The Price of Fame

Joe and I recently attended the European premiere of the new Terminator movie, at which some of the film’s stars, including Christian Bale, were present. We didn’t get to see Bale navigate the media scrum, as we were standing in line (with thousands of others) waiting to get our seats, but I did overhear someone express their opinion (in unprintable French) of the actor. That shook me. Earlier Joe had asked me if I would like to be so famous (for my writing, of course) that so many people would come out to see me. I gave him an unequivocal “NO.” I knew that I would hate to be the focus of so many people, but also would hate the fickleness of the crowd. Such hypocrisy in spending so much time, money, and effort to see a celebrity, yet still be able to turn on them at any moment.

I imagine that kind of fickleness is what proved so disturbing to Britain’s Got Talent contestant, and now global superstar, Susan Boyle. To have everyone build you up and then criticize you for the smallest misstep (as happened after her second performance on the show) would rattle the most jaded of performers, let alone an introverted person with little experience of fame. I thought it was telling that between her second and third appearances, those charged with her care thought it best to isolate her, from the media and from the public, I presume.

Isolation as an escape from an intrusive public seems to be the issue behind another story that came out today. Vanity Fair is planning to publish an article in its July issue about Johnny Depp’s private island in the Bahamas, and in a quote from the piece, Depp shares that life on the island is his “…way of trying to return to normalcy… Escapism is survival to me.” Never mind the fact that owning one’s own island is not “normal” for most people, I find his statement extremely depressing. Sure, it would be nice to have his wealth and opportunities, but if your only means of escape is to live Robinson Crusoe style, that means you look at the rest of the world as a prison. As tempting as it is, I would choose the ability to move (relatively) freely in the world over a private island any day.

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4 Responses to “The Price of Fame”

  1. Frustrated Introvert said:

    Spectatrix, I like the fact that you wrote about this issue, as I have been thinking about all of the sudden attention Susan Boyle has received and how she has handled it since her big introduction on BGT. I feel badly for her because she is really at the mercy of the wolves. She has had to endure what celebrities go through on a regular basis. The media loves to build people up and tear them down. They love it when they can spot some mistake, flaw, or bad decision on the part of the celebrity. What people ultimately need to realize and embrace is that nobody is perfect, and everybody makes mistakes and has a bad moment. Susan Boyle was just a regular, every day person just a few months ago. The papparrazi are very gifted when it comes to taunting and tormenting celebrities and then they have the nerve to threaten to sue when the celebrity snaps off on one of them. The whole thing is just a sad case. But none of it surprises me. Christian Bale has caught flack for supposedly having a bad temper. I mean, can’t a person have a bad day and learn from his mistakes? But as far as I know, Bale is one of those people who shy’s away from the media too, so when he does something that gets attention, it might be a big story for a little while but because he doesn’t feed into it, the story is only powerful for so long. In my opinion, celebrities who shy away from the media are better at weathering the storm. And as for Johnny Depp, I think it makes a whole lot of sense for him to escaoe to a place where the intrusive public won’t be able to bug him. It seems like celebrities really do have to go to those lengths in order to breathe. That really is the downside of celebrity. And then to turn that on its head, people who experience celebrity and then find that their careers are on the downslide end up having psychological issues as well. Suddenly, nobody knows their name or if they do, they don’t care.

  2. Moses Shuldiner said:

    What a treat to have been present at the continental premiere of an homage to geekdom!

    That verbally abusive fan may actually have been expressing admiration for Christian Bale. Bale’s verbally abusive rant – the f word was honoured 35 times – to the DP while working on the Terminator has been widely distributed over the internet.

    I certainly do not condone nor would I have enjoyed being present when Bale or his fan were ranting, however I think that it is important to explore the context in which they felt entitled to do so. To them it might have seemed a perk rather than the price of fame.

  3. Angela said:

    I’m so glad that you have placed effort into managing a site like this. I myself am an introvert and only 16; I’ve never been to a non-birthday party, only an after-party for my first school musical last year. And it’s really reassuring to know that many acting greats are introverts by nature, not that this is any indication of my acting abilities, lol. I’m also a loyal Terminator fan, so I envy your attendance at the premier. Mr. Depp according to some biographies had a rough time as a teen and his introverted personality can be partially attributed to this. Thanks once again for making me realise that being an introvert is o.k (and advantageous)

  4. Brian said:

    When I was a kid I wanted to live on Gilligan’s Island – only without all those pesky fellow castaways . . . except perhaps Maryanne.