Issue: 8.02
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Hi Gang, and greetings from Hollywood!

Picture it…. the commissary at Columbia Ranch, early 1974. David Cassidy had finally pushed the ‘suits’ at Screen Gems too far by posing nude for Rolling Stone magazine, and a covert operation was underway to recast the coveted role of ‘Keith’ in “The Partridge Family”. I had an audition for the role, and was being lectured by my agent, whom I had browbeaten into setting up the reading.

“Why do you think Cassidy wants out in the first (explicative) place?” Frances said tensely. “For the rest of his life, he’ll be known as Keith Partridge. He’s been typecast, and he’ll probably never work again!”

Since then, I’ve watched God knows how many actors suffer Cassidy’s fate. The kids from “The Brady Bunch”, right up to the two delinquent moppets from “Married with Children” whose stars burned brightly for a short while then fizzled. They all became identified with roles that were almost iconic, and then, having no more similar roles to play, entered the netherworld of countless “whasisnames”.

Now, an actor is making a grandstand effort to avoid that fate, causing an outcry throughout most of the free world.

Daniel ‘Harry Potter’ Radcliffe will soon be appearing in the London production of “Equus”, the psychological train wreck about a young man’s obsession with horses. The 1977 movie starred Richard Burton as Martin Dysart, a psychologist who tries to unravel the meshugas in his young patient’s mind. A courageous film for it’s time, Peter Firth, the young actor who played the farkrimt Alan Strang, was required to appear nude in several scenes, as will seventeen-year-old Radcliffe. And therein lies the core of the current controversy. The idea of sweet, innocent, Harry Potter ‘letting it all hang out’ has sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Gone is the nattily dressed student of Hogwarts, replaced by a buff, mature looking young man confident enough in his talent to break free of the signature role which has made him famous the world over. My sources in London who have seen rehearsals say he looks to offer a stunning performance in a role that demands far more than looking cute and put upon. “Equus” will surely separate Radcliffe from ‘Harry’, but just how remains to be seen. Surely, women (and no doubt quiet a few men,) enamored of Radcliffe’s boyish charms will flock to the theater to see their beloved junior wizard in the raw. Fans of teen idols are always willing to spend money to get more and more of their heartthrob. But in Radcliffe’s case, he may be trading one ‘type’ for another. There’s a fine line between erotic and ekledik, depending on how it’s presented. The big question is, even though the initial attraction is seeing how he ‘measures up’ (pun intended,) will his talent and delivery in “Equus” be enough to take the attention away from his non-theatrical endowments? Or will Radcliffe become just another actor whom the industry knows they can exploit as a talent who is willing to appear nude? Has he traded one typecast for a new one?

Only time will tell. If Radcliffe is able to turn in a performance adequate to this role, he will no doubt be offered more roles that challenge his talents and offer him broader range. One thing is certain; if he makes money for the producers, he will continue to work. Money has always been the driving force in show business, just as it is in any other industry. And if his presence brings in the box office, the offers will deluge his agents’ office. “Equus” is but the tip of the iceberg he has to circumnavigate. It’s the offers that result from this that he needs to be careful of. No doubt, he’ll receive many more offers requiring him to perform nude. God knows, it didn’t hurt Richard Gere, but then again, Gere didn’t have a past role like ‘Potter’ to live down. If Radcliffe accepts too many similar roles, he will find himself dubbed ‘The Wizard and his magic wand’. Already, he’s being called “Horny Potter”, and if that’s any indication he’ll have to be careful of what comes next.

Fortunately for Radcliffe, he has a ‘run of genre’ contract with the “Potter” series, meaning he’s guaranteed work as long as the public remains farklempt by the series. “Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix” is due to premier sometime in July, and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is due to begin filming shortly after Radcliffe’s run in “Equus”. It will be the success of these two movies that will determine Radcliffe’s fate as an actor. If they make gezunte gelt, then his nudity in “Equus” will be harmless, quite possibly advantageous. But again, only time and box office receipts will tell.

Personally, I think it’s an avle that an actor finds it necessary to go to such extremes to survive the transition from child actor to adult. Talent doesn’t diminish with age, it grows. I only hope for Radcliffe’s sake, they keep the stage area well heated…it would be a shame if the London chill were to cause him to disappoint his fans who’re just there to see what religion he is!

Till next month, Gang!


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