I fall in love with actors. I can’t help myself. I do.
I’m not a celebrity-stalking sort of person. I don’t frequent fan sites or read entertainment magazines. And I’m not talking about when I fall in love with a character in a movie or show (although there is that, too). No, I mean when I fall madly, hopelessly, passionately, longingly in earth-shattering, all-out, adolescent-crush-style, soul-singingly, can’t-eat-a-thingingly (okay, I can) love with an actor. Where I must see every damn thing he’s ever been in (even that awful one) because he’s in it. Where the anticipation of the next thing on the binge list (even if it’s not nearly as great as the first thing) is just killing me, but also totally making my day. Where I cannot wait to see this person that I know I don’t know, dammit. And I don’t even want to know—wouldn’t want to meet in real life, not really (Are you kidding? And destroy this delicious conception of them that lives in my head?). This transcendent fiction of a being that I just want to spend all my free time with and I’m beyond crushed when there’s nothing new to watch and I can’t explain it so leave me alone, dammit.
There have been a few. Probably quite a few.
Don’t judge me.
Some short-lived, some enduring. The first one I can remember was Andrew McCarthy (Yes, I’m aging myself. Shut up.). Oh God, Andrew McCarthy. It was St. Elmo’s Fire that did me in. I followed him to New York to see him in a play and was outraged—outraged!—when his understudy went on instead. (Funny story: The understudy, I discovered years later, watching a talk show, turned out to be Rob Morrow. Who I love to this day because Fleischman (Northern Exposure, for those not in the know). PS: He totally knew the audience was full on young things ticked off not to see Andrew that night. Sigh. Sorry, Rob. I didn’t know!!). Right. Where was I?
Maybe it’s because I come from a theatre/film background. I do love actors. In real life, I mean. I know writers sometimes don’t because, you know, the bastards mangle your lines and all, but I <3 them. They make your lines real. And some of them are just incredible. I’m in awe. Maybe it’s because I have a propensity for developing insane crushes. There was a period in my life where I probably had a thing for every male I encountered. For at least five minutes. But whatever it is, it’s what I do.
Currently, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch. That took me by surprise. I had a discussion with a friend a year ago or so that went like this:
Friend: So, what actors do you like?
—insert lengthy list of actors one or both of us find appealing in various ways—
Friend: Oh and Benedict Cumberbatch! Can’t forget him!
Me: Uh. Yeah. I don’t get that.
Me: I mean, I know it’s a thing, but I don’t understand it. I just don’t find him appealing.
Friend: Yeah, well, I guess so. My husband and I have been watching the BBC Sherlock series and he’s really good in that.
Me: Yeah, whatever. I’m not that interested in watching it. And I really don’t get why everyone thinks he’s so hot. There are like gushing fan girls and everything. What’s up with that?
Friend: I get it, but, you know, maybe we just have different taste.
Fast forward to about a month ago, when for reasons I can no longer recall I decided what the heck, I’ll give the first episode of Sherlock a try.
Me: OMFG, WHY DID YOU NOT EXPLAIN TO ME ABOUT BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH?!?!
Friend: Who is this?
Suffice it to say that I watched the whole series (in which both he and Martin Freeman are pure genius and, honestly, how could you not love both of them?) and have now moved on to pacing myself through Parade’s End, lest I burn through it too quickly. I don’t want to return to that devastating, mournful sense of withdrawal, of loss, I hit after I finally let myself watch the last Sherlock available for months and months (and months!).
What the #$%@ is it about actors?
I still don’t know, but the Cumberbatch experience (<— band name?) is quite timely for me. I’m just getting down to work on a project I’ve been planning since last summer. It’s the first in a series of novellas, focusing on a famous (fictional) actor and a not famous (fictional) woman. It’s so new—and I’m so new to independent publishing—that I’m afraid to say more than that for now. But I hope to put these personal experiences to good use. And I need to do research, of course. Lots and lots of research.
I’m really excited about this series (and not just because of the research). If it’s half as good as I think it could be, it will be great fun to write (and, obviously, I hope, to read, as well). Be sure you’re signed up for my newsletter to hear more about the project as the first installment gets closer to publication.
Oh, and it is possible I have a thing for English men in particular. I remember the initial inspiration for my work-in-progress was, in fact, this:
OMG, Colin Firth!
Who are YOUR favorite actors?
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