7th Heaven actress Jessica Biel recently did a sad little interview with Elle magazine in which she talked about losing two roles she really, really wanted -- Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises and Fantine in Les Miserables -- to Anne Hathaway. Curses, Hathaway'd again!! Sure one could make the argument that, y'know, Biel might be losing roles for, uh, perhaps more talent-based reasons (she also blamed her beauty), but let's work with the assumption that Jessica Biel is forever being frustrated by Anne Hathaway.
Obviously Hollywood is a hideous pit of avarice and envy, and of course there is a lot of behind-the-scenes shuffling that we never see before a movie is cast, but it's so rare that you actually hear (or read, rather) an actress actually talk about all that bitter regret and disappointment. It's mostly a silent seething. Well, Jessica Biel, god bless her, seethes silently no more! She can't be the only one who harbors jealousy over being passed over and overlooked, so let's speculate about what other actors might be silently seething, and who they're seething about. Obviously everyone here is doing just fine and it's silly to pit them against each other -- they're all rich and successful after all -- but it's a fun thing to do while we sit here in our cubicles.
Keira Knightley vs. Carey Mulligan
Not that Knightley is doing badly these days. She's doing great! She has the Oscar-bait movie A Dangerous Method coming up this year, as well as future Oscar-bait Anna Karenina with her frequent collaborator Joe Wright next year. She's doing well in this biz. But don't you think there must be some resentment held toward Carey Mulligan? You know, the little British pixie who showed up a couple of years ago and started taking some of the young British lady parts that Knightley had all but sewn up before Mulligan came along? Take Never Let Me Go. Sure that movie didn't turn out to be quite the awards hit it was supposed to be, but it could have been! And Mulligan got the big lead role, while Knightley got stuck with the lousy old supporting part. Plus Mulligan has had a lot more success in American movies, appearing in things as varied as Wall Street 2: The Legend of Sheen's Gold, this fall's spectacular Drive, and the upcoming The Great Gatsby. Knightley has what, Domino? These two are supposedly friends, and maybe they are, but we can't help but feel like it must have been a lot easier for Knightley before stupid old Carey Mulligan showed up.
Jennifer Garner vs. Amy Adams
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The dewy-faced Garner was, after a stint of butt-kicking on Alias, poised to become the sweet movie star next door of American middleroad cinema. She had a successful romantic comedy with 13 Going on 30 and a good bit of critical success with her supporting role in Juno, but then, that same year, along came some dizzy gal named Amy Adams (Garner's Catch Me If You Can costar) in a movie called Enchanted and, whaddya know, Ms. Adams is all of a sudden in everything, racking up Oscar nominations left and right, starring in classy nice-girl commercial fare like Julie & Julia, and now in The Muppets. Jennifer Garner could have played any of those parts! (Well, the lighter ones, anyway.) But no, instead she's stuck making babies with Ben Affleck and doing Valentine's Day. Well, OK, the first part of that doesn't sound so bad, but the second part! How frustrating. There is only room for one All-American nice girl in movie stardom, and Garner had her crown stolen when she wasn't looking. Sure, she has a beautiful family and is still making movies, but it's just not the same.
Ryan Reynolds vs. Ryan Gosling
While everyone obsesses over Reynolds' hot bod and cool (like, temperature-wise) likability, you know who gets that same respect and more? Ryan Gosling. Oh boy must Reynolds have a bitter envy for his Canadian countryman's career. Gosling isn't just intensely dramatic in wonderful films like Half Nelson and Blue Valentine, he's also been winning in comedies (Crazy Stupid Love) and action flicks (Drive -- though, really, to call that an action flick sorta doesn't do it justice). Gosling is probably the envy of many a young actor, everyone loving him so much and all these days, but maybe of none more so than Ryan Reynolds. They have the same name, for god's sake! It's just not fair. It's doubtful they're often up for the same roles, but can't you imagine Reynolds seeing Gosling in something like Ides of March and thinking to himself, "I could do that? Why am I not doing that?" Ya got Gosling'd, Ryan. But really there's no shame in that (like there is shame in Green Lantern, for example). It happens to the best of 'em.
Don Johnson vs. Alec Baldwin
Johnson, at his prime, had those comically suave good looks that played well in things like Miami Vice and Born Yesterday, but he failed to fully connect as a true actor. Someone who had a somewhat similar trajectory, if definitely more successful, was Alec Baldwin. Baldwin had a string of handsome leading man flops in the '90s and then disappeared for a while -- he and Johnson were only a couple of notches away from each other at that point, but then oops, Baldwin comes roaring back with an Oscar nomination for The Cooler, followed by his multiple award-winning role on 30 Rock. Now all his crazy, pig-shaming antics are mostly forgotten and everyone loves him. Johnson meanwhile has been doing little self-parody stuff in things like Eastbound and Down and Machete. Why can't Don Johnson have what Alec has, huh? What's Donny J gotta do to earn some respect? Y'know, come to think of it, we bet James Woods and Eric Roberts are thinking the same thing about Baldwin as Johnson is. They're all men of a certain age with that same kind of greasy swagger, so where are their pluckily written sitcoms and glossy Nancy Meyers' movies? It just isn't fair. That Baldwin gets everything. That particular Baldwin. The other Baldwins... Well, they're in the same boat as Don Johnson.
Rachel Bilson vs. Mila Kunis
Bilson is a likable actress who was cute and fun on teen show The O.C. And you know what, Mila Kunis is a likable actress who was cute and fun on teen show That '70s Show. So why is one in Oscar-nominated films while the other is suffering away on Hart of Dixie? Here it doesn't seem to be a measurable divide in talent. And certainly not looks! Both are gorgeous and even kind of look vaguely the same. Really, this seems to come down to dumb luck and good management. Poor Bilson must watch Black Swan and hell even Friends With Benefits and wonder what went wrong. Sure she had Jumper and The Last Kiss, but those were Jumper and The Last Kiss. Not the kind of thing that gets you offers for Academy Award-winning movies. But what, and The Book of Eli was? Again, it seems like it's all slight variations in strategy. If Bilson was smart, or had been as smart as Kunis was a few years ago, she would have gotten hooked up with the Apatow crew. Oh well. It'll have to be stewing down South for now.