Light vs Dark

This has been my go-to picture as of late. when I need a little peaceful respite from surfing the rough waters of the internet, I look at this photo of Hayden Christensen and get lost in the light vs dark aesthetic. the light and dark of the shadows on his face, the light and dark clothing and also how it highlights his eyebrow scar, and that it’s on the ‘light side’ of his face instead of the dark- all of which could be a nod to his Star Wars character Anakin Skywalker, which was probably what he was promoting when the photo was taken (I don’t know who the photographer is but I’m guessing it’s from around 2005).

Hayden’s 40th birthday was a few weeks ago and so the fans have been highlighting his various roles and changing looks through the years. it’s been enjoyable for me to see the appreciation the younger fans have of all the eras of his life, not just the earlier days when he held heartthrob status. the passage of time can be it’s own form of light vs dark. like the imperfection of Hayden’s eyebrow scar, aging can be a beautiful and powerful thing if seen in the right light.

We’re only gettin’ older, baby
And I’ve been thinkin’ about it lately
Does it ever drive you crazy
Just how fast the night changes?

[song lyrics from Night Changes by One Direction]

Kids Will Be Kids

I read an excerpt from a past interview with Hayden recently, where he talked about pretending to be hurt all the time when he was a kid, to tease his mom. I found it funny because I had done very similar things when I was young too…

HAYDEN: I liked to convince my mother I was badly hurt. I’d yell from the upper landing, “Hey Mom!” and fall down the stairs. She’d get all hysterical, and I’d have a good laugh.

ME: one Saturday morning while my parents were still sleeping, I painted my hands with red poster paint and then ran into their room whimpering in fake cries, saying I cut myself. my mom jumped up with a start, but I couldn’t keep a straight face and started laughing.

HAYDEN: I’d choreograph fist fights with my little sister. She’d punch me in the face and I would throw her to the ground and kick her. My mom would scream, “kids, stop it!”

ME: my older brother and I would start a fake argument, then he would throw out a fake punch like he was hitting me in the face, while his other hand would smack his own chest. it sounded like he really hit me. I would cry out and fall to the ground. my mom would yell my brother’s name in shock, and then I’d jump up and we’d laugh.

HAYDEN: She became convinced that anytime I was in pain I was faking. 
ME: my mom said that I should be a professional wrestler because I was so dramatic.

HAYDEN: this one time at McDonald’s, I was swinging back and forth on this chair and accidentally hit my head on the table and put my bottom tooth through my lip. I was on the ground in a pool of blood screaming and my mom walked over to me and said, “Hayden, stop it! People are looking! What is that, ketchup? A little elaborate, don’t you think?” And I was like, “No, Mom, it really hurts!” It took her 30 seconds to be like, “Oh my God!” I still have a scar on my bottom lip.

ME: I broke my arm once, jumping over a chair. I kept complaining that my arm hurt but my mom would roll her eyes and say I was fine. finally after a week she took me to the emergency room to get it checked out, where the doctor chastised her for waiting so long. afterwards she took me out for pizza because she felt bad about not believing me.

Kids Will Be Kids.

When Idols Take the Wheel

When pruning my Twitter follows recently, I realized that I follow very few celebrities. I’m very stingy with my follows anyway but I’m extra tough on my favs. I quit following when they preach about proper behavior, when they won’t shut up about voting, or when their selfies look nothing like them. Instagram is generally safer in this regard because it’s acceptable to post a pic with very little commentary. like when Brett Dalton posts pics of sunny days out with his daughter or plugs work other than his own. he posts an abundance of filtered selfies too but they always look like him.

Tony Hawk posts nostalgic videos of his skateboarding with his current endeavors weaved in, along with funny incidents of people telling him he looks like Tony Hawk without realizing that he actually is Tony Hawk.

Finding that balance of showing enough of one’s self without showing too much is hard for all of us, and I understand that my favs are human but I want them to be better than average, because isn’t that what an idol is? someone to admire and look up to, not someone to look across at. I feel connected to them when they’re like me but I need them to show me how to be me better than I already am, if that makes any sense.

There’s a song by FINNEAS called Can’t Wait to be Dead that was written about the pitfalls of social media. in the first verse he compares it to sitting in the backseat of a car, being driven around by someone who doesn’t really know you. I think that’s a really good analogy because it’s how I feel when I read the tweets and posts and stories of my favs. they’re the driver and I’m trusting them to safely deliver me to my happy place, instead of dropping me off in the seedy part of town- assuming they know what ‘happy’ means to me.

me, when my favs talk politics

The song goes on to offer other comparisons like:

Somebody’s trying to help and making everything worse
Somebody please call the nurse

Somebody’s ripping you off, trying to sell you good news
You know we’re still gonna lose

And the ever apt:

But I need to be where you are, for no reason at all or else I’ll suffer withdrawals

That’s really what it comes down to, why we flock to the Twitters and Instagrams and Tiktoks of the people that we admire- we want to know that they are real, that they exist and operate in the same world that we do. I feel that way too, I like knowing that they build sandcastles and snowmen with their kids, that they watch television, and buy rugs at the flea market. but then I also see them second guessing themselves and making rash decisions, I see them not being strong enough or mature enough to walk away from baiting and taunting, or when they care too much about status and are naïve about the privileges it affords them.

It’s better that I learn about their hobbies and daily habits from the interviews they give and the public appearances they make, when they have both hands on the wheel and are aware of where they’re taking me. and when I get out of the car, I can then imagine them in endless scenarios that I’m in control of, where they’re oblivious to the social media issues I encounter everyday. my favs not being attached to social media is in itself something I admire and aspire to. so to those who have resisted the lure, thank you for keeping the mystery alive! my ‘happy place’ is imagining that you’re happy in yours.

Nobody’s coming to save me
Nobody knows any better anyway
I think we’re thinking the same thing
If this is how it ends, I wasn’t listening

[song lyrics from Can’t Wait to be Dead by FINNEAS]

Green

just some green-centric photoshoot pics in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

JAMIE DORNAN- photographed by Zoe McConnell for Variety (2020)

JOE KEERY- photographed by Micaiah Carter for Netflix Queue (2020)

ROBERT PATTINSON- photographed by Ryan McGinley for Interview (2018)

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN- photographed by Simon Upton (2005)

ANSEL ELGORT- photographed by David Needleman for Billboard (2017)

RICHARD ARMITAGE- photographed by Francesco Guidicini for Sunday Times (2014)

DAN STEVENS- photographed by David Burton for GQ (2017)

CHRISTIAN BALE- photographed by Robert Ascroft for Parade (2009)

BONUS: this Hayden Christensen/Rachel Bilson outtakes vid for the DoSomething.Org 2008 charity drive.  because his laugh is a treasure.

More Than Human

The Dan Stevens German language film I’m Your Man is currently competing at the Berlin International Film Festival. I’ve been seeing clips here and there over the past few weeks and it’s really peaked my interest in the film.

When I first announced Dan’s involvement in this movie, I found the premise intriguing but now after reading an interview with the movie’s director/writer Maria Schrader, I’m finding it even more so. the storyline is described as:

Alma, a workaholic archeologist with no interest in romance (Maren Eggert) takes part in an experiment. For three weeks she will test drive the latest in dating technology: a lifelike android, called Tom (Dan Stevens), programmed solely for her happiness. Things don’t go as planned.

The article from The Hollywood Reporter goes on to ask,

What would happen if we had robots that actually were what we imagined they could be? Namely non-violent, without a desire for freedom, completely un-self-serving? What if you had the perfect love servant, someone who gave you their undivided attention and, at the same time, wasn’t driven by what all humans are driven by, namely fear. Fear of death, fear of abandonment. Free of ambition. Free of jealousy. Wouldn’t they be the better humans?

My immediate thought was, well that would be boring, wouldn’t it?’ to have someone at your beck and call. but if they were programmed with you specifically in mind? I think that would blur the lines a lot more. which is why ‘Alma warns not to legalize these robots. Eventually, they would make us obsolete. Because they are the better humans.’ this all sounds like deep, dramatic stuff but the film is actually categorized as a romantic comedy- though of the dry, subtle kind I’m assuming. which makes it even more intriguing to me.

In the interview, Maria talks about what it was like to film during quarantine too, the work-around to scenes that called for groups of people to be in close proximity to each other and how it was this timing that dropped a talented actor like Dan, a native Englishman who could pull off the German language delivery and the character development with finesse, into her lap

it was a joy to work with an actor where we could play with it: how much human will we show, when can you see the machine inside, when can’t you? When he learns more, how does he change? What is artificial and what isn’t and is the not-artificial automatically better?

The film has been getting a lot of praise from critics, which makes me hopeful that it will get picked up from distributers and brought to the general viewing public in a timely manner. while Dan has released plenty of content since Legion ended with it’s 3rd season in 2019, nothing has caught my eye in a way that’s lit a real spark of excitement in me, until this.

Alma believes in romantic love but not as something you can buy but as something that happens by chance. A Godsend. Unpredictable. But is the fact that you can order Tom make him less valuable, does it make him less valid? Are the feelings less authentic?

This kind of film, lighthearted dry humor with underlying depth that leaves you thinking afterwards, is where Dan really shines as a performer. I’m looking very forward to seeing him in this type of role again.