I learned three things yesterday. Three Essential Facts. Well, they’re actually considered “news items” so everyone else probably learned them too, but still.
Essential fact #1 that I gleaned? James Spader is going to be the new boss on The Office. Which, for my money, has to be one of the smartest and most spot-on casting decisions made in eons. Do you agree? A few months ago we had a poll where we asked if there were any actors whose mere presence in a movie would be enough to propel you into the theater – even when you knew the film might suck. This might also be the case with an actor in a TV show, but the real litmus test is a movie because TV is free and you can catch things on the fly … but a movie, well, depending upon where you live that’s at least a $10 decision. Before anyone does anything about popcorn OR jujubees. For lots of people that ultra charismatic –it-doesn’t-matter-if-the-movie-looks-bad-I’ll- still- go actor is George Clooney or Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington. For me? It’s James Spader, J. Depp, and Jason Bateman. And barring a horror flick, I’ll see anything Ralph Fiennes does too.
But putting James Spader into The Office is quite a coup for several reasons, not the least of which is that he’s not known as a huge comedy guy in the traditional sense – despite the fact that he’s genuinely funny. Steve Carell was (and is) sooo beloved by audiences (and so supremely well-liked in Hollywood) that to cast someone like Will Ferrell or Jim Carrey might have been “funny” – but probably way too broad. I think part of Carell’s genius is that he can play a pompous, self-centered know-it-all and yet he never comes off as a true jerk. Regardless of the ludicrous things he does. This takes an astonishing amount of skill and subtlety, and very few actors can embody that level of boorish narcissism while still remaining eminently likeable (Ricky Gervais, Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, and Hugh Grant are a few that do come to mind). So in the end these guys aren’t just funny – they’re layered funny and each comes with a supreme level of confidence (that’s always toying with self-loathing just under the surface) – hence – layered funny. Which Carell has and Spader does too. Thus, this casting is beyond inspired, if you ask me.
(I’ve been a fan since Spader appeared in moves like Pretty In Pink, Less Than Zero, and the very creepy Bad Influence; I’ve long believed he was one of our more underappreciated actors. Several Emmys later, this is no longer the case).
Essential Fact # 2 is that, despite the public outcry over his alleged non-hiring (read: fired ) status, Glee star Chord Overstreet is apparently going nowhere next season. Even though he won’t be upgraded to a regular cast member like some of his fellow swains, either a) someone got the story wrong, or b) ten zillion shrieking, petitioning tweens were heeded, and the producers are now saying he’ll be very much around. So there’s that.
On a personal note, there’s Essential Fact #3. This was actually something I was vaguely aware of – but I didn’t have exact numbers. Now I know for an absolute fact that Queen Elizabeth has four dogs. Four Corgis. There are four dogs in my household as well. Curiously, people have been making fun of me for having, oh say, an excessive number of dogs for years. However, I sincerely doubt anyone ridicules Her Majesty in this way. Her dogs also probably have a few more acres to romp in than mine do, but that’s beside the point. Funny how one simple monarch can make you feel like you’re nobody’s fool.
James Spader’s the new boss on The Office. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these Spader vehicles is your favorite:
1) Sex, Lies & Videotape
2) Pretty in Pink
3) Boston Legal