Should Jimmy Stewart be a Prick?
Yup, yup he should.
Without media, I’m stuck replaying ideas in my head all day long. No Netflix? No need! Not with 1000 different ideas chasing rabbits around my reeling brain.
I’m working on a script idea I think is pretty interesting. It’s fun concept that, I hope, would catch a reader/viewer’s eye. I worry that the main character is too boring to interest readers before the story kicks into gear.
I blame Jimmy Stewart.
I’ve always gravitated to “nice guys” in movies. The good, hard-working gentlemen who find themselves in a rough spot, for whatever reason. Jimmy Stewart and Tom Hanks are the clear examples. Nice guys people can root for. There’s nothing unsettling about them that would turn somebody off.
They are also boring. Going a year without media boring. These guys make you wonder if doing laundry is a better use of your time than watching this film. A good example is Drive. I loved the film, when I saw it in theaters. The visuals were cool, and I felt Ryan Gosling did an incredible job, even though he mumbled through 5-10 words during the entire film. Leaving the theater, people complained about how boring the film was. Blasphemy! How could that movie possibly be boring? Because the lead was basically mute, without many distinctive attributes. Wearing a scorpion jacket doesn’t count!
I need to focus on making this lead stand out. He needs to have a cadence that sets him apart from every other passive, cookie-cutter lead. That’s why Jonah Hill was nominated for an Oscar and gets to be in films, even though in a certain light he resembles Rosie O’Donnell He’s different, he stands apart. His characters do the wrong things, but justify that it’s for the greater good. Or at least, their greater good. Even Tom Hanks characters had a bite to them. Tom Hanks was the grumpiest nice guy in the world. It kept him from being too vanilla. It kept him from being Paul Rudd.
So even if the lead is slightly annoying, that’s OK. At least he’ll be remembered as being annoying, instead of another privileged white guy who’s having a bad day.
Eventually handsome nice guys grow up, and they had better have a personality. If they don’t, you’re stuck staring at a 60 year old Tom Hanks. That’s not fun for anybody.