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Blistering B-Listers!

by Ross Douthat

A review of Total Recall

There are few Hollywood career transitions more fraught than the leap from “star in the making” to movie star outright. Consider Colin Farrell: The handsome, roguish Irishman worked his way up the movieland ladder in the early 2000s, and then found himself graced with a remarkable string of opportunities. Between 2004 and 2006, he was cast as Alexander the Great by Oliver Stone, as Crockett in Michael Mann’s Miami Vice, and as John Smith in Terrence Malick’s The New World — three chances of a lifetime in quick succession.

And none of them worked out. Stone’s Alexander was a fiasco, with Farrell looking dazed and confused under a blonde dye-job; Vice was a disappointment (though an interesting one), with Farrell looking puffy in the role Don Johnson made famous; and The New World was a work of genius that the critics unfairly buried. Instead of becoming an A-lister, Farrell was suddenly just another overexposed wannabe, earning gossip-column inches instead of paydays.

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