There are no actresses of character in Hollywood. Yes, the actors of character, who for decades the specialized press has presented as indomitable and temperamental men, of severe ambition, misunderstood geniuses so perfectionists that even their lack of education is justified by the ultimate goal they pursue.
The list is long: from legends of the stature of Marlon Brando or Gene Hackman, to more contemporary trainees like Christian Bale, Jared Leto or Shia LaBeouf, who have repeatedly tormented co-stars, technical team or journalists, only to increase their status as interpretive forces.
Before the arrival of Me Too and movements like Time’s Up, Hollywood had another adjective reserved to describe women who dared to vocalize 10% of the demands or protests of their male colleagues: “difficult.”
And with professional consequences – such as the most absolute defenestration – very different from theirs, perhaps because of the historical docility attributed to female stars in the Los Angeles hills. Once the label is awarded, recovering is not easy and the case of Katherine Heigl is proof of that.
Back in 2005, the role of Dr. Izzie Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy series catapulted Heigl to international fame, who first stood in front of a camera as a child.
The Washington actress caught the attention of the industry before any other cast member of the hit series, boasting a privileged physique (voted sexiest woman in the world), a remarkable comic strength and an unquestionable intuition to interpret the romantic scenes, as demonstrated by broken hearts by his fictional romance with the patient Danny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and whose tragic outcome brought together more than 22 million viewers in the United States alone.
She was soon elevated to the category of “America’s next girlfriend,” following in the footsteps of others like Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, and Jennifer Aniston, and made the leap to the movies starring in some of the highest-grossing romantic comedies of the first decade of the decade. century.
In addition to winning an Emmy and getting two Golden Globe nominations, the good numbers of Embarrassing Mess , 27 Dresses or The Raw Reality made her one of the highest paid women in the mecca of cinema, enjoying a salary higher than 10 million euros at age 26.
She was also a pioneer in founding her own production company with which to control the development of her projects, something that stars like Margot Robbie and Alicia Vikander imitate today. But, within a couple of years, her success faded as if it had been the product of a fairy godmother’s spell and the church clock had just struck twelve.
With The Dance of the Fireflies , his new television project, which premieres on Netflix this February 3, Heigl will try to regain lost ground.
This melodrama, based on the homonymous book by Kristin Hannah, chronicles the tumultuous friendship between two women (Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs , completes the duo) for three decades and its premiere has had a surprising reception by the critics, which highlights the interpretive talent of its protagonist to deconstruct his –apparently perfect– character and create a production with a desktop spirit.
The dramatic abilities of the interpreter were never discussed. The apparent reason for his fall from the Hollywood Olympus is based on an undesirable sincerity in the industry and the poor digestion of perhaps too great and too sudden a success.
After winning the Emmy, the actress refused to repeat the nomination, considering that her character had not enjoyed the best material that season, thus unleashing the fury of the creator of the series, the all-powerful Shonda Rhimes (The Bridgertons) , who more than one A decade later, he continues to refuse to allow the one who was the great star of the medical series to put on the doctor’s gown again.
When a few years earlier he dared to publicly denounce his partner Isaiah Washington for having uttered a homophobic insultto actor TR Knight on the set, the young woman’s honesty was praised in hagiographic reports on her figure.
Nor did Hollywood like his statements about his biggest movie success to date Embarrassing mess , which he called “a bit sexist.” “She portrays women as humorless stretched out harpies, while men are clumsy, funny and lovable,” she explained, being branded as ungrateful and wacky by her film peers.
He was absolutely right in the world in his explanations, but in the pre-Me Too industry for a woman to report her bad taste in her mouth for having participated in a stereotypical movie was not yet celebrated by the industry stalls as it is today. .
The specialized press, which today drinks the winds for these profiles, whom it describes as brave and empowered activists, attacked her without any regard, publishing several confidentials in which anonymous sources related her despotic behavior with the technical team in each of her shootings.
While actors involved in cases of alleged abuse or sexual harassment have managed to continue with their careers (Johnny Depp or Casey Affleck, for example), the divism – another macho term in the cinema – of the actress made her deserving of a punishment much greater than his alleged crimes. “Heigl was one of the first victims of a particularly misogynistic current of what we now call the culture of cancellation,” says journalist Cole Delbyk inThe Huffington Post .
“I could have said a couple of things that weren’t right, but then that turned into ‘she’s ungrateful,’ then ‘it’s difficult’ and then ‘she’s not professional.’ What is your definition of difficult? Someone with an opinion that you don’t like?
Now I am 42 years old and that shit makes me very angry , ” the actress, who has spent years dealing with episodes of anxiety and suicidal thoughts due to the sudden collapse of her media image , has confessed to The Washington Post . “They quickly told me to shut the fuck up. But the more I apologized, the more they asked me to do it again, “he adds.
After apologizing to the point of exhaustion and fighting for five years to regain lost status in different television series – failing in the attempt -, The Dance of the Fireflies seems like the last opportunity to not say goodbye to the first line of the film. industry. Heigl herself recognizes in the interview that success is the best remedy to erase memories and recover wills in the hills of Los Angeles.
“You can already be the scariest, most difficult and horrible person on the planet who, if you make them earn money, they will continue to hire you.I knew that even if they felt that I did horrible things, they would look the other way if I enriched them. But my films began not to raise so much money, “he maintains, displaying his much-discussed brutal honesty.
It is now up to Netflix viewers that Katherine Heigl is finally separated from the label “difficult” in the Hollywood offices.