Michael Douglas: Young American Actors Are ‘Too Caught Up in Their Image’

July 10, 2015

Michael Douglas has stirred up a degree of controversy after a recent interview with London’s Independent in which he spoke in unbecoming generalizations about young American actors. According to the two-time Oscar winning actor-producer Hollywood is currently suffering because up-and-coming actors have their priorities all mixed up. Douglas asserted, “There’s something going on with young American actors–both men and women–because the Brits and Australians are taking many of the best American roles from them.”

Well, let’s look at the last two years of Oscar nominations to see if he has a point. In 2015 there’s English Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game; English Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything; and English Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl. The 2014 Oscar nominations include Englishmen Christian Bale in American Hustle and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave; English actresses Judi Dench in Philomena and Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine as well as Australian actress Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. The past couple of years have seen actors from countries outside the U.S. including Somali American Barkhad Abdi from Captain Phillips, German-Irish Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave, Mexican-Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave, and French actress Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night. In addition, some popular Australian actors include “Thor” Chris Hemsworth, “Wolverine” Hugh Jackman, Bridesmaid actress Rose Byrne, Margot Robbie who played Naomi in The Wolf of Wall Street, Divergent‘s Jai Courtney… Do you think Douglas has a point?

According to Michael Douglas, the formal training of American actors is being compromised. “In Britain they take their training seriously while in the states we’re going through a sort of social media image conscious thing rather than formal training. Many actors are getting caught up in this image thing which is going to affect their range.”

Douglas also finds American actors lacking in their ruggedness, saying, “With Aussies, particularly with the males, it’s the masculinity. In the U.S. we have this relatively asexual or unisex area with sensitive young men, and we don’t have many Channing Tatums or Chris Pratts, while the Aussies do. It’s a phenomena.”

Douglas continued, ‘There’s a crisis in young American actors right now. Everyone’s much more image conscious than they are about actually playing the part.” He points out the way so many Americans spend their time on social media venues like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. But really, that’s not just an American thing. After all, Aussies and Brits concern themselves with matters of publicity–as do American actors Tatum and Pratt who he mentioned.

Michael Douglas has been acting for 50 years and his career is still going strong. He plays Dr. Hank Pym in the upcoming Marvel comic movie Ant-Man who has the capability to miniaturize people.

Do you agree with any of Douglas’ opinions? Or do you find them to be amiss or maybe even derogatory?

Here’s Michael talking about his role in Ant-Man.