On actors, writing, and the art we want to create

Because I’m just not in the mood to be cranky this morning, today’s post is a little bit lighter.

It all started with Daniel Radcliffe.

No, really.  I usually don’t pay any attention to celebrities.  I’m content to have the news section on my Google page filled with actual news, thank you very much.  I don’t watch much television and I don’t go to the movies, so I have very little interest in popular culture.

The Powers that Be must have decided that Daniel Radcliffe was big news, because there was a snippet of an interview from MTV among my news links.  Now, I have to be honest.  He completely annoys me.  I’m pretty sure it’s the age; I haven’t been 23 for a very long time now, so I’m sure I’ve forgotten what it’s like, but honestly, men that age are just kind of grating.  There is something about that stage where they all think they know everything because they haven’t yet learned that they don’t.  So please believe me when I say that I think the problem is mostly with me; I’m sure that Daniel Radcliffe is a very nice person.

Anyway, I probably should have known better than to click the link.  But in truth, I actually think Daniel Radcliffe is a pretty good actor, and, well, who doesn’t want to know what Harry Potter is up to these days?  I instantly regretted my decision.  In the interview, he was remarking on the fact that people have been asking him about the gay sex scenes in his new movie (which isn’t even a big movie; this interview was the first I’d even heard of it).  I found myself rolling my eyes.  I wanted to say, “Are you serious? Of course people are asking you about the sex scenes!  Lots and lots of people find you very hot.  They would pay a lot to see you have fake sex with anyone, and having it be another hot man is probably a bonus.”  (I am not speaking for myself here; I am very nearly old enough to be his mother, for heaven’s sake, and…no.  Just no.)  Besides, I was kind of thinking that either he (or the MTV interviewer) were responsible for making such a big deal out of it.  The whole, “You’re the one talking about it” thing, considering that (as I said) I had never even heard of this film.

And then, darn it, I started thinking about it.  Aside from the fact that at least some of the fascination might fall into the category of fetishizing gay men, there is probably a lot of truth in there about people making a big deal about it.  There are several reasons for this, one of which I’ve already mentioned above, and not all of which are bad.  I’m actually heartened that there is a really well-known actor willing to take on such a role, despite the (at least partly) negative attention.  (We can argue another time about whether or not the role should have gone to a gay actor.)  And I’m glad that there is conversation being generated.  That’s probably one step closer to meaning that in the future, such projects won’t be relegated to independent status.  We’d be just as able to go see it at the local theater as any other movie.

On the other hand, it bothers me quite a bit that it’s a big deal at all.  I do, in fact, wish people would stop getting their panties in a bunch over what projects any professional actor chooses.  Guess what?  It’s none of anyone’s business.  Last week, I got schooled on how it’s not “appropriate” for Christians to use swear words in their writing.  My first response was to be annoyed (why would anyone care that much what I put in print?); so I suppose I can relate to Daniel Radcliffe’s irritation (although I think he was likely much more subtle in his reaction than I was).  I had to stop and think about it, and I decided it wasn’t worth a reply.  I’m comfortable enough as a writer to know that all my words are carefully chosen, even the swears.  I write the things that mean something to me.  I do my best work when I am full of raw emotion and passionate fire, especially when I’m dealing with words and ideas that are considered taboo.  And all of it is my choice, not based on the opinion of one person (or several) who is critical.

So my apologies, Daniel Radcliffe.  You just keep right on doing what you’re doing.  Whether or not you annoy me at the tender age of 23, you are growing into yourself and making your art.  Don’t ever think you need to excuse yourself for that.

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If you’d like to, you can check out my guest post over at Beyond the Picket Fence.  Many thanks to Brenda Yoder for allowing me to share my parenting journey with her readers today.

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3 thoughts on “On actors, writing, and the art we want to create

  1. Daniel Radcliffe is a big ally for the LGBT community, so I think maybe the reason why he’s annoyed by so many questions about his gay sex scene is because he doesn’t want to make it sound like same-sex sex is somehow “icky” or “weird.”

    • I think that’s probably it, but he comes off as really self-righteous sometimes. Which as I mentioned is probably a function of his age and cultural differences. Ah, well.

    • Oh, and I think why I get so irritated with him is that dammit, I AGREE with him–he’s just soooo obnoxious sometimes about the way he says it. (Er, age thing again. I was obnoxious at 23 too, just more conservative evangelical about it.)

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