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Friday, 15 June 2018

B- Movie Actor Feature Spotlight: Greg Kinnear



Current Net Worth: $20 million 

Gregory Buck 'Greg' Kinnear is an actor and TV star born on June 17, 1963, in Logansport, Indiana. He first ventured as a radio talk show host on School Daze With Greg Kinnear and later on graduated with a BA Hons degree in Broadcast Journalism in 1986 at the University of Arizona. Kinnear then took on bit-part roles in shows such as Life Goes On and L.A Law. In 1991, Talk Soup became his first major onscreen appearance. He hosted the series for 4 years where he shot to stardom and afterwards, he quit for a late-night NBC talk show, Late Night With Greg Kinnear.

His first movie was the comedy, Blankman with Damon Wayans, who also penned the screenplay. Kinnear played a TV host, not surprisingly, and this followed a stint on the remake of Sabrina alongside Harrison Ford. Even more surprisingly, it was a stint that was originally going to be taken up by Tom Cruise, only for him to turn it down. Despite the film not doing so well, this acted as a stepping stone for Kinnear's career.

After his impressive and breakout performance on 1997's multiple Oscar-nominated As Good As It Gets alongside Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, wherein he netted a best-supporting-actor nomination as the gay artist, Simon, Greg Kinnear seemed to be on the up as an A-lister. That role also netted him a Golden Globe award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role. He had roles in lesser-known flicks such as A Smile Like Yours opposite Lauren Holly, Nurse Betty as well as securing a guest cameo in the sitcom, Friends in 2003with the former, A Smile Like Yours tanking at the box office and was met with lukewarm reviews. Yet Kinnear landed a major part in the rom-com, You've Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks as Ryan's significant other/romantic false lead. The film went on to gross over $250 million worldwide at the box office.

Notable roles in comic book adaptation, Mystery Men (which wasn't well received, but was still enjoyable), Stuck on You as Matt Damon's conjoined twin in the Farrelly Brothers comedy (the pairing also starred in Green Zone) & horror effort, Godsend meant that Kinnear was kept busy. He also starred in the critically- acclaimed indie hit, Little Miss Sunshine of 2003. The comedy-drama charted the exploits of the Hoover family as they travel 800 miles in a yellow Volkswagon Type 2 van to take part in a ''Little Miss Sunshine'' beauty pageant held in Redondo Beach, California whereby the youngest child, Olive has qualified for the event. Along the way, family tensions arise and simmer, as they discover and realise how they need to come together as a family and to support each other. Little Miss Sunshine opened to critical and rave reviews. 

But beyond that, his movie career didn't and never really exploded and amounted to greater success and he was mainly cast in supporting roles opposite big-name actors in Hollywood movies, which are few and far between. That being said, he won plaudits for his portrayal of Hogan's Heroes actor, Bob Crane, whose life was ended by a fatal drug overdose in the autobiographical drama, Auto Focus


''I've never felt like my career has been on fire'' - Greg Kinnear 

Much like with Lea Thompson, it can be argued that he never has much range, although it can also be argued that his career has taken a natural trajectory. Kinnear also lacks major screen presence and whilst he can come across as charming in places, the thing is, when I watch him in other films, but for say, Little Miss Sunshine, As Good As It Gets & his minor turn in Mystery Men, nothing about him, charisma, persona-wise truly stands out for me. He is an actor who has gone to places and his roles have alternated by playing good guys and bad guys, but he never went as far and above what many of his successful contemporaries have achieved. Kinnear has an everyman quality going for him that is akin to say, Tom Hanks and that sometimes comes across & transcends in his performances - thing is, unlike Hanks, many of his roles and movies are very low-key, independent and despite his good looks, he falls short of leading man status & plus, he lacks that 'it' factor. It may not be that big of an issue in a B, or indie movie, but for big budget and populist, commercial hits, it is perhaps so. It seems directors are more than welcome to cast him as the stricken face of ''go-getting Middle American angst'', as Tom Carson of GQ put it. 

It is also said that Kinnear never really buys into the celebrity myth and declines being called a movie star: ''a movie star to me, sounds like some guy who takes champagne jacuzzis, wears a boa & has a pet monkey that he carries around the house, so in that respect, I'm not a movie star'.... I never felt like my career has been on fire''. As much as Kinnear denounces his Hollywood status, one wonders whether he would have felt the same way, had his career been far more prosperous and successful. I do admire his honesty, however, and for choosing to shun the Hollywood lifestyle. 

He has appeared in a few films that I've enjoyed - As Good As It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine, but the rest of his work leaves a lot to be desired - A Smile Like Yours, Stuck On You, Godsend and Someone Like You & he hasn't really had one huge role in a really famous movie where people will remember him by. 


Logansport's Kinnear has proved at times he can show his worth in different films, whereby he has given standout performances and performances that are worthy of standing alongside those of his cast members, particularly in As Good As It Gets & Little Miss Sunshine, & yet he also is an actor some deem as being only as good as the material and movies that he chooses. 


Notable Favourites: As Good As It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine, Mystery Men, The Matador

Notable Non-favourites: Stuck On You, Godsend, A Smile Like Yours, Someone Like You, Thin Ice


Sources:

Greg Kinnear - Wikipedia

Greg Kinnear 'We all lead double lives' - The Independent 

Greg Kinnear Biography - tribeca.ca People 

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