Sunday, April 4, 2010

A failure to promote

A couple weeks ago, I talked about how Repo Men didn't look like it would be worth a squirt of piss. Most critics seemed to agree.

Around that same time, Repo Men star Jude Law hosted Saturday Night Live. Number of times he mentioned playing Hamlet on Broadway? Two. Number of times he mentioned Repo Men?


(And you'll forgive the delayed post ... due to the magic of DVRs, I only just watched Law's episode of the stalwart variety show a couple days ago.)

Many of us persistent Saturday Night Live fans like to make a game of figuring out why a particular star is scheduled to host a particular episode on a particular weekend. "Jude Law's hosting -- what's he plugging?" Usually, it's not much of a game -- it's pretty obvious. Law hosted Saturday Night Live on March 13th; Repo Men came out March 19th. Sometimes, however, it's unclear. Ben Affleck hosted on November 1, 2008, and his next movie (State of Play) didn't come out until the following April. Needless to say, it wasn't mentioned.

But not mentioning Repo Men six days before it was due to be released? The distributor must have wanted to kill him.

If Mr. Law was just trying to protect us from a bad movie, well, bless him for that. But why did he agree to go on that weekend in the first place, if he wasn't going to say a thing about it? Or maybe he did plan to say something about it, but then got into a spat with somebody and decided to hang them out to dry, just to prove a point. He's been a pretty controversial chap throughout the time we've known him. Then again, I suppose the mere fact of him hosting helps the movie, even if its title never passes through his lips.

But what made it even stranger was the contrast with the project he did choose to promote. The production of Hamlet in which he played the starring role had closed over three months earlier. It ran from September 12th to December 6th, 2009. This may just have been the first time someone came on SNL primarily to talk about a play. (Though I should give Law some credit for trying to appeal to the New Yorkers in the audience rather than the much larger television audience. After all, it's one of the few television shows that's actually produced the same way live theater is.)

I also think it's a little strange that he appeared to be so proud of playing Hamlet. Haven't, like, a million successful actors already played the indecisive Dane?

I never intended to see Repo Men in the theater, and still haven't. That's a decision its star seems to tacitly endorse.

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