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Gerald & Nathan

What makes a film star successful?

Certainly talent and a natural screen presence account for something. But success in the world of film, like in a lot of the entertainment industry, seems to be down to blind luck.

Consider the careers of Gerald Butler and Nathan Fillion. Chances are you’ve heard of Butler, but Fillion may be a name you’re less familiar with.

Now I’m quite certain that Gerald Butler is wonderful human being. In fact I’ve heard interviews that confirm this is the case. He has screen presence certainly, but real talent? Hmmm….

Butler became a household name playing the muscle bound King Leonidas in 300 (2006); a role that perfectly suited him. Since then however his career has alternated between gritty action roles where he comes across like a low rent Russel Crowe, or awful romantic comedies - I pity anyone who has had to endure The Ugly Truth (2009) or The Bounty Hunter (2010). Yet Butler continues to headline film after film.

Then we have affable Canadian Nathan Fillion. Boasting a long career in television, that includes turns in Desperate Housewives and Castle, Fillion has all the credentials of a bona fide movie star. He has the looks, the charisma, charm by the bucket load and genuine talent. He has that rare ability to play the matinee idol tough guy but possesses genuine comedic prowess too.

His talents were no better demonstrated than in the (woefully) short lived TV show Firefly (2002), the sci-fi series in which he played Mal Reynolds, captain of a gang of misfits struggling to make a living by any means possible. A brilliant show, led by an actor who seemed destined to be a huge star.

Fillion has had a fine career, but you can count the number of his big film roles on one hand.

So why the massive success for Gerald and not for Nathan? Sometimes it just seems to be in the lap of the movie gods.

By Tom Brookes.

From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer, published in August 2018.

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