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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Action star-itis

Two days ago Mark Wahlberg, referring to 9/11, told an interviewer, "If I was on the plane with my kids, it wouldn't have went down like it did. There would have been a lot of blood in the first class cabin, and then me saying, 'Okay, we're going to land somewhere safely. Don't worry'."

A day later Wahlberg apologized for his statement, saying he hadn't meant to offend any 9/11 victims or their families. But then a day after that he said that his comments were misinterpreted, and that it was unfair for the journalist to have asked him leading questions.

It does seem as if Wahlberg mistook himself for Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger, the role he played in Shooter. Or perhaps "Irish" Micky Ward, the boxer he portrayed in Fighter. Or any number of other tough guys he's portrayed.

This sort of confusion appears to be an occupational hazard.

When Russell Crowe was briefly considered a potential kidnapping target in 2001, he reportedly said, "They wouldn't be able to hold me very long."

Crowe seemed to have mistaken himself for Maximus, the Roman general he played who single-handedly vanquishes giants and tigers in Gladiator. Or maybe Officer Bud White, his character in L.A. Confidential.

Either way, one suspects the kidnappers could have held onto him as long as they wished.

After Sylvester Stallone made Rocky in 1976, he said that he thought he'd be able to hold his own for ten rounds with a ranking heavyweight. Stallone weighed approximately 175 pounds at the time, and to that point his main exercise had consisted of bench pressing, jogging, and acting. The average ranking heavyweight weighs roughly 220 and has boxed for a decade.

A couple years after Rocky, Stallone sparred a few rounds with Roberto Duran, then the lightweight (135 pound) champion.

At least Stallone had the grace to later say of that experience that "it was like being lowered head first into a Cuisinart."

Mistaking oneself for the action hero one portrays does seem to happen often enough that the American Psychiatric Association ought to include it in their next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

It's not quite as serious as schizophrenia, but there is a certain similarity.


Anonymous said...

My father once told me "actors were the kids in class who couldn't cut it in sports" He also said that about personal trainers... and I became one. Needless to say, just because you look good doing something in the mirror doesn't mean it'll work in real life.

John Craig said...

If only real life had screenwriters to cue us, stunt doubles to do the dangerous stuff for us, and retakes so we could get it right, life would be much more pleasant.