Magazine article Variety

The Film Is the Real Star

Magazine article Variety

The Film Is the Real Star

Article excerpt

STORY BY JENELLE RILEY

ILLUSTRATION BY OLIVER BARRETT

Twenty years ago, Tom Cruise, the hottest star in Hollywood, took a long-defunct TV series and decided to build a franchise. Five films later, with a sixth on the way, the "Mission: Impossible" series has grossed more than $2 billion worldwide. Along the way, such actors as Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Renner have dropped by. But for Ethan Hunt's last outing, "Rogue Nation," something interesting happened: a mostly unknown actress named Rebecca Ferguson stole the show. She's since gone on to appear in "The Girl on the Train" and "Life."

With a few exceptions, stars such as Cruise are no longer starting the franchises -the franchises are making stars of their actors. Best known for his work as lovable doofus Andy Dwyer on "Parks and Recreation," Chris Pratt became a megastar by landing the lead in "Guardians of the Galaxy" and then taking over a massive franchise with "Jurassic World." Now he commands $12 million to headline a film like "Passengers," which was sold primarily on his and Jennifer Lawrence's star power.

"Guardians" writer-director James Gunn says when casting the role of Star Lord, he was never pressured to use a big name. "I was only pressured to find the best actors possible," says Gunn. He then quips, "But I am giving a break to this young actor in the next film named Sylvester Stallone."

Variety film critic and features writer Guy Lodge concurs that recent years have seen the star vehicle somewhat diminished. …

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