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Keanu Reeves has established himself as an action movie star. But early on in his career, even Reeves wasn’t sure what kind of actor he wanted to be. As a young man, he could come across as unfocused. Clearly uncomfortable with being asked questions, Reeves was often inarticulate in interviews. It took Reeves a while to warm up to Stephen Rebello for this cover story from the November 1992 issue of Movieline magazine, but once he felt comfortable he cut loose.
Mark Harmon is 66 today. He was the son of 1940 Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon, and started at quarterback for UCLA for two seasons in the early 1970s. He got his first acting job through his older sister Kristin, who was married to Ricky Nelson—he made a guest appearance on Ozzie’s Girls. During the 1970s he made a number of guest appearances on series like Adam-12, Laverne & Shirley, and Police Woman, and was an Emmy nominee for the TV movie Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.
In the 1980s Harmon had a short run as a major film actor, starring in films like Summer School, The Presidio, and Stealing Home. But mostly he has worked on television. The first couple of times he landed a regular series role, the series ended up canceled after no more than a season, but eventually he got some more successful gigs. Medical dramas have been pretty good to him, as he was a regular on St. Elsewhere in the mid-eighties, and on Chicago Hope in the late 1990s. But his most successful TV role, one he’s played for nearly 15 years, has been as the Marine Scout Sniper turned criminal investigator Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS.
March was Young Hollywood Month at Movieline Magazine. In the March ’92 issue of the magazine, writers Rebecca Morris and Kevin Hennessey offered free career advise to some of Hollywood’s hottest young stars. A few of them needed all the help they could get. Some did just fine on their own. And at least one should have been warned about the dangers of shoplifting.
Salma Hayek celebrates her 50th birthday today. Hayek began working in Mexican film and television in the late 1980s. Her first work in American film came from producer-director Robert Rodriguez; Hayek has made several films with Rodriguez, including From Dusk till Dawn and The Faculty. And before those came the film that gave American audiences their first look at her—her very first scene in that film shows her ability to have an impact on people (and vehicles):
It doesn’t happen very often. Less so now than in the past. But every now and then the right actor finds the right role in the right movie at exactly the right time and magic happens. A star is born! In the June 1996 issue of Movieline magazine, Virginia Campbell and Charles Oakley took a look at some star-making roles.
Steven Baigelman may have been the luckiest rookie in Hollywood in 1996. Not only did he sell his first script, the quirky crime comedy, Feeling Minnesota, he was also tapped to direct the movie despite the fact he had no prior experience. And then, big league Hollywood stars were cast in the lead roles! How does someone get so damn lucky? Michael Atkinson tried to figure it out in the Young Hollywood issue of Movieline Magazine.
Back in the early nineties, Keanu Reeves was a promising young actor who looked like he just might have a future beyond Bill & Ted. He was also a notoriously spastic interview subject. In the February 1990 issue of Movieline Magazine, Joe Queenan patiently if somewhat condescendingly asked Reeves about his career and his co-stars while assuring him that everything was going to be all right.
Writer-director Eli Roth is best known for making grisly horror movies like Cabin Fever and Hostels 1 and 2. He’s credited with being one of the creators of the torture porn subgenre. With Knock Knock, Roth is clearly going for something a little different. But torture and porn are still part of the equation. The movie attempts to be a suspenseful thriller, an erotic cautionary tale and a social satire, but the mix is off. It’s too silly to be taken seriously, but never really funny either. And while the girls are attractive, the movie is too dull and shrill to be sexy.
This past weekend, Dumb and Dumber To exceeded even the most optimistic box office projections. Critics were unkind to the sequel, but audiences who have been waiting twenty years for more Dumb and Dumber didn’t care. Now there’s talk of a Dumb and Dumber trilogy!
The box office success of Dumb and Dumber To has some people talking about a comeback for Jim Carrey. Carrey’s movie career has cooled over the last decade or so. His last unqualified box office hit was arguably Bruce Almighty in 2003. When a Dumb and Dumber sequel was announced, it seemed to some (myself included) like a desperation move. But now, it seems like a “hail mary pass” that connected.
Keanu Reeves has worked with some of the greatest directors around. He’s been directed by Ron Howard, Kathryn Bigelow, Lawrence Kasdan, Gus Van Sant, Francis Ford Coppola and Bernardo Bertolucci just to name a few. His costars include Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock and of course the legendary Alex Winter. He’s done comedy, drama, action movies, period pieces and sci fi. Speed made Reeves an action movie star and The Matrix made him an icon. But post Matrix, Reeves’ career has slowed down. His last unqualified hit was in 2003.
What the hell happened?