Maguire, the man who plays him. "He's growing weary of his lifestyle. He's dying to live a normal life." But standing in his way is Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), a steeltentacled new villain who, like Spidey, is the beneficiary of science gone awry. Maguire promises that part two, also directed by Sam Raimi, will blow away the original--and that Doc Ock is a chief reason why. "The Green Goblin [the first film's antagonist] was a green guy on a glider." Maguire laughs. "Which is, you know, that's cool. Doc Ock is just a better cinematic villain. And I love him from the comics. He was always the coolest bad guy." May the best freak of nature win.

Brad Pitt--TROY

Yes, he looks really hot in leather. But the question is, does it matter? Brad Pitt's stardom has proved oddly capricious. His face may sell magazines, but his box-office record has been spotty. (You can decide for yourself about his acting.) Other than "Ocean's Eleven," which was an ensemble movie, Pitt hasn't made a movie that grossed more than $100 million since the gruesome thriller "Seven," and that was nine years ago. True, the material he chooses (e.g., "Fight Club") isn't always meant to be commercial. But what's even more problematic is that his largest fan base is female, and most of his movies are targeted to men. That makes the epic "Troy" a major risk. Warner Bros. has a reported $200 million riding on Pitt's appeal, but this adaptation of the Iliad is rated R, which limits the massive teen audience. The movie will fail without a strong female turnout. Will women go? Pitt is said to flash, among other things, his Achilles' rear, and that's got to be worth at least $100 million.

Tom Hanks--THE TERMINAL

He's the most consistently bankable star on the planet--his movies have grossed $5 billion worldwide--and he's never been an action hero or a sex symbol. He's never even made a sequel. OK, yes, there was "Toy Story 2," but the point is that Tom Hanks is not generally a summer-movie kinda guy. "The Terminal," directed by Steven Spielberg, isn't a summer kinda movie, either. Hanks plays a Balkan man who arrives at New York's JFK airport and learns that there's been a coup in his country. His passport is invalid. He can't go home, and he can't enter the United States. Trapped for nine months, he discovers America from the wrong side of the immigration desk. "I couldn't believe nobody had thought of this before," Hanks says. "If you've ever been in a foreign country and you can't figure out how anything works, it's scary." The film marks the first time Hanks has played a character who's not American, which is amazing, isn't it?

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