Will we ever see a movie star once again rise through the ranks in the way that actors such as Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep did? In today’s tech frenzied world, actors and fans can engage via several social media sites. Speaking recently at a press conference for his upcoming Netflix film, Bright, A-list star Will Smith talked about how he doesn’t think movie stars can be made today the same way they were in the past.
“Essentially the fans being more and more involved in the creative process, you know, in terms of movie stardom it’s a huge difference. It’s like you almost can’t make new movie stars anymore”
Stars are still being made, but perhaps not in the traditional ways of the past. Social media can and has influenced Hollywood. While YouTube hasn’t made any big movie stars yet (my guess is it is only a matter of time), the platform has hosted series that went on to be picked up by major networks, namely Broad City and Mail Order Comedy, which evolved into Workaholics.
“It’s like because there’s a certain amount of privacy and there was a certain amount of distance that you had from the audience. But in the shift into this new world it’s almost like a friendship.”
Smith is correct, in today’s world anyone can tweet to an actor, and many people do. There are no assurances the star is going to reply or even read the tweet, but it is a lot better than sending off a letter that never gets read. Many actors and actresses do engage with fans through sites like Twitter and Facebook. This is in part because of how easy it is to interact. Because of this I think fans in general do feel a bit closer to stars of Hollywood, perhaps not to the point of a friendship as Smith says, but there is definitely more access to them than there was in the past. Movie stars throughout the 80s and 90s lived a much more private life than the stars of today, they had little to no engagement with the public, in comparison to today’s world.