Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Unbalanced Benefits of Promoting a Film

Michael at the Montreal F1 race in 2013
I want to start off this essay by declaring two things upfront. First, I am a devoted Michael Fassbender fan, I stand 110% behind him now and in the future. He is my favorite actor, ever. His co-star in The Light Between The Oceans (TLBO), Alicia Vikander, is a good actress and I enjoy some of her work, and she has an incredible career ahead of her. I harbor no ill feelings towards her. With this all said, I feel the need to share my opinion about the marketing and PR for Michael and Alicia's film that will be opening on September 2.

Like many of Michael's fans, I have grown weary and frankly, quite bored with the public relations of their relationship in order for the studio to market and promote a film I'm going to see anyway because Michael is in it. I tire of doing a Google search for 'Michael Fassbender', only to have the results be 99% on his co-star Alicia. I'm not a fan of hers. Again, I like some of her work, I'm aware of her, but I'm not a fan of hers. When I do an Internet search on Michael Fassbender, the subject of this blog, I don't want to be referred to articles on her. There is a massive lack of balance in the promotional benefits of TLBO that has greatly benefited Alicia more than Michael. The film comes out in a month, and besides some fun promotional things Michael did last week here in the States, Michael will not be on any of the all important September issues of the few men's interests magazines that he could have been featured on. Alicia got the grandest cover of them all - September's Vanity Fair issue. And this cover is to complement the several other high profile magazine covers she has received this Spring/Summer. Landing on the cover of VF signals to the world that YOU have arrived in Hollywood and are pretty much being ordained Hollywood Royalty. Where is Michael's cover? Why couldn't they be on the cover together, you know, to promote their love story and love story movie? An opportunity was missed here and it's really annoying to me.

Michael will star as Tom in TLBO, out on September 2
Yes, Alicia's co-starring in Bourne with Matt Damon, and it's the #1 movie in the world at the moment. She won an Oscar, albeit in a fraudulent category, but she has won, after one nomination. Michael has worked his ass off for the past solid ten years plus and has produced work and high brow performances in those ten years than a dozen actors combined couldn't do. He presented a mesmerizing Steve Jobs and a heartbreaking MacBeth in one season. And yet, no Oscar (two nominations, one egregious snub), not even a hollow PR bought and sold Golden Globe to recognize his greatness. For this upcoming awards season, no matter how well received TLBO and Michael's performance may be, the Oscars will be in 'Let's make up for last year's PR fiasco' mode, and they will go out of their way to recognize someone else in the Best Actor category. Watch! Another way to measure how the publicity of their working relationship and acting together in TLBO has benefited Alicia, is to review their IMDB pages. In Michael's defense, he was down in Australia for nearly four months working on Alien Covenant in relative peace and away from prying paparazzi eyes. So he was not available for interviews and attend fun events to stay in the public's eye - he was working. He was able to help do some promotion for X-Men: Apocalypse, which went on to do well at the box office. Meanwhile, Alicia's IMDB as of this week has her in the holy top 10, while Michael is somewhere in the "top 500".

You mean to tell me that 499 celebrities have more visibility and PR awareness than Michael Fassbender? The rankings are skewed towards women (current 9 out of the top 10 are women), TV show stars, and celebrities currently in films that are playing in theaters.  So what I'm getting at is that if this were a legitimate working and otherwise whatever kind of relationship between Alicia and Michael, why isn't her higher PR profile and constant mentioning of Michael not giving him the PR visibility that he deserves? Something is strangely amiss and it doesn't sit right with me. Why? I don't think Michael has been happy with the way the publicity has been presented for TLBO. I've been following his career for almost ten years and I know when he is truly happy and comfortable when he's doing film promotions, and he's not at his peak form with this project. I'm confident he is proud of his work on TLBO and he will turn out another fantastic performance. But it's the behind the scenes PR relationship shenanigans that has been going on for nearly two years that is not working out so well. A man who is so easily identified as a jolly and happy go lucky honest guy when he is with the people and places he wants to be, seems to be very guarded, reserved, with a forced toothless smile when he's doing promotional work with his TLBO co-star. Oh, he puts in good enough effort to fool the sea of the gullible and blind, and he meets the minimum requirements that he is obligated to, but underneath all that, I sense that he's stressed out, disengaged, and I feel bad for him.

Michael as Callum in Assassin's Creed, out on December 21st
But, it's not all gloom and doom. Michael is a well respected, known actor of highly praised and enviable talent. As his promotion for Assassin's Creed begins, his IMDB rating will go higher. I've seen him in the top 30, so he'll be there again. Michael will be the guest of honor at this year's TIFF Soiree, a unique opportunity and honor for the truly talented who have a long, diverse and revered catalog of work to showcase and recognize. It is my hope that in the future, Michael does what is in his heart, and not by what he is being misguided into doing in order to promote a film. I have long believed that it is unnecessary to link two people together for PR. Just because their characters are in a relationship, doesn't mean the actors are a match in real life. The audience is more savvy than Hollywood thinks we are, and we don't need Michael Fassbender's desirability lured to us because he's supposedly attached to someone he supposedly fell in love with while making a movie. This film isn't Twilight marketed to tweens! Contrived showmances wear people down whose hearts aren't in it! I do understand the original purpose of this relationship, but it's well past its expiration date. When TLBO premieres at its only film festival date in Venice a few weeks from now, Michael will be there and surely will Alicia. This will be the perfect time for them to take red carpet pictures together for posterity. Surely Michael will be his usual professional self and put his best effort forward at this high profile event. I hope the film does well so that all of Michael's efforts behind and in front of the camera for this project were not in vain.

I see a very bright future ahead for Michael. Even though some of the stress and disappointments of the past almost two years can be one gigantic teaching moment for him, hopefully this just made him a stronger human being, and more determined to do things his way as his career progresses. I sense that Michael will be taking the bull by the horns and participating in activities, making films, and hanging out with people that make him truly happy, and his honest happiness makes me happy for him.


Unknown said...

Yet people will say she hasn't benefited from being linked to him. She has gotten more out of this relationship than he has, but he doesn't seem to care which is good. He just wants to work, but I am tired of hearing of her. I just want Michael. Even married celeb couples don't have to share so much attention or mentioned in every aspect of each other's work. They are separate people.

Stefanie Golz said...

While reading your essay I realized why I currently don't follow this project as much as I originally thought I would. It stars two of my absolute favourites (Michael (obviously) and Rachel Weisz) but I just don't get excited about it. While reading it hit me that I didn't watch much of the promo because I hate seeing this intelligent, funny, talented, nice, caring & normaly open man so sad. I wish him all the happiness in the world but don't see any when his co-star is around. Where is the reverence and loving admiration he normaly shows around his co-stars? He is not himself but his self was the reason I started to care for him (and not just his incredible career).
I want to avoid this mess but I am feeling bad because I want him to know that there are people who care about him. Just him and not him & someone else.

Simone Cromer said...

Thank you both for your comments. The primary receipt I needed to confirm if their relationship was real or not was on Oscar night when she pranced up stage, just like she was promised, and didn't even thank Michael. Anyone truly in love with that man would have mentioned him in their Oscar speech to the world. I just shook my head after she left the stage.

Georgia 1977 said...

1. He doesn't have to explain himself to anyone.
2. Some dipsh*t made up lies.
3. Michael actually has the talent to have a wonderful career.
4. Someone else with a toddler sized penis is making him suffer.

Webigail said...

With all due respect to Michael's fans and bloggers, I really think we shouldn't speculate or concern ourselves with Michael's personal relationships. We like him, admire his talent and maybe even fantasize about being with him but we don't have any stake in him or the decisions he makes about his life and career. I personally think it's a good thing that attention is being given to talented women in the industry. Let's applaud diversity and efforts to evolve from "Oscars so White"

Simone Cromer said...

@Webigail, for the most part I agree with you regarding discussion his personal life, and that's why I don't write about it much. But due to recent events, I felt compelled to share my opinion, one of which I kept to myself for well over a year, because it is a topic actively discussed on the internet. Some fans fantasize about him, I don't, and none of us have a personal stake in the decisions he makes. But in all fairness, what he puts out in public, is part of the public domain to discuss, and it's my desire to host positive and mature discourse when appropriate.

Georgia 1977 said...

"We like him, admire his talent and maybe even fantasize about being with him but we don't have any stake in him or the decisions he makes about his life and career."
Check yourself, dear. I don't think everyone fantasizes about being with him. Nor Harvey Weinstein.

Gisa said...

Simone, thank you, thank you, thank you for speaking out loud what I have been thinking ever since the publicity for the new film began. All the revelations suddenly came from Alicia, not a word from him, until they finally had to make some appearances together and once again it was obvious how ill at ease he was. He has been pushed into a corner in this aggressive and sick-makingly coy campaign which aims to push their personal relationship down out throats so we shall give in to our voyeuristic tendencies and go to see the film where it all began. It is degrading to an artist of his stature. I hope he will have the strength to put all this behind him and continue with his always exciting portrayals in films of value.
Gisa W. Slonim

Webigail said...

@Georgia 1977. I said maybe. I never assumed everyone wants to be with Michael. I simply don't understand the reference to Harvey Weinstein. Apologies if my statement ruffled feathers.