Saturday, August 26, 2017

Stars I Love: Chris Pine

Dujour / Photographed by Blair Getz Mezibov
It's a truth universally acknowledged that Hollywood is full of Chrises, but there's only one crooning action hero who goes by the name of Chris Pine. Taking Hollywood by storm with his blue-eyes, he's become quite the chameleon to break out of the pack of similar-looking heartthrobs. In celebrating his birthday today, I'm just going down a few reasons why he's so easy to love.

Though Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, and Chris Pratt have been tethered, in not so many words, to their comic book franchises, Pine has managed to accomplish a lot outside of helming blockbusters. In the early 2000s, Pine was the first of the group to claim young fangirl's hearts with romcoms like Princess Diaries: A Royal Engagement, Just My Luck, and Blind Dating. In the midst of consistently playing a charmer, he's been able to finesse his heroic romantic lead in a variety of roles.

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Two key roles helped him break out of that mold. He co-starred in the gambling-shoot-em-up flick, Smokin' Aces. Completely out of his element of good looks and swaggering charm he's known for, Pine plays one of the brothers, all drugged up and out of his mind. While a good portion of the movie is an unpredictable mesh of famous actors, Pine's wild character occurs so early in his career, one can look back from his current string of roles to see he's had good acting chops all along.

The other movie that comes to mind of putting him on the map is the sci-fi staple Star Trek. In J.J's Abram's 2009 reboot, Pine and Zachary Quinto took the helm as newbie versions of James T. Kirk and Spock. At the time, they were critically acclaimed for making the original series younger and hipper to a new generation. Even though he initially didn't want to pursue the character, Pine is perfect as the flirtatious captain whose brash nature puts his fleet at risk and somehow manages to get them out of trouble. It's not easy rebooting roles made famous by William Shatner and the late Leonard Nimoy, but the cast found their own rhythm. The sequels might not have recaptured the critical praise, but the trilogy so far manages not to get too lost in Hollywood's obsession with nostalgia.
I think in the world today we’ve had plenty enough of male-driven everything and it’s finally time to see how wonderful the world can be with beautiful, strong, intelligent women kicking some major ass. [x]
The first step of many directors' careers getting recognized and supported for future projects is being able to work with in-demand performers. As plenty of Hollywood's biggest actresses criticize the lack of diversity behind the camera (but still only manage to choose films with male directors), Pine's one of the first actors to be vocal about working with female directors.

His role in Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman flips the script on its leads with Amazonian goddess Diana Prince and her friend-turned-lover Steve Trevor, of which is one of his best performances so far. In working with Patty, and about a particular scene where he is ogled for being nude, he said, "It was fun to be objectified for a day. I was thinking this happens to women so, so much, it's about's the most compassionate I've felt toward women on what they may feel being sidelined or made to feel less important." His openness to let others lead a motion picture only strengthens his chemistry with whoever he shares the screen with, and lets him play a wider variety of roles too.

Some people might write Pine off as just another heartthrob, but I'm always amazed by the level of skill he's brought into different movies and genres. No matter the director, Pine's able to slink his way from sci-fi to pop up in a romantic comedy like This Means War, a family drama in People Like Us (2012), spy flick Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and even a musical as Cinderella's Prince with Into the Woods (2014). Every project he chooses strengthens his skills, which weren't bad to begin with.

Working with women not only lets talented directors prove their worth and earn more opportunities to work, but opens up actors who might not see objectivity in the industry unless they're in a different environment. The success of Pine's collaboration with Jenkins is more than a one-shot deal: he'll be reteaming with her on a tv series about the Black Dhalia murder mystery and also worked with Ava DuVernay for the A Wrinkle in Time adaptation. Pine's proved there's nothing wrong with changing up how men typically appear as the sole hero and doesn't hinder them from delivering great performances.

Off-screen, Pine's lack of social media involvement or garnering a lot of gossip lets him disappear as much as he wants to on-screen. What can you say about him? He could care less about sportschooses a flip phone over everything else, gives consternated looks for Armani, and has a thing for food. Him and Chris Evans have a pension of showing their emotions quickly over movies like Up! and openly weeping over John Legend and Common's Oscars performance. He's just a super cool dork winning over a lot of Pine Nuts.

Every other Chris has set themselves apart by the roles they play, their personalities, and special brand of hotness. Though he's helmed the sci-fi brand as Kirk, Pine has still managed to slip under the radar both on and off the screen. There's no mistaking he's a good looking dude, and he's got the talent to boot. He's managed a lot of different roles so far, it's hard to pick out just a few. What are your favorite roles? Feel free to share in the comments!

5 Favorite Roles

Into the Woods

Who knew Captain Charming liked to sing? Since he played the caddish prince in the 2015 musical Into the Woods, Pine has busted out a few tunes here and there. This movie was one of several cases where his good looks were turned upside-down and play someone who's not particularly swoonworthy.

Hell or High Water

This honestly wasn't my favorite movie to hit the Oscar circuit this past year, but I'll watch anything with Pine in it. And Hell or High Water definitely pays off. This is almost the complete opposite of what he's usually expected to star in: two brothers pulling off bank jobs to save their family plot. Both Pine and Ben Foster are perfect in this, and it's rare for Pine to exude 'the silent type' trying to do right by his family.

This Means War

It's hard to imagine so early in their careers that they starred in a romantic comedy, but Tom Hardy and Chris Pine did. THANK YOU HOLLYWOOD. in This Means War, they play FBI agents using their high-tech gadgets and connections to win over Lauren (Reese Witherspoon). Hardy's the shyer, take-it-slow romancer while Pine is the player, and they're hysterical together. It's not only fun to look back on this movie and see how far they've come along in the type of movies they like to pursue now, but who wouldn't want these guys fighting over you? Put yourself in Witherspoon's shoes and it's pretty tough to choose either one.

Star Trek

It's difficult to remember a time when reboots were rare, but Star Trek always sticks out in my mind. He goes from the arrogant young lead to a brash captain who's trying to protect this crew and the Enterprise. Pine has a lot of physical similarities to Shatner's portrayal of Kirk, but he gives the charismatic cavalier his own swag and style. Plus, his bro-chemistry with Quinto is off the charts.

Wonder Woman

While the direction and story for the first female driven superhero is wonderful, this movie wouldn't have worked without Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. Not only is their chemistry completely off-the-radar, but their performances are very nuanced and human for "just a superhero movie". Steve Trevor avoids being a stereotypical hero, letting Diana claim space for herself in a world gone to hell and trying to help her save it. He's funny, protective, a leader, follower, and companion, a fighter, and a lover. Pine could've easily fallen into the same trappings of Kirk, which was actually one of my biggest fears when the initial trailer came out...but he manages to pull off an amazing, heartfelt performance that just wouldn't have been the same with anyone else. No offense to Lyle Waggoner of the tv series (or Nathan Fillion of the animated movie), but Chris is the perfect Steve Trevor.

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