Friday, February 29, 2008

Can We Talk About...Kerry Washington?

I'd like to welcome you to the first installment in what I hope is many in a segment I like to call
Can We Talk About..
Here, I will highlight a rising actor/actress/director/etc whose level of fame does not yet match their enormous talent and potential. To get the ball rolling, I've chosen none other than the lovely and talented...

Kerry Washington

D.O.B: January 31, 1977, Bronx, New York

Where you know her from: Ray, Mr. And Mrs. Smith (blink and you'll miss her), the Fantastic 4 Movies, Little Man, The Last King of Scotland

Ideal Career Trajectory: Angela Bassett, pre-What's Love Got to Do With It?
Worst Case Scenario: Angela Bassett, post-What's Love Got to Do With It?

The Rundown:

Beautiful? Check.
Talented? Check.
Young? Check.
White? Not so much.

And sadly in this game, Kerry, the last question is worth the most about of points, therefore making the first three questions meaningless. Yes, you happen to be something other than white, which means that Hollywood will not really know what to do with you. I was by no means picking on Angela Bassett. She's not one of my personal favorites, but she is talented and I think what has happened to her career kind of sucks. Things have gotten so bad for Angela Bassett, that she's been forced to (gasp) star in a Tyler Perry movie. All I can hope for you, Ms. Washington, who has dazzled in indies such as Lift and Our Song is that perhaps Hollywood and the world has changed enough that you won't suffer the same fate. Even in the critically panned She Hate Me, you showed a ferocity and intensity that only hints at your full potential. I pray that you take us there once more.

The Solution:

This is a tough one. I know the good roles for black actresses are few and far between, so I can maybe forgive...scratch that. No I can't. I Think I Love My Wife? Fantastic 4?! Little Man?!!!! This is madness and it must end. Steer clear of Chris Rock (who's funny enough when he's doing stand-up, but whose humor has not translated well to film since CB4) and the Wayans Brothers (who, on their best day, can barely muster a half-hearted chuckle from me). I can kind of forgive thankless bit parts in films like Mr. And Mrs. Smith, but don't make a habit of it. At this point, I'd almost advocate avoiding supporting turns in films like Ray and The Last King of Scotland as well, where you're almost guaranteed to be overshadowed by leading men. But whatever you do, please, please PLEASE don't let Tyler Perry get his hands on you. I don't think I could handle it.

Stop..... The........ MADNESS!!!!!!

What the Future Holds:

If a glimpse at 2008 is any indication, it looks to be an interesting and fruitful year, at the very least. I'm intrigued by Life is Hot in Cracktown, which is on my list of most-anticipated films of the year and uses the criss-crossing narrative approach to tell the story of how crack-cocaine became a widespread problem. But the film that has me the most excited is Lakeview Terrace, with co-stars Samuel L. Jackson and Patrick Wilson, where Washington plays one half of an interracial couple who is being terrorized by a black, racist LAPD officer. And it's directed by Neil LaBute, who, if you ignore 2006's abysmal remake of The Wicker Man, is often a force to be reckoned with when it comes to good, character-driven filmmaking. Let's keep our fingers

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