Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ah, James Dean

I don't know if I've ever seen Rebel all the way through, but Lord knows, I've seen enough clips of it on the 100 Best Yada Yada lists.

Let's not talk about the movie. Let's talk about James Dean. Regardless of whether you think he's sexy/cool/hot or not, there's that Star factor. He had, Steve McQueen had it, and a few others had it. I'm not sure if we have Stars today the same way we had Back in the Day. I think we (the public) know too much about our stars and that's colored the way we perceive them. Look, I still like a good Harrison Ford movie, but his Star factor plummeted for me when he took up with what's-her-name and left his wife.

That kind of story might have been hushed up thirty years ago. Of course, it works the other way, too. Sometimes I'll find out things about a star and think, "that guy has more character than I thought he had." Doesn't happen often, but it does sometimes.

I know that when I write my heroes, I always think of actors whom I think are not only handsome in some way, but have character. I imagine that actor in the role and think, "What would he do? How would he look?" My current project has a Hugh Jackman guy in the lead role and he's going through a ton of changes through 9 books (yes, you read that right. 9 books). I'm having fun looking up "old Hugh", "young Hugh", "bald Hugh", etc.

So let's hear it for the stars (past and present). They make our current writing projects a lot more fun.



Liz Flaherty said...

James Dean grew up about 45 minutes from where I live. I never gave him much thought either way, but we had a pastor who hung around with him as a kid. He was talking one time about "hiding on the garage roof with Jimmy Dean" and it made him more real and more sad.

Margo Hoornstra said...

I never saw the movie either. Heard a lot about it, of course. Nine books, JL?! Quite an accomplishment. Best of luck with the many faces of 'Hugh'.

Jannine Gallant said...

It's always fun to cast our books. Sometimes I feel like sending a note to a movie studio: Hello, people, I already have your cast lined up for you. Half the work is done. Now turn my book into a movie! Have fun with Hugh!

Alicia Dean said...

It appears I'm the only one who has seen Rebel Without a Cause. I saw it ages ago, but re-watched it recently, more or less as research for the 50's story I was writing at the time. James Dean definitely had a star quality. His short life/career was fascinating. I sometimes wonder if he'd be as famous if he hadn't died so young and tragically. I loved the movie. It was dramatic and had such an edgy feel, sad, too. And, of course, very atmospheric and a great sampling from that era. Anyway...I also imagine celebrities in the roles of my characters. It really helps them feel real to me.

Leah St. James said...

I saw portions of it when I was a kid, probably on similar best-of shows that included James Dean. I always found his story so sad. He seemed to be a great talent in the making.