Tuesday, June 15, 2010
She Should Work More, Vol. XXVI
It's a sad fact of Hollywood that there are dozens upon dozens of wildly talented actresses who are just not being written for or cast in TV and movies. This is not news. But one such example sat up and slapped me in the face over the weekend. I saw Amy Madigan in the HBO movie The Laramie Project, then again when I lingered on Field of Dreams on cable for probably the hundredth time, and finally, in an episode of Grey's Anatomy I caught while flipping through the channels.
In the span of two days, she was struggling to comprehend a brutal murder, calling the PTA president a Nazi cow, and giving Meredith Grey some much-deserved shit. And she was brilliantly compelling in all of it. (She was Oscar-nominated for her 1985 movie Twice in a Lifetime, but I still say she was deserving of a win for Field of Dreams.) And that's not even counting the simmering cauldron she played on HBO's Carnivale. She plays a character type I love, always somewhere on the spectrum from earthy to flinty, intimidating but enthusiastic, an ideal character to set the lead straight. The Chicago has never left her voice, and I love her for that.
So where's she been? The Grey's appearances have been few and far between, and frankly, they're beneath her anyway. As as the ER and Law & Order and Criminal Minds guest spots that have littered her recent resume. The interesting wrinkle to Madigan's case is that even in the prime of her career, she was never ubiquitous. She won a Golden Globe for Roe vs. Wade, she snuggled up to John Candy in Uncle Buck, she was pretty prominent in Places in the Heart, but she was always secondary to someone else. Hollywood never valued her properly.
And then there's this: of the four film projects Madigan's got lined up, three are connected to lead performances by her husband, Ed Harris. Which is fine -- he's a great actor and she's been wonderful opposite him before, but damn it, Hollywood, this woman can bring it. All by herself. Let her loose on something. Suggestions welcomed in the comments.