A conflicted movie star may be the perfect casting choice for some directors. With the added pressures of fame, money and reputation that comes with being in show business, many actors who once seemed to have clear intentions about their career choose to branch out and explore other areas. This can lead to great acting talent and a lucrative career. However, there are many times when a star’s actions are so consuming that they overshadow their good intentions.
An ex-con, turned good, struggles to maintain his freedom after landing a role on a popular show. He becomes more involved in his work and spends much of his time trying to hold on to what he has left of his good name and reputation. His new partner tries to encourage him to relax and pursue his acting career with more confidence but he remains hesitant. This causes his relationship with his family to suffer.
As his career takes off he meets a beautiful woman who has the same goals in life. He lets his romantic side come out while still holding onto a job and his sense of self. Things quickly take a turn however when he discovers that she is married. This causes him to rethink his decisions and fall back into old habits.
This conflict between what an actor wants and what he thinks he needs plays itself out again in the movie industry. Sometimes actors try to do too much and jeopardize their actual careers. Other times they make decisions based on what will benefit them instead of what will benefit their characters. Sometimes they go way over the top in their performances causing a critical acclaim to be overlooked. All of these conflicts have one thing in common: They bring the character closer to the audience. When all of these play out, the audience can connect with the emotional conflicts and experiences the actor is portraying.
In the movie “Laguna Beach” Matthew McConaughey plays an aging, war-damaged former Air Force pilot who is living with his second wife. He tries to run away from home and not let his wife see him, but when she does come across the old photographs that once belonged to her father he snaps. The two begin fighting and he ends up strangling her in the midst of the argument. It takes the help of some Hollywood agents to intervene and end this vicious cycle.
In the movie “Spotlight” Tom Hanks plays an actor trapped by the media. He lashes out at the press for criticizing his performance. Eventually the press learns of his anger and he must face his demons. Hanks comes across as a realist while also having moments of true heroism.
In the movie “A Christmas Story” Tim Burton turns the story of a young boy who builds his own tree house to Christmas in the hopes of providing his daughter with a new friend. During this process he forms a close friendship with a young girl named Belle. At the beginning of the movie both characters seem to be perfect for each other, until their different opinions about the holiday causes them to argue often. As the relationship grows they learn to overcome their conflicts and find a place for themselves in each other’s lives.
In all of the examples I have mentioned above you can see that there are two sides to every story. Sometimes the character acts in a way that is in alignment with his values. At other times his actions are at odds with his inner core. The conflict in these movies arises from the internal conflicts within the character and how those conflicts are resolved. The movie ends, the audience sees the resolution and hopefully learns a lesson or two from watching the character grow in his character.