Money and Hollywood

You know what drives me nuts? Greed. Read any few articles about the banking industry and the inexplicably morphing bailout and you’ll find no end of examples right now, but that’s not what’s on my mind. I’m irritated with the greed of an actor and how that’s going to impact what has a good possibility of becoming a great series.

 

But first, an example.

  

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Opinions about the second and third installments of the Matrix series vary, but I’ve yet to hear anyone have anything bad to say about the first one. It’s one of those few movies that really, truly knock your socks off.

 

One of my favorite characters in that film was Tank, played by an actor named Marcus Chong. He was one of the natural, born in Zion brothers aboard the Nebuchadnezzar. He’s the one who took Neo through his training paces, blew a hole through Cipher with a plasma rifle, and was very much alive at the end of the show.

 

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Fast forward to the second film. We learn that Tank has died since we last saw him and the guy filling his position on the ship, Link, is married to his sister. He’s played by Harold Perrineau (Lost, Oz), has a decent amount of screen time and plotline and does an okay job, but, for me, he’s just no Tank. Not sure what it is. Maybe I was just too irritated that Chong wasn’t in the film. Maybe it was just the film itself. Maybe. I think it was that Perrineau was just a tad too polished. Even with a ripped sweater and scuffed boots the guy still looks prettier than Trinity.

 

And I think Trinity is hot.

 

So why did Perrineau replace Chong? Chong wanted more money. Because negotiations went the way they did he was cut from the story, a new character was written in, and the film changed in ways we can’t know or imagine. And, if you question just how much a supporting character can actually change the film I suggest you consider the amount of time Perrineau had on screen and the number of pages that were devoted to explaining where he came from and why he was there. Take those out and what are they filled with? We don’t know.  

 

Move forward to feature that’s a bit more recent: Iron Man. Great movie. Phenomenal movie, some might say. In fact, I went into the film prepared not to like it – I have a love/hate relationship with Robert Downey, Jr. – and I was blown away.

 

Tony Stark’s military liaison, friend, and confidant is a character named Rhodey. In the film he’s played by a wonderful actor named Terrence Howard. He’s just one of those guys that’s remarkable in just about everything he touches; kind of like Edward Norton, but with more grit.

 

He had a great character. He would absolutely have had more screen time in the next film (if this one didn’t need to get into introductions and back-story he certainly would have had more in this one). The character also has a great chance of mimicking the comic and splitting off to be the central hero in a new storyline. And Terrence had it locked.

 

Until he lost the role because he wanted more money.

 

How much money is enough? Don’t get me wrong – I get it. Everyone has obligations. Everyone has bills to pay. Everyone wants to be paid a fair wage for a good day’s work. But when you blow something off because you’re offered 2 million instead of 6 for three months’ work, you leave me utterly perplexed.

 

And in the case of the two examples above, a little irritated. What do you think?

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