In the hundreds of interviews conducted with stars, my favorite responses are those that imply a degree of mysticism to their current status in life.
I love it when they speak of the unfathomable or amazing nature of working with one another. “First of all, let me say that working with Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street was amazing and incredible and a richly rewarding experience in my life that I shall never forget. The way that man simulated a sweep of his imaginary storefront was breathtaking. How he made that sweep appear so effortless was just surreal. It was my honor working with him.” I think if they attach superstardom to their fellow stars, they think that they will be granted the same degree of awe one day, if they’re lucky to work as long in the business as a Mr. Hooper had.
Catherine Zeta Jones claimed that working with Sean Connery on Entrapment was amazing; everyone who has ever worked with Deniro has claimed that it was indescribable; and the same holds true with anyone who has ever worked with the man who despised the profession Marlon Brando.
The rockers can be just as silly. I remember one of my idols, Gene Simmons being interviewed, and he said something along the lines of: “We were all searching for a name for the band. People threw out the dumbest names, and we laughed at them. Finally, Peter Criss said: ‘how about Kiss?’ and he laughed, but no one else did.” In other words, it was by some sort of divine intervention that he came up with that name, and they were all a little rattled by it. They knew that their calling now had a name, and they would take to the hills with the name Kiss as their battle cry. Now, I agree that there is a beauty in the simplicity of all things, but to assign something more to it than what it is can be a little silly at times.
The person who played Arnold Horshack on the television show Welcome Back Kotter was being interviewed one time on the Biography Channel. In it, the Horshack guy detailed for the world the origins of one of the dumbest laughs that has ever graced the airwaves. It was intentionally idiotic, so I have no qualms about saying how dumb it was. He stated that he didn’t know where the laugh came from. He said that the creator of the show asked him to come up with one, and he did it. This may sound simple and lacking in any drama that would suggest mysticism, but you had to hear the way the man said it. It was as if he had climbed the walls of Mount Sinai and came back with a laugh. I don’t begrudge the Horshack guy any of the fame he achieved with that laugh, and if it continues to give him something of a paycheck, then I would give him a high five for channeling that laugh into a decent living. To suggest, with his tones, that the creation of the laugh was something other than what it was is simply ludicrous. I dare say that if ‘Kotter lasted ten more years, Horshack or the creators would’ve decided to scale back on the laugh as a momentary gimmick that was no longer necessary.
I’m thinking that if we got behind the scenes of some of these mystical selections in casting, we would see simpler truths. Why did you select Justin Timberlake to be a part of the boy band he was in? He was cute. Why was Angelina Jolie selected for the Laura Croft character in Tomb Raider? Who gives a blank she’s hot dude. If we asked the ‘Kotter creators how Horshack was selected it might have something to do with his accent, or his look, or something stupid he did in the tryouts. My point is that these people will not admit that they’re chimps like the rest of us are, but they know that they are. They know that they lucked out in the lottery of life, and that they were probably in the right place at the right time, but if they provide this moment in time mystical attachment they might be able to fortify the illusion that they are somehow different.