Hollywood, that fickle beast, is always churning out fresh talent for the public to feast upon. In the past few years Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Keira Knightley, and Katie Holmes have all garnered huge publicity and made the leap to “leading lady” status. Knightley and Portman have carried films while Scarlett remains a mysterious bombshell who may or may not know how to give a great performance. Katie is famous because of her baby’s daddy, but she may gain some credibility with Thank You for Smoking.
Regardless, we aren’t here to discuss them because chances are you’ve heard of them. I want to check out the actresses nipping at their heels, ready to lay claim to the “bankable star” crown. I’ll list my contenders and then give my pick for Actress who will make the most progress in the public’s eye for the year 2006.
Pros: Elf showed she can carry a romantic lead. Cons: She seems to only be choosing independent projects.
Rosamund Pike (Age: 27) Biggest Flop:Doom Biggest Commercial Film:Die Another Day Biggest Critical Film:Pride and Prejudice 2006 Chance for Breakthrough:Fracture Pros: She was fantastic in Pride and Prejudice; Fracture has director in Hoblit who has delivered. Cons: Choosing Doom suggests she’ll take the cash which waters down stardom chances.
Pros: Brokeback Mountain has put her right on the edge of being huge. Cons: Has a history of choosing bad films, her role in The Hawk is Dying is minimal and she doesn’t have another major project until 2007.
Sarah Chalke (Age: 29) Biggest Flop:Cake Biggest Commercial Film: N/A Biggest Critical Film: N/A 2006 Chance for Breakthrough:Chaos Theory
Pros: Her comedic timing on “Scrubs” gives her a shot at romantic comedies. Cons: Most people couldn’t pick her out of a lineup.
Katherine Heigl (Age: 27) Biggest Flop: N/A Biggest Commercial Film: N/A Biggest Critical Film: N/A 2006 Chance for Breakthrough:Caffeine Pros: Has the hit show of the year in “Grey’s Anatomy“. Cons: Seems to be sticking with TV projects.
Let’s eliminate the two nurses, Chalke and Heigl right off the bat. Yeah, I may have fallen victim to a fetish but the American public won’t see enough of these two to make a difference. Adios also to Michelle Williams who seems to be setting up for a big splash in 2007. Our last good-bye (of this paragraph) goes to Zooey, who is not in enough big name films to make the leap this year.
This leaves us with a final four of Paquin, Gyllenhaal, Lohman and Pike. To make it to the precipice of stardom you have to already have the talent and looks. What it comes down to is how well you choose roles. Like Indiana Jones you must not choose poorly or a B-level fait awaits you. With that in mind let’s eliminate Rosamund Pike because 1. she chose Doom and 2. Fracture has Ryan Gosling in it. Next up we take down Alison Lohman because The Big White has a huge cast and an unproven director. That’s a crapshoot at best.
Which leaves us Gyllenhaal vs. Paquin for all the marbles. Gyllenhaal is backed by director Marc Forster who directed Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland (on the positive) and Stay (on the negative). Well, two out of three ain’t bad and he bagged the prestigious Kite Runner job too. Gyllenhaal’s current resume is superior to Ms. Paquin’s at this juncture.
On the other hand Paquin is five years younger and has two major shots this year. X-Men: The Last Stand everyone already knows about but just as important is Margaret which has man candy Mark Ruffalo and Matt Damon in it. Director Kenneth Lonergan wrote the screenplay for Gangs of New York which had moments of brilliance in it. At the end of the day I’m taking the five years and the two flicks vs. one. Give me Anna Paquin or give me death is my slogan for this year, ladies and gents, Anna Paquin your PULSE “It Girl” for 2006 (note: not redeemable for prizes).