I got to thinking, if someone were to ask me who my favorite actor is right now, what would I say?
There are so many of them, so I decided to narrow down my choices. Other than the fact that he must be a good actor who can transform himself into his character when he acts, I have only one other criterion: I wouldn't mind having sex with him. It's a good criterion, actually, since it immediately eliminates half-dead geezers and barely legal toy boys.
Bunny Rabbit's all-time favorite actor is Brad Pitt. To him, Brad Pitt is God, or a close relative of God. If I were a guy, I would probably think the same thing. After all, Brad was People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive like a gazillion times. He's handsome, rich and he's got Angelina Jolie. He was the demi-god Achilles, the cool brother who ran away from home in Legends of the Fall, the guy who spent seven years in Tibet just because he felt like it, the Angel of Death, a psycho Nazi killer... plus Angelina doesn't care if he lets his facial hair grow until he looks like a grizzly bear.
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My problem with Brad is that he can't act. He has only one facial expression. It's the "smiling softly while looking into the distance" expression.
One of my Ma's favorite actors is Nicolas Cage, Whenever I hear or read his name, I can't help but snicker. If Brad's problem is not acting, Nic's is TOO MUCH acting. His entire body is one giant facial expression. This guy overacts from his eyebrows to his lips to his shoulders to his hips to his toes-- sometimes he throws in his hair, too. All parts come together in harmonious hamminess.
And he named his son Kal-El, for chrissakes.
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(Disclaimer: I would never have sex with Nic Cage. He just entered my consciousness and I felt like writing about him.)
For the longest time, I thought that my favorite actor was George Clooney. Let's face it, ladies. Deep in our hearts, all we really want is a drop-dead gorgeous man who can make us laugh. Not only that, he's perfect. He's a rich philanthropist. He's single, but he has a girlfriend/ fiancée, so we know he's not gay. And he has that f@#%ing smile that makes your knees buckle. And he was voted Sexiest Man Alive a gazillion times, too.
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The trouble with George is that he has become such a huge megastar that he can't help but play himself in any role in any movie that he does now. The American? The one where Clooney's an assassin who doesn't talk much. Ocean's Eleven or Twelve or Thirteen or Twenty-eight? The one where Clooney robs the casino. Syriana? Clooney's fat in that one, right? Up In The Air? Where Clooney's a traveling salesman.
Somehow, very quietly, George Clooney has joined the ranks of Pacino, De Niro, Warren and Jack. (And to a lesser degree, Robert Redford, Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks.) These are the greats who only play themselves. George has come to the point where he can no longer immerse himself in a role. The role becomes him.
Ralph Fiennes was a contender. He's very, very good-looking and has a barely-there droll sense of humor that if you get it, makes you feel like a bloody Mensa member. It's just that he always looks like a he's a little bit evil, doesn't he? Even when he's playing the good guy. And then when he agreed to be Voldemort, well, I just couldn't look at him the same way anymore.
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Johnny Depp-- I can't even go there. He is the most beautiful creature walking on this planet right now. Words are not enough to describe Johnny Depp. He is ethereal and beyond our mortal understanding.
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And then there's Keanu Reeves. I will love him until my dying day. Except he's not really human, and so he's not a real actor. Keanu is an animé. And a lovely one at that. Still, I lust for him.
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(By the way, one of my cousins named his child "Neo"... No comment.)
Which leaves Leo.
I first encountered Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Johnny Depp top billed that movie, but most people agree that it was really Leo's gig. So cute, so talented and still so young! He looked like he was going places.
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And then the Titanic cheese fest happened to him. He might have been good in it, but I can't remember. Nobody can. The star of that movie was the big-ass ship. Everyone else, including the main actors, were just extras. Suddenly, Leo became the most famous celebrity actor in the world-- emphasis on "celebrity". And for the longest time, he got stuck as Jack, who gave his life for Rose, forever frozen under the waters of the North Atlantic.
Slowly but surely, though, Leo rebelled against the evil movie producers of Hollywood who wanted to box him in. He did The Beach, Catch Me If You Can, Gangs Of New York, The Aviator. That's when I realised that, hey, this guy can act.
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Leonardo DiCaprio started making serious and thought-provoking stuff which broke the boundaries of what a leading man could be or could do. Is he the good guy? Or is he the bad guy? You're rooting for him either way. Blood Diamond, The Departed, Revolutionary Road.
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In 2010, although late by two years, I watched Shutter Island for the first time. Immediately followed by Inception. That's when I became a full-fledged fan of Leonardo DiCaprio.
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Here is an actor who acts. He wants you to forget that he's a big-shot Hollywood star, which of course he is, but we can suspend our beliefs for the next 90 minutes or so. He's just a guy living his life, confused, ambivalent, trying to get by without making too many waves. In his movies, he's saying, "Sure, my world(s) don't make a lot of sense, but wouldn't you like to join me here?"
Inception is a prime example of that Leo come-hither magic. Like Blade Runner and The Matrix before it, Inception introduces us to a reality that is completely, strangely, insanely familiar in the most visceral way. Coming out of the theater, I fervently wished to live in that terrible, beautiful world of Inception, where there are dreams within dreams within dreams, and we can do whatever we set our imaginations to.
I wanted Cobb (Leo's character) to say to me, "You're waiting for a train, a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you can't be sure. But it doesn't matter-- because we'll be together." And I believe him. I want him to hold my hand and take me for the ride of my life in that fantastic, scary, exciting, wonderful alternate reality of his.
And he succeeds! And he makes it so much fun and interesting that you want to watch him again and again. You go out and buy the DVD.
And that's why Leonardo DiCaprio is my favorite actor right now.