Tuesday, January 23, 2007

From Oscar Winner to Pepper Potts

Let’s say you win an Oscar award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Arguably, it was a cheapie win in a long-since forgotten movie which rode a huge marketing campaign to garner awards, yet has not withstood the test of time like other epic and more-deserving films of that year (Saving Private Ryan). An Oscar award is an award, right? So where do you go from there?

If you’re Gwyneth Paltrow, who won a Best Actress Oscar in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love, your path goes like this:

  • Continue to ride Oscar Buzz in smaller films with less success (Talented Mr. Ripley, Bounce, Royal Tenenbaums);
  • Take a quick comedic turn (Shallow Hal);
  • Star in increasingly smaller movies, dissipating from public consciousness (Proof, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Sylvia).
  • And now, the kicker. Variety announced last week that Paltrow has signed on to play Virginia “Pepper” Potts in the upcoming Marvel Comics film, Iron Man.

    Now I’m a comic book junkie and have really enjoyed many of the recent Marvel films (the Spider-Man duo and X-Men trio in particular). And yes, Oscar winner Anna Paquin also played Rogue in the X-Men movies, and two-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe played Norman Osborn in the Spider-Man movies. Oscar Winner Cliff Robertson (Ben Parker) had a smaller role in Spider-Man, but it's a key role in his origin story.

    But Pepper Potts? Opposite Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark? When your character is a personal assistant to a playboy industrialist (with a “secret” attraction to your boss)?

    Ugh. Running with Scissors, indeed.