There’s this scene in an episode of Modern Family where a group of kids, who age between 16 and 21, accidentally run into Ray Liotta not knowing that he was one of the biggest stars in the 90s. The bygone actor seemed somewhat perplexed and distraught that the kids didn’t know who he was. He tried name dropping some of his most popular films like Goodfellas and Cop Land but much to his chagrin, the clueless millennials really didn’t know who he was.
Shortly after that I read somewhere that Liotta had signed on to do a Bollywood film, and, even though it wasn’t my proudest moment, I chuckled a bit.
To see a now forgotten Hollywood megastar “stoop down” to do a Bollywood film, a venture he would probably feel reluctant to undertake had he been able to retain his fame in America, is sort of laughable.
A year later his name was suspiciously removed from the project around the same time he landed a starring role opposite Jennifer Lopez in Shades of Blue, a pedantic American cop show, while another Hollywood has-been took his slot – Brendan Fraser (George of the Jungle, anyone?)
Western celebrities have a long-standing history of going East when their star power loses its luster.
The director of the Bollywood film titled The Field, claims that the reason Liotta left the project is because Brendan Fraser better suited the role.
I’m not buying it.
The more plausible reason would be that Liotta dumped Bollywood like a bad tampon and went crawling back to Hollywood when it came calling again.
Western celebrities have a long-standing history of going East when their star power loses its luster. Early 2000s stars Josh Harnett (The Virgin Suicides. Pearl Harbor) and Hayden Christensen (The Star Wars prequels), both of whom haven’t starred in anything big in over a decade, recently starred in a Bollywood film and a Chinese film respectively. And even pop stars like Avril Lavigne and former boy band member, Shane Filan have found more sustainable success in Asia.
Sofia Coppola parodied this phenomena in her film, Lost in Translation, which is about a has-been American television star who agrees to do a humiliating whiskey commercial in Japan in order to pay his mortgage.
I sincerely hope that Bollywood doesn’t lose its integrity by becoming a shelter for Hollywood rejects.
Nobody wants to see Seth Rogen dancing in an item song five years from now.
ARTWORK BY MIRA MALHOTRA