Separating the men from the screen

Last week we talked about liking music but not being necessarily keen on the musician. This week it’s about separating the TV shows and the films from the man. 

News broke about Jussie Smollett being found not guilty for allegedly setting up a homophobic attack on himself. Just last week we learned that the city of Chicago has officially sued “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett to reimburse the costs of its investigation into his alleged attack in January.

And as for the whole Harvey Weinstein debacle ….. well it seems to have cooled a little until he goes back to court… 

What do these two have in common, besides controversy? Jussie hired the same PR firm that Weinstein used following his allegations. Does that tell you anything? Maybe Jussie thought that they knew how to spin a web that will decrease the outcry against him. It appeared to work for Weinstein, that entire situation has cooled down …. way down. And they both appear to have depended on using their fame to manipulate people and the system… to their own benefit.

So we’re back to the question of… can you still enjoy someone on the screen or movies they produce or appear in if you are vehemently opposed to their behaviour?

You don’t know them… not really.

About 95% of trained stage and screen actors are unemployed most of the time, barely scraping out a living, while the other 5% are paid millions. We may have seen our favourite actors in scores of different roles, yet we forget who they really are and accept them to be the characters they play.

In order to be effective actors, individuals must pretend that they really are the characters that they are portraying. This is Method Acting. They must pretend that they really feel and are experiencing all the different ways that their character is supposed to be feeling in the different scenes.

So we mistake them for their characters. Mistake them for being the “good” or “smart” or “sexy” people they’re playing or producing. But they’re not those things, they’re either creating or playing an absolutely fictitious character.

And in regards to producing (Weinstein) we don’t even SEE them at all. We see their movie success and are grateful to them for bringing us fantastic entertainment. We don’t know them… at all.

We mistake success for “goodness”.

Is it different from music?

Yeah, I think it can be. Music can just be listened to and not have a face ascribed to it, if you so choose. An actor’s job is their face, even if it is fiction and they’re not REALLY that person, you still see them as someone you believe you “know”.

Musicians can be abstract. Actors are personal. It’s much MUCH harder for me to detach from actors than musicians and I believe that adds to the outrage we’re seeing online about this. The chances of me never watching Empire again are very slim, I love the programme, the cast, the fashion, and where would my world be without Cookie? Neither could I say that I would never watch a Harvey Weinstein film ever again, it would be impossible. My sadness with the whole Weinstein debacle is the silence that so many have had to endure over years in order to keep their acting careers intact, such is the power this man had.

What do you think? Is it easier for you to still listen to a musician who’s been abusive than watch an actor who has? Can you separate an actor from their character? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.