“Stars — they’re just like us!” Us Weekly has been insisting for nearly 20 years in its popular feature.
But the truth is, when a glittering Hollywood actor descends from Mount Olympus to mingle with us normals, it’s an unbearably strenuous experience for them that they cannot shut up about.
A-listers desperately need you to know that they are about as much like us as a pile of diamonds on a private beach in Fiji is.
Matt Damon is the latest offender, taking on the part of a plaid-loving Oklahoma oil rig worker in the new movie “Stillwater,” out Friday. When it premiered this month at the Cannes Film Festival, Damon discussed his preparation for the part and sounded like St. Francis of Assisi meeting Italy’s poor.
“Being invited into their homes, into a backyard barbecue, a guitar comes out and they start singing church songs,” he said at a press conference. “They all have goatees, the sunglasses. They’re not six-pack ab guys, but they’re strong.
“It was really eye-opening for me.”
Eye-opening? What — that the rest of us don’t eat all our meals at Nobu or have full-time personal trainers to perfect our abdominals? The actor also insisted his character would’ve voted for President Trump, had his time spent in prison not prevented him from going to the ballot box.
“They’re in the oil business, of course he voted for Trump,” Damon said. “These guys don’t apologize for who they are.”
Of course! As Damon is now the Dr. Jane Goodall of Midwesterners, he would know better than the actual people.
Another actor who’s deeply in touch with the unwashed masses is Frances McDormand, who has won a mere three Oscars. Married to famed director Joel Coen, who has won a mere four Oscars, she lives in a small beach town in California that she described in a hilarious New York Times interview.
“I get to live my more authentic self here,” she said. “And I don’t have to pretend to be anybody else.” McDormand, unlike this interview suggests, does not reside in a hermitage in the Chinese mountains. Her home is about an hour away from San Francisco.
To prepare for her role in “Nomadland” as Fern, a woman who tours the country in a van after falling on hard times, she oh-so-selflessly worked the regular jobs her character did.
“Harvesting beets I did not enjoy because it’s really back-breaking work,” she told USA Today. She also clocked in at an Amazon warehouse. “I love repetitive work like that. Would I want to do it all the time? No.”
Well, Frances, the good thing is you don’t have to. Unlike the real-life nomads who “didn’t know” you’re an actor, you are a multi-millionairess. With three Oscars.
A favorite day-tripper is Kevin Bacon. Sure, in 1984 he wasn’t the world’s most famous man, but he had starred in “Friday the 13th” and the Mickey Rourke movie “Diner.” Not exactly obscure off-Broadway plays.
To ease into his biggest role ever, as Ren in “Footloose,” Bacon went to high school in Utah — for a whole day!
“The only people that knew that I was an actor was the principal and maybe the guidance counselor,” he said at a Variety event. “The teachers didn’t know. The students didn’t know.”
Yes, I am sure not a single one of these students ever saw your iconic murder scene in “Friday the 13th,” Kev. His bleary-eyed classmates, he claims, were even mean to him.
“It was terrifying. I got a real insight into literally how to play this part,” Bacon said. “It was exactly like the movie because some kids gave me a hard time, made fun of me, made fun of my hair, made fun of my clothing. I was dressed and looked like the character. Some of the girls giggled and formed little groups and would whisper about me.”
The horror! At least he was able leave such mundanity behind to return to life as a well-compensated, adored Hollywood star.
When Glenn Close, God bless her, got ready to play Mamaw in “Hillbilly Elegy,” for which she received her eighth Oscar nod, she didn’t move into a trailer park and conceal her identity from her neighbors — she watched some videos and asked the person’s family a few questions.
“We had a portrait of Mamaw, we had wonderful input from the family, very specific input, and video that gave her great energy [and] essence,” she told Yahoo.
See? Close didn’t treat Kentuckians like zoo animals and then go on a self-satisfied press tour proclaiming “I am different from them!” She’s a Hollywood actress we can all get behind.
Then again, in eight tries, she’s never won an Oscar. Maybe try flipping burgers for a day, Glenn.