Hollywood Hotness is born as a result of the undeniable alchemy of circumstance, timing and luck, all of which the industry believes it can manufacture at any time and in any quantity necessary.
But true Hotness constantly defies the dream-factory model, teasing both the would-be star-makers and audiences. How else can you explain the parade of It Guys and It Gals last seen manning the checkout lines at the megastores?
Yet here we are again, and summer 2010 feels like a throwback to the old Doublemint Gum commercials with the tagline: “Double the taste, double the pleasure, double the fun.”
You want action? Well, get ready for a double-barreled shotgun blast. And if you’re looking for laughs, then watch out because these entries might tickle your double fancy.
Brody stars in Splice and Predators
It seems like a lifetime ago when Adrian Brody strolled across the stage and planted a big wet one on Halle Berry at the Academy Awards on the way to accepting the Best Actor Oscar for his work in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist. That much-deserved honor, though, felt like a coronation of sorts for a performer with a filmography that read like a who’s who of the prestige set: Barry Levinson, Spike Lee, Francis Ford Coppola, Terrence Malick and Ken Loach all tapped his talents.
Brody followed that up by working with M. Night Shyamalan (The Village), Peter Jackson (King Kong) and Wes Anderson (The Darjeeling Limited and Fantastic Mr. Fox), but it could be argued that he has far more respect and credibility among his peers and industry insiders than with audiences.
But nothing can change that impression faster than a summer box-office hit, and Brody is doubling down with a pair of science fiction actioners.
Splice, the opening act, has the makings of a smart sleeper. In it, Brody and Sarah Polley play young scientists experimenting on a gene project that ends up producing a new and potentially dangerous species. Sci-fi fans might imagine this as a spiritual cousin to Moon, last year’s indie mind-bender from Duncan Jones.
Of course, the real action for Brody will likely be his tour of duty in the Robert Rodriguez production Predators from director Nimrod Antal (Vacancy and Armored). After two installments of Aliens vs. Predators, Rodriguez seized control of the franchise, and it appears that he and Antal have taken it back to its original roots with the Predators hunting a group of disparate mercenaries for the thrill of the kill with Brody as the hunted’s nominal leader.
If he can beat the deadly hunters at their own game, Brody might finally emerge as a true leader of the new Hollywood pack.
Hill stars in Get Him to the Greek and Cyrus
Jonah Hill is a high council member of the Judd Apatow troupe thanks to his memorable turns in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Funny People, but he’s added his comic charms to a host of other projects (from I Heart Huckabees and The Invention of Lying to Grandma’s Boy and Click).
Surprisingly for such a recognizable performer, Hill has worked his magic almost exclusively in supporting roles — the exception being his co-lead in Superbad opposite Michael Cera.
This summer, though, he’s sharing top billing again in a pair of films that could catapult him out of the second tier and into the big leagues.
Get Him to the Greek is a lateral sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall that turns the spotlight on Russell Brand’s hard-partying Rock star Aldous Snow. Hill returns as well, but not as his fawning hotel employee (who’s probably still in Hawaii kissing the Aldous Snow posters on this bedroom wall). Instead, he’s a record company flunky dispatched to escort Snow to an epic benefit show at the Greek.
The mismatched buddy dynamics between Hill and Brand certainly has potential, since Hill seemingly is at his best bouncing off others. But the real test for him will come in Cyrus, the latest dark comedy from the Duplass brothers, where he plays the title character, the adult son of a woman (Marisa Tomei) on the verge of a new relationship with an awkward divorce (John C. Reilly).
Initially the story focuses on Reilly’s character, but once the arrestedly developed Cyrus enters the picture the film seems to realign around him, which makes Hill the center of attention. Bright lights, big star turn. (tt stern-enzi)