Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hilary Duff: The New Faye Dunaway?

By Lars Trodson

In one of our most recent essays we mused about how fleeting stardom has turned out to be, even for those stars we thought would live in the minds of the public forever. Our example was Clark Gable, but Hilary Duff helped illustrate our point. According to the tabloids, Faye Dunaway had a slightly acerbic reaction to the notion of Miss Duff taking on the role of Bonnie in a remake of the classic “Bonnie and Clyde” -- which was released in 1967.

According to gossip columnist Michael Musto of the Village Voice, there was the following exchange: “Faye recently mouthed off on the upcoming remake of Bonnie and Clyde, which costars the Duse of the nail salon crowd, Duff. As the Joan Crawford impersonator opined, "Couldn't they at least cast a real actress?" “Ouch-a-ma-goucha. No wilting flower, Duff shot right back, "I think that my fans that are going to see the movie don't even know who Dunaway is. I think it was a little unnecessary, but I might be mad if I looked like that now, too."

Ahh, the confidence of a 21-year-old celebrity.

But the problem is, Duff is almost certainly correct. I wonder how many 21 year olds do know who Faye Dunaway is. A sense of tradition, which was once so important in the theatrical arts, seems to have been lost. Of course, another question arises: if Dunaway, an Oscar winner with a resume that includes several movies now considered classics, is a has-been, and worthy of neglect and contempt, where does anyone think Duff will be in 40 years?

After all, when Dunaway was in her prime, she was making originals. Duff, at 21, is already appearing in remakes. Because of that, she shouldn't pity Dunaway. Duff should stand in awe of Dunaway's accomplishments, and realize with fear that the spotlight has a tendency to turn away from everyone, eventually, even the young and the beautiful. It even turns away from people who have dome some worthwhile things.

Musto's column is here: