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The star system

Explain key theories around stars and their importance in Film. Used as part of my teaching for FM2 WJEC Film Studies

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The star system

  1. 1. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr Brangelina
  2. 2. STARS and STAR theory What are Stars What is Star Theory Why are Stars so important What impact do Stars have on American or British Films
  3. 3. Name as many film stars as you can in five minutes Holly wood Stars British Stars Others
  4. 4. How do you decide what films to watch? <ul><li>There are many reasons as to why the audience would go to see a film. Normally it is because of who makes the film (director), sometimes it is because of the story itself and how it is sold to the audience (trailers, posters). </li></ul><ul><li>Another reason would be because of who the film has starring in it and Star Theory considers this issue. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Two Key People <ul><li>Prof Christine Gledhill </li></ul><ul><li>Stardom – Industry of Desire </li></ul><ul><li>Richard Dyer </li></ul><ul><li>Stars </li></ul><ul><li>Stars and Society </li></ul>
  6. 6. Christine Gledhill <ul><li>Fundamental in developing ‘Star Theory’ </li></ul><ul><li>Four Key points </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stars as Capital Value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stars as Construct </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stars as Deviant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Star as Cultural Value </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Stars as Capital Value <ul><li>ie they make money for the film companies </li></ul><ul><li>Films with stars will make more money than films without stars (even if it is the same ‘film’) </li></ul><ul><li>How much are they worth, what can the make for the Studio </li></ul><ul><li>They add monetary value to the film and reduce the risk of loss </li></ul><ul><li>What are some of the ‘big names’ in Hollywood? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Star as Construct <ul><li>They are very much involved in their own mythification. How might they be involved? </li></ul><ul><li>Christine Gledhill wrote that Stars ‘reach us through their bodies’. </li></ul><ul><li>We want to know the ‘real’ and ‘reel’. If we go to the film we will learn who they really are. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Real person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reel person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Persona ie a combination of both </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How might we then consider that the average age of a movie star is 36 for a man , but 27 for a woman? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Star as Deviant <ul><li>They live their lives to excess, outside the normal rules of behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>What examples can you think of….. </li></ul><ul><li>We hear more about Hollywood stars breaking the rules than the films they are in but this adds to our interest (identification, wish fulfilment) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Star as Cultural Value <ul><li>‘ Stars signify moral, social and ideological values’ </li></ul><ul><li>ie they tell us what to think and how to behave, what is right and wrong, even how we should look and what our culture should be like </li></ul><ul><li>Think about what do they represent ideologically on screen via the roles they play </li></ul><ul><li>What is their cultural legacy beyond film texts </li></ul>
  11. 11. Richard Dyer <ul><li>Richard Dyer, writing in 1998, contributed the academic approach to understanding how stars were and are constructed. The chapters in his book are divided thus: </li></ul><ul><li>Stars as Social phenomenon </li></ul><ul><li>Stars as Constructed Images </li></ul><ul><li>Stars as Signs </li></ul>
  12. 12. Stars as a Social Phenomenom <ul><li>how stars are understood as fulfilling a social and cultural function phenomenon - </li></ul><ul><li>Consider Stallone’sroles in the Rambo films. Was he winning the war in Hollywood which the USA lost? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Stars as Image <ul><li>uses semiotics and cultural studies to ask about the social meanings of stardom in general and specific stars in particular and how these meanings are produced or constructed. </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we have star and what do they say to the audience and our social values </li></ul>
  14. 14. Stars as Signs <ul><li>Stars as signs is about the problems associated with a star and a particular representation of a character in a film and how the two interact. </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop or Clint Eastwood performing with an orang utan orang- </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>“ Everybody wanted to be Cary Grant. Even I wanted to be Cary Grant” </li></ul><ul><li>Cary Grant </li></ul>
  16. 16. Appeal of Hollywood stars <ul><li>Certain stars can be used as an indicator as to the type of film about to be seen. </li></ul><ul><li>Typecasting- Johnny Depp, stranger roles such as Willy Wonka, the Mad Hatter etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Sam Worthington- archetype hero, blockbuster film, good against evil. </li></ul><ul><li>Some stars are indicators of a film’s quality. Some stars such as will appear in almost anything, whereas others will only appear in the best </li></ul><ul><li>Stars help to increase publicity for a film’s release by doing interviews and press junkets; raise awareness and excitement surrounding the film. Constantly in the media, promoting . </li></ul>
  17. 17. British Stars <ul><li>If it is the appeal of a star that attracts an audience, British films use British stars. </li></ul><ul><li>Colin Firth, Helena Bonham-Carter, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman and Christopher Lee etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Why don’t these films appeal as much? </li></ul><ul><li>Not as common, cinema is dominated by Hollywood films, therefore Hollywood stars. </li></ul><ul><li>Some, such as Robert Pattinson, cross over into Hollywood. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Hollywood Domination <ul><li>Most films are made by Hollywood as the main distribution companies are Hollywood based such as Universal Studios, Paramount, Warner Bros and will feature American Stars </li></ul><ul><li>As a result of this there is a wider choice of American films with American stars rather than British films, therefore, Hollywood films attract a wider audience. There is less opportunity for British films/stars to achieve recognition. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Is this True? Success Films with Big Stars Successful Film without Big Stars Films with Big Stars that flopped The Dark Knight (Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Warner Bros, 1 billion) Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight $377m) Snakes on a Plane (Samuel L Jackson, New Line, $34m)
  20. 20. How would you answer: <ul><li>How important is it for the British film industry to have internationally recognised stars? </li></ul><ul><li>'Hollywood films have movie stars. That's why they are more appealing to UK audiences than UK films.' How far do you agree with this comment? </li></ul><ul><li>'Neither producers nor audiences need stars any more.' How far do you agree with this statement? </li></ul>
  21. 21. Wiki Task One <ul><li>Our wiki </li></ul><ul><li>Choose a BIG star at the moment and create a portifolio of material about that star. Include text,images, youtube clip, links to articles etc. </li></ul>