Saturday, December 12, 2009


Hollywood is a strange, unfair place. Some stars (Nicole Kidman comes immediately to mind) can headline flop after flop yet remain gainfully employed. Others reach the cusp of fame, and then for no apparent reason, they plummet off the radar.

These thoughts were going through my mind today as I sat staring at Scott Foley's face while watching an episode of Felicity. Remember Scott Foley? He never got anywhere near the cusp of fame, but for a second there, he was kind of well-known -- mostly for being the allegedly cuckolded husband of Jennifer Garner. After her break-up with Scott, Jennifer moved on to her Alias costar Michael Vartan before settling on her current husband, Ben Affleck.

Ah, Ben Affleck. Remember when he was totally A-list? In recent years, he's gained more credibility as an actor and even as a director, but he's probably not at the top of anyone's casting wish list anymore. Then there's his kid brother, Casey. Remember him? 2007 was so his year. First there was Ocean's Thirteen, which, granted, wasn't really his movie. But The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford certainly was, despite being top billed by Brad Pitt.

Casey stole that movie right out from under the two-time Sexiest Man Alive and garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role in the process. Then for the first time, he headlined a major film: Gone Baby Gone, an acclaimed child kidnapping drama directed by big brother Ben.

Great things must have followed, right? Wrong. Casey has not appeared onscreen since 2007. Although he has two films coming out in 2010, one has to wonder what was behind the three-year break. That year's other supporting actor contenders were Javier Bardem (the winner), Hal Holbrook, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Tom Wilkinson, who have all worked steadily since then. Weren't directors lining up to hire Oscar nominee Casey after his one-two-three punch?

Sadly, probably not. It must really suck to be an actor of a certain age (28 to thirtysomething) with a certain look (darkish-haired, square-jawed) in Hollywood. Why hire Casey, 34, James Franco, 31 (and now slumming on General Hospital), or James Marsden, 36, when you can get Jake Gyllenhaal? When it comes right down to it, it's Jake's world. The others just live in it.
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