You may have seen the news that Jim Carrey recently denounced his involvement in Kick-Ass 2, claiming: “I cannot support that level of violence.” His change of heart came as a result of the Sandy Hook school shooting in December 2012. Quite why this should force him to withdraw his support of the film when there’s violence all over the world every day is unclear. But it raises an interesting question: should actors profit from films which they publicly condemn on moral grounds?
Of course actors needn’t fully endorse every film they make. It’s a job like any other and if they want to turn up solely for the paycheck then that’s their business. And it’s nice to hear some honesty; Halle Berry’s Razzie acceptance speech in which she calls Catwoman “a piece of shit god-awful movie” is particularly refreshing. Watching actors struggle to promote their obviously average films with grins plastered on to their shiny Hollywood faces can be unbearable, as they scramble for meaningless adjectives such as “big”. Poor Bruce Willis has just stopped trying altogether. What I’m saying is that I’m fine with honesty, in fact I encourage it.
What I object to is actors denouncing their films for moral reasons but still taking the money and running. There’s no problem with condemning your movie; again I would welcome actors being vocal instead of treading the boring industry line. But to then financially profit from said movie is surely hypocritical. The height of such hypocrisy is of course Angus T. Jones from Two and a Half Men, who recently urged viewers to stop watching such “filth”. That “filth” earns young Angus $350,000 per episode. Or there’s Katherine Keigl, who called Knocked Up sexist after it had grossed $150 million at the box office. She was completely correct and as I said I would always encourage honesty. But to profit from these apparently morally deficient movies is to have one’s cake and eat it; actors can take the moral high-ground with a public statement while obnoxiously holding a giant novelty cheque behind their back.