Annnnnnd… cue Kathy…

I’m finding the trailer for the new Michelle Pfeifer film Cheri, mildly annoying. It’s not so much Pfeifer, who is definitely worth an hour, but the flash moments when Kathy Bates appears on screen barking out a laugh like a constipated seal. Two of the three times she’s featured in the trailer have her in the throws of some kind of apoplectic fit. Head thrown back, cavernous mouth open, feet off the floor, belly, boobs and chins straining with hilarity. I’m sure Bates has enormous range as an actress, she was brilliant in Misery, I think she’d probably make a fine Gertrude in Hamlet (let’s face it, with Lenny Henry in Othello, anything’s possible. I can’t way to see Bobby Davro’s Julius Caesar – opens at the Barnsley Metrodome this Autumn) but I imagine Bates’ casting sessions these days consist of little more than a brief run through of the script and some Hollywood exec going, ‘That’s great, Kathy, you really tapped into the emotional depth. Now, can you do that laugh for us. You know, the one where you look like you’re choking on a pretzel. The one you did in Fried Green Tomatoes… and Annie… and Titanic and… every other bloody film you’ve ever been in. Come on, give us that trademark bellow.’ Fancy, as an actor, being typecast not only by a role but by a bodily expression? And Harry H. Corbett thought he’d got it bad being tagged as a comic turn following his brilliance as Harold Steptoe. But to be pigeon-holed on some bodily tick alone. That must make for hard work. It never happened to Laurence Olivier, did it? You never saw Peter Brook at the Old Vic shout out to Olivier from the wings, ‘Do your fart, Larry, like the one in Richard III! You know, where you raise one knee and pull down on an imaginary chain!’ No. Gielgud was never called upon to belch loudly and expressively at any given cue. Still, I can’t hear Eddie Murphy complaining. Or Kathy Bates. Come on, Kathy, one more time. With feeling.

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