Ten actors I want to see on TV
In an interesting article at IGN.com, blogger Travis Fickett points out that there used to be a line of demarcation between the worlds of acting: film actors vs. television actors. But nowadays the stars are going back and forth a lot more fluidly.
Gallery: 10 Stars
Steve Carrell can comfortably star in The Office and also be in three features in two years, including Get Smart coming out in June. Fickett's idea is that with the line between features and TV blurred, more big screen stars might be ready to turn to TV. He came up with five actors he wants to see on TV, and inspired me to come up with ten more I think would be great for TV -- now.
For all his success as a movie star, including the recent action drama Vantage Point, Dennis Quaid has never been a box office hit. In fact, you could call him box office poison. Every time you thought he was going to have a $100 million blockbluster (well, that used to be the sign of a smash) like Innerspace (Spielberg!), Something to Talk About (Julia Roberts!), Any Given Sunday (Oliver Stone!), The Day After Tomorrow (the guys that did Independence Day!)...Always close, but no cigar. He's had good movies and good notices, but Dennis just seems like the kind of comfortable, good-looking actor that the TV will love. Think of how Mark Harmon seemed to kick around for years before hitting it big with NCIS. I'd like to see Dennis in that kind of role, a tough cop or detective with a military background.
An Oscar and Tony-winner, Kevin Kline is nothing if not multi-talented. He can sing and dance (The Pirates of Penzance), drama (Sophie's Choice), farce (A Fish Called Wanda) and all kinds of comedy (In and Out, Dave, French Kiss). In short, the guy is versatile and accomplished. Lately he's been morphing into character roles, like his latest bit in Definitely, Maybe. But it would be great to see him on television. He's currently doing Cyrano de Bergerac as a TV movie, playing Cyrano, of course, so maybe that'll lead to something more permanent, like a series. He could definitely be an idiosyncratic detective like a Monk.
Television has always been very, very good to Billy Crystal. His Oscar hosting duties are the best turns by an emcee since Johnny Carson, and Johnny didn't do song medleys! Crystal also did memorable work as a regular on Saturday Night Live (he was "Mahvellous"), and played one of the first openly gay characters on series TV, Jodie Dallas, in Soap. Billy's recently directed the TV movie 61* and has done a one-man show on Broadway, but it's time for him to get back to being full-time funny on TV. Everybody Loves Billy could be another Raymond, if they work it right. And remember, it's more important to look good than feel good, right, my friend?
Have you ever seen Sigourney Weaver give a bad performance? She hasn't. She's as good as it gets and TV would welcome her to the fold. When you look back at her career accomplishments, the lady's been a chameleon going from comedy to drama with ease with pictures like Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest, Working Girl, Gorillas in the Mist, and The Ice Storm. Of course, her Ripley in the Alien series stands out -- so you know she could kick ass in a sci-fi series like Battlestar Galactica or Stargate Atlantis or maybe a new Star Trek variation. That sounds like a series I would tune in to see just to see her. She's currently making a TV movie, playing Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy and Me, so TV work is not out of the realm of possibility.
Television needs Robert Duvall. He's the one man, other than Clint Eastwood, that could bring back the western! While it's true that Duvall is still very busy and active in features, I selfishly would like to see him in a regular TV series. He adds class to whatever project he does. Last year, when he won the Emmy for the AMC TV movie Broken Trail, he said how much he loved making the film and doing a western. Come back to TV for a western, Bob, a new take on an old classic like Gunsmoke, or even better, Have Gun, Will Travel. Maybe AMC would be willing to do a limited series like Mad Men, where you don't have to commit to 22 episodes.
A lot of people forget that Goldie Hawn first burst on the scene as a TV star. She was the giggly standout on Laugh-In, turning her part in those goofy blackout sketches and gags into a film career. Since her daughter, Kate Hudson, has seemingly inherited Goldie's roles in screwball comedies for the big screen, Goldie should bring her comic talents back to television. Instead of making all these female TV shows by teaming up younger actresses -- Desperate Housewives, Cashmere Mafia, Lipstick Jungle -- how about building a show around women in Goldie's peer group. Remember The First Wives Club? Why not a TV series with ladies like that, with Goldie leading the way? And don't tell me viewers don't care for women past 50; what about Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect or Angela Lansbury all those years as Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote.
Broderick, Broderick, Broderick...has anybody seen Broderick? If you agree with the theory that to be a true TV star you have to have that likeability factor, i.e. people want to invite you into their home once a week, then Matthew Broderick has it. He's always been one of the most popular actors around, starting first and foremost with Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It has defined his career, even overshadowing his big Broadway success in The Producers, and films like Election and The Freshman. And don't forget he was the voice of Simba in Disney's mega-smash The Lion King. It's time for Matthew to translate that likeability into a TV series. Perhaps something quirky and unusual like Pushing Daisies, but with more of a star turn. By the way, TV didn't hurt his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker's (Sex & the City) career one iota, you know what I mean?
What are you waiting for, Andy? You're perfect for a weekly series! Enough with the supporting character roles in movies; you deserve a meaty, star role in a TV series that's smart and challenging. You supposedly turned down a CSI, and I can see why. You're into more character-driven work than procedurals. That's why you need a Sopranos type of series, something revolutionary and bold that calls for an actor who can reinvent himself in a new role. They don't come around that often, but keep your eyes open and consider TV. Please. There's more to you than being the foil in the Ocean 11 movies, even if they are fun.
Jon Voight is an Oscar-winning actor (Coming Home) and a terrific dramatic actor. Lately he's been playing older authority figures, Nicholas Cage's father in the National Treasures movies, a senator in The Manchurian Candidate, the Defense Secretary in Transformers. His strongest role in a while was as Pope John Paul II in the TV mini-series of the same name -- where he won an Emmy nomination. Like Donald Sutherland, one of his contemporaries from 1970s movies, Jon should be doing a TV series where he can get consistently interesting work to do. He'd be a real plus in 24, for instance.
I don't think I'm the only one who's noticed that Jane Fonda, two-time Oscar-winner Jane Fonda, seems anxious to act again. She came back to the movies in a slight comedy called Monster-in-Law, opposite Jennifer Lopez of all people. But Jane's ready for a challenge. On TV, she won an Emmy in The Dollmaker, her father's all-time favorite film of Jane's. There's not much Jane can't do as an actress -- she has a kind of superstar quality that will make any TV series she chooses something special. If she'd been offered the Glenn Close role in Damages, I bet she would have taken it. Now, someone write another in their vein and sign her up!