' Cinema Romantico: The Next Julia Roberts?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Next Julia Roberts?

Recently the esteemed New York Times had an article discussing the return of America's longtime foremost sweetheart - namely, Julia Roberts. The Movie Star of Movie Stars who has been in "semi-retirement" and set to re-enter moviegoers' lives this month with "Duplicity". They posed the delicious question of who exactly might be the eventual heir to Ms. Roberts' throne? And this, as it must, got me to thinking.

There have long been rumblings about who this woman would be and names are often tossed about - Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz. But none of them made it, at least not yet.

At the beginning of this decade I had a ready-made answer - Kirsten Dunst. She radiated both charm and talent in mediocre teen fare like "Bring It On" and in more serious-minded fare like "The Virgin Suicides" (she also gave the best performance of the year in 1999 in "Dick" but I'll refrain from mentioning it) and seemed poised to blossom into a full-on star/actress once her twenties rolled around. Tragically, this wasn't the case. Yes, she was in the box-office smashes that were all three "Spiderman" movies but she never quite metamorphased into America's Sweetheart. Ms. Dunst has obtained an offscreen reputation for being a bit of a, shall we say, somewhat un-genteel person of the female persuasion. No doubt this did not assist her cause and the Next Julia Roberts she is not.

Next, Reese Witherspoon seemed extremely plausible. She opened "Legally Blonde" on her own and turned it into a smash hit. She won an Oscar for "Walk the Line". But she never really capitalized on all that momentum and the baton never really got passed. Why is this?

The Times makes a strong point when it says that Julia Roberts has "master(ed) the trick...to leave the audience wanting a bit more." She never outstays her welcome. She churns out a hit movie, lingers in the limelight for a little while, and then recedes. She turns up now and again in more indie-minded fare like "Full Frontal" and "Closer" (as I've stated many times I myself don't think she's that good when having to really, truly act, but, hey, I don't think there is anyone in the movie game who is more business savvy than Ms. Roberts) but those are still films with big league directors and top notch casts which means they don't alienate her core audience.

The NY Times mentioned Katherine Heigl as a new contender but, yeah, I don't think so. Katherine Heigl? I mean, really? Anne Hathaway might have a chance. I think Rachel McAdams could do it but then she's more determined to be an Actress than a Movie Star (at least, I hope and pray she is).

Thus, as I returned home the other night on the train I ignored my Ipod to instead ponder this query and, lo and behold, only about two minutes later did a name pop into my head though, rest assured, it was not a name I was expecting.

Mandy Moore.

"Woah!" I thought to myself. "Where did that come from?!" The next morning I googled her name and, I swear to God, the first thing I saw was that she had just become engaged to Ryan Adams, the eccentric alt-country singer. I say again, the eccentric alt-country singer. A little like another eccentric alt-country singer named.......Lyle Lovett. Right? Right???

Mandy Moore is beautiful, and she's beautiful in that way that says, "I'm glamorous, but not too glamorous, not in an off-putting away, and I don't have to put too much energy into looking glamorous." She seems capable of charming anyone, anytime, anywhere. Put her in a press junket on a couple hours sleep to promote some rom-com and I've got a feeling she could still come off as radiant and delightful. She doesn't seem to mind slipping out of the spotlight for awhile, highlighted by the fact I had to google her to figure out what she'd been up to for the past year. She seems willing to go back and forth between Hollywood and the indie world. Yet, at the same time, she's not going to run off and do something completely insane like a Natalie Portman might.

I think she's got a shrewd enough persona to maintain the gig. I don't think she'd ever be caught attacking a papparazzi or on camera huffing glue. She might be marrying Ryan Adams but she's not going to wear a vial of blood his around her neck. I can see her appealing to people in New York and people in L.A. and people in Davenport, Iowa and people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Now, having said all this, she's going to have to do some careful maneuvering and she's probably going to have to set aside her music career to focus on the movies full time. She's also going to have to get cracking. She needs to land her break-out role fast. But if she can, I think she's got what it takes. I really do.

So what do you think? Am I crazy? (I might be.) Who do you think is the Next Julia Roberts? Or is it possible there just isn't one? Or is it possible she is out there somewhere, lurking, unbeknownst to all of us?

1 comment:

Wretched Genius said...

You will receive no argument from me. But so far she has not demonstrated the ability to pick the right projects. I think she has the skill to become the next Roberts, but she does not appear to have the right agent.