You know what fame is? Fame is widespread rioting because fans didn’t get to pay their respects at your funeral. Via Reuters:
Mobs torched buses, attacked company offices and stoned police on the streets of India’s technology hub on Thursday ahead of the funeral of film icon Rajkumar, whose death has triggered widespread mourning.
Officers had earlier retaliated with tear gas and baton-charges as thousands converged on a stadium in Bangalore, home to major Indian and international technology firms, where the actor’s body had been put on view in a transparent coffin.
Kannada megastar Dr. Rajkumar, a veteran of over 200 films, died of cardiac arrest yesterday. BBC has pictures of the masses mourning, while Rediff has a special section with tributes to the actor from fans, family and friends.
It goes without saying that we can come up with exactly zero stars here whose deaths would spark violent lamentation. Few stars could be described as "beloved" these days â€” if our appetite for the gossip glossies is more ravenous than ever, it’s also at least half schadenfreude: "God, look how awful she looks in this photo!" Stephen Hunter writes in the Washington Post:
Louis B. Mayer used to brag that MGM, the studio he led through its golden age, boasted all the stars in Heaven. In those days, that was something: Stars counted. Garbo, Gable, Garland, just to cover the G’s.
Today, it’s said, the only thing a star is good for is to get you a table in a crowded restaurant.
And it’s true, stars can’t really open films the way they used to; people respond more to Internet buzz, TV ads, movie crit — er, no, Roger Ebert.
Hunter goes on to examine films that make good use of stars ("Inside Man") and others that don’t ("Basic Instinct 2"), and dabbles at explaining the indescribable â€” what makes certain people "stars" as opposed to "actors" (possibly that they are always more themselves on screen than the characters they’re supposed to play, and that audiences are okay with that?). Over at the Independent, David Thomson also dwells on Ms. Stone, a star if there ever was one, if one who, as Thomson argues, found a great role only once:
I knew people who knew Sharon Stone and they reported that she was fun, grown up, unsentimental, fully aware of the journey she had made to stardom and of how quickly it could end in ashes after the age of 40. She worked for charity. She had a smashing dress sense. She had more humour than half-a-dozen actresses. She even gave one great performance, enough to show that she was more than just a beautiful woman. That role was Ginger in Martin Scorsese‘s "Casino" – a driven slut, a junkie and an addict for jewellery, money and pushing "fuck" and its variants into every sentence. There aren’t many great performances by actresses in Scorsese’s work, and Ginger looks better over the years. Neither that film nor her character were funny, but the hint was clear – that Sharon Stone was equipped to play smart comedy and eager to do it.
And at the London Times, Ian Johns discusses another important star-making quality: divadom:
During a New York press junket for "Demolition Man," Sylvester Stallone refused to mumble sweet nothings into the tape recorders of journalists until the yellow walls of his room were repainted the more eyeball-friendly hue of peach. Perhaps itâ€™s not so different from the days when Joan Crawford would insist that the temperature on the set was a constant 68 degrees and Marilyn Monroe would request that any blonde co-stars dyed their hair a different colour.
Hee, "Demolition Man."
+ Mobs rampage in Indian tech city after actor dies (Reuters)
+ In pictures: Rajkumar’s death mourned (BBC)
+ Farewell, Dr. Rajkumar (Rediff)
+ To Shine, Stars Must Be Aligned Properly (Washington Post)
+ Film Studies: If only Sharon could get back to basics (Independent)
+ I want it all and I want it now! (London Times)