Are these international actors too big for their country?
After earning acclaim, some actors have consistently shied away from cinema in their nation of origin
At the risk of sounding poetic, an actor can claim to be a gypsy. After all, s/he travels for work and there is seldom something called an office in their professional orbit.
That also makes their job interesting, if one overlooks homesickness associated with their profession. As of today, there's not a country on this planet that doesn't boast of good cinema. In such a scenario, we are fast witnessing the rise of international cinema where filmmakers, actors and technicians — irrespective of their nationalities — converge for a film project.
The much welcome phenomenon is broadly labelled as global cinema. However, this development has provided a boost to some actors who achieved a breakthrough in films produced at their country of origin before venturing into global cinema. So much so they are now conveniently viewed more as international actors. hitlist profiles some of them:
Breakthrough film: The Apartment (1996)
Lowdown: All set to become the oldest Bond girl ever at the age of 50 in the upcoming film Spectre, the scintillating actress has so far featured in more number of non-Italian films than the other way around. And going by her current filmography, that statistic is in remote danger of ever changing.
Breakthrough film: Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Lowdown: He clearly knows where his priorities lie. Discovered by Quentin Tarantino, the gifted actor has enrolled himself into the pursuit of international cinema with a majority of them helmed by American productions. In simpler words, the Oscar-winner is on a roll.
Breakthrough film: La Vie en Rose (2007)
Lowdown: This Oscar-winning actress is shooting the big screen adaptation of Hamlet opposite Michael Fassbender. Her filmography is splendid but it's evident that her priorities lie in international films — not just Hollywood — as she hops from one big-budget venture to another.
Breakthrough film: Bullhead (2011)
Lowdown: Undoubtedly one of the finest young actors around, he's currently engaged in four international films — Far from the Madding Crowd, A Bigger Splash, Close Protection and Galveston — and we won't be surprised if he'll be a regular 'global' star cast soon.
Breakthrough film: Desperado (1995)
Lowdown: Her movie graph bears a strong resemblance to Antonio Banderas' as both initially got noticed thanks to their work in Hispanic cinema. After appearing in several global hits, she's presently married to a French billionaire and helms international projects as a hands-on producer.
Breakthrough film: La Haine (1995)
Lowdown: Thanks to his lean contours, it looks like he hasn't aged much although his choice of scripts has only wised up. An active presence in Hollywood behemoths, he has six films up for release in 2015 with two being Brazilian, one Italian, one American and the rest French.
Breakthrough film: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
Lowdown: He started off as a Spanish film actor. This was before Hollywood saw a potential magnet for the Latino populace in the country. Turned out he attracted everyone in and out of the radar given his onscreen personality. Which explains his constant presence in non-Spanish ventures.
Breakthroughfilm: The Last Samurai (2003)
Lowdown: It's been a decade since he went head and shoulder with Tom Cruise and in the meantime, he has worked in movies such as Batman Begins (2005), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Inception (2010) and the most recent Godzilla (2014). He has been a part of Japanese films as well.
Breakthrough film: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Lowdown: One can point out that she has maintained a steady balance between oriental films as well as occidental cinema. However, the number of Malaysian films she has featured in so far is almost negligible when compared to the number of big-banner (as well as lower-budgeted) films.
Breakthrough film: Flickering Lights (2000)
Lowdown: While he's a living legend in his home country, his repertoire extends beyond mortal boundaries. With a commanding presence in the TV series Hannibal along with a slew of international movies to his credit, the veteran actor is busy expanding his horizons — and how.
Breakthrough film: All About My Mother (1999)
Lowdown: It's been ages since this Hispanic bella has starred in a movie in her mother language. Not that anybody is complaining given her film credits have titles like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), To Rome with Love (2012) and The Counselor (2013) among others.
Breakthrough film: Before Night Falls (2000)
Lowdown: One of the choosiest A-list international actors around, he is presently shooting for three upcoming Hollywood films. Last year, he starred in the forgettable Spanish film Scorpion in Love. Before that, he played the lead role in the aptly titled Mexican masterpiece Biutiful (2010).
Breakthrough film: Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Lowdown: She made her presence felt in Woody Allen's dreamy Midnight in Paris (2011). Following which, the 29-year-old went on to star in several Hollywood ventures with last year's Blue Is the Warmest Color and this year's Beauty and the Beast being worthy exceptions.
There are some actors who have made a place for themselves in the cinema of a nation they don't belong to. We point out two from the Indian subcontinent...
Ali Zafar can sing, play musical instruments, write songs and act but there's one thing that he hasn't done so far. And that's in a Pakistani film. After making a sparkling debut in Tere Bin Laden (2010), he has consciously remained attached to Hindi cinema — Kill Dil being his latest release — despite the usual visa drama that takes place during his visits.
Freida Pinto redefined the concept of destiny when she got handpicked by Hollywood studios. Of course, this miracle happened after Slumdog Millionaire (2008) swept major awards at the Oscars. Since then, the currently LA-based actress from Mumbai has starred in more than half a dozen international films. However, she is yet to make her Bollywood debut.