Did you know that an Australian film star, who was in all three Lord of the
Rings films as well as loads of critically-acclaimed features, is starring in
at BAM? Well yes, we all know that Cate Blanchett is in town: BAM has been plastering
her noble profile all over the place. I was actually talking about Hugo
Weaving is a very accomplished actor with many great films to his name and
at least as much name recognition as Blanchett, thanks to the Matrix films.
Both Blanchett and Weaving are real theatrical actors, rather than film stars
going on stage for a laugh. Yet BAM seems to understand on a gut level that
people will pay to see Blanchett, but won’t pay to see Weaving (although his
performance, which I saw last night, is fantastic). I’m not sure why this is:
I don’t think it’s Blanchett’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Aviator.
And I don’t think it’s simply sex appeal, either: While Blanchett is certainly
very beautiful, I can think of other film stars who are much uglier who would
get the same treatment over Weaving. Rather, I think it’s some kind of inchoate
star quality, which Blanchett has and Weaving doesn’t.
Do people really go to the theater to see stars? I guess they do. In this case,
they’ll be well rewarded. But most of the time, the presence of a big-name film
star in a Broadway production is a good indication that the play might well
be worth missing.