Friday, August 11, 2017

Edward James Asshole?

One of my new coworkers used to work in the film industry, and she studied film, too. One time, her class had Edward James Olmos as a guest speaker, and according to her, Olmos—whom I greatly admire as an actor—turned out to be a raging asshole. He insisted that none of the students take notes while he talked, and he apparently went ballistic when one student clickity-clacked on a laptop. He told people not to take any photos of him, either, even threatening others by saying something like, "If you post any pics online, I will find you!" He also allegedly harangued a student while unironically referring to himself in his Bill Adama role from "Battlestar Galactica," roaring, "Don't fuck with a commander!"

This news came as a shock and a disappointment to me, but upon reflection, I think there were signs. Olmos has had a history of playing morally upright authority figures, and there's doubtless a feedback loop between his self-righteousness and the roles he gets. In one of the DVD extras that came with my copy of "Battlestar Galactica: The Plan," which Olmos directed, we see Olmos seated at a table with his actors, giving some sort of grave motivational speech intended to get the actors in the correct frame of mind for the upcoming scenes. The man obviously takes himself seriously. In another clip, Olmos talks about how relieved he is that "Battlestar Galactica" is a sci-fi show with no aliens. I don't remember his exact words, but at one moment he said, roughly, "If they ever put aliens on the show, I've already warned the crew that, when the alien appears, I'm going faint, drop to the floor, and not move again. Then I'm going to walk out. They can do whatever they want with that footage." While this can be interpreted as an example of Olmos's artistic integrity, it's also of a piece with the arrogance and instability that my coworker talked about (she called Olmos "insane"). Very disappointing to learn this ugly truth about one of my cinematic idols.


Bratfink said...

I feel your pain. Hugh Laurie is an asshole, too. Talented, yes, but still an asshole.

Kevin Kim said...

That's sad to read. He's another of my faves.

John from Daejeon said...

Doesn't matter if you are President of the United States (many womanizers) or a panhandler living under an overpass, people come in all shapes and sizes as do their flaws.

And even the most revered for all their great deeds, such as FDR, Mother Teresa, and Mahatma Gandhi, were not without some rather serious flaws.