The Impossible challenge of Paul Walker [via the precedent of Mark Wahlberg]
There are things we want in film, almost without volition.
Even if you’re watching a piece of shit like Smallville, you still want Lex to stop baiting Superman and turn good.
And there are more…
Moments of fake emotion:
From bad guy to good guy [also: from morally ambiguous guy to good guy, or guy doing one good thing despite his nature – see: Ray Liotta in Copland, Vin Diesel in Pitch Black]
This is everywhere in Hollywood. It’s in the air on set, the paper of the script, the beard of the director.
Jimmy Franco did it in Spiderman 3.
Geoffrey Rush did it in Pirates 3.
The Klingons did it in Star Trek.
I know there are more.
Then you have the special amendment: From Vulcan to human. McCoy wanted it so bad in the original series it turned him into a bigot, and worse, a bit of a prick. Always taunting Spock, making under the breath remarks about green blood and dumb-headed logic, he was practically on his knees begging for an ‘I love you, Doctor.’
But no matter how close Spock came to being human, they never quite let him. Why? Because it would’ve been completely out of character. But people still wanted it. When he half-died in the second movie, they even had Kirk insulting him in the eulogy: ‘Out of us all, he was the most human.’
No, he wasn’t, he was a fucking robot. He said it himself, at the end of almost every episode…when his supposed friends would gather round Kirk and bully him about how different he was…all of them laughing to his face…McCoy smirking as if this was the highlight of his day…and what the fuck was he doing on the bridge anyway? He’s a doctor, not a henchman…what possible reason-…
So some things, we just can’t ever have…
Which brings us to the ultimate in impossibles…
The human surfboard, somehow a movie star. What’s happened here?
He’s in films…you can see him moving and talking…but he’s never really there, is he? People who want to fuck Paul Walker might tell you he’s a powerhouse and, ‘wow, look at the way he said that line, look at the way he’s not even looking at the camera, that’s special’…
But this is not true.
There is a precedent for Paul Walker. Its name is Mark Wahlberg. Seems like a decent guy, humble, picks some good films, good directors, but…but never quite makes it. I’m not sure exactly what it is about Wahlberg…every time you watch him in a film, you want him to do well, but…every time he speaks, he speaks wrong. He cannot do dialogue.
Wahlberg knows of the shortcoming though, and has improved over the years. In Entourage, he was so fucking close to saying the lines right, but…not quite. It was still off. In The Fighter, Bale and the rest of the cast speak like there’s no such thing as a script, while Wahlberg just can’t block it out. He speaks softly to make it seem like he’s speaking naturally, and he is getting better, but the truth is still right there: he just can’t do dialogue.
Paul Walker has the same problem, but worse…worse because he says his lines even more dummy-like than Wahlberg. Wayne Kramer tried to pull him out of this ocean of shitness in Running Scared but Walker panicked and ate the lifebelt. In those car movies, which are pretty much the sum total of his career now, neither the director nor Walker seem to give a shit anymore. ‘Just read the lines as you usually do, Paul. No one’s listening.’ Which then makes it weirder when Vin Diesel says his own lines in the strangest possible way: ‘Maybe,’ when someone asks him if he’s gonna get caught, ‘but not today.’ Man, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know what I mean. It’s oddball…maybe the fiftieth version of how you’d read the line, if you’d tried every other way…but you get used to it. Unlike Walker, who’s got the same mono-version for every line. Look at his face when he hears Vin speak…it’s confused, questioning, unable to believe he’s listening to his own first language.
Can Walker be saved?
You look into the past, at Tarantino and what he did with Travolta. Or Roeg and how he dealt with Bowie in The man who fell to Earth. Or…man, there are probably more…
Lynch and Sting in the sand monster movie? Was that a good performance? I can’t remember…
Mick Jaggar in Freeway?
You wonder…what exactly did Tarantino say to Travolta to get that performance from him? How closely did he direct?
And whatever it was, can it be applied to Walker?
I believe it can. I believe there is a director out there who can take this challenge on…don’t know what his/her name is or where they’ll come from, but i think I know the ‘how’ of it…
It runs like this: You take Walker and tell him you’ve got a script. But not the usual shit, this one’s gonna be different. Then, first day of the shoot, you go to work. You take him to make-up and make him ugly. You give him different hair, dirty skin, shit clothes. Then you make him weak. You take away the weights, the protein shakes, the running shoes. And when he says he wants to go through the lines, you take away the script.
Then the real work begins…
You wake him up early and tell him he’s a piece of shit. You keep him up late and taunt him about not being able to speak properly. You humiliate him in front of the crew and make no apologies for it. You lock him up between takes and torture him. You pour oil down his throat and take away his self-worth. You tell him he never had any self-worth anyway. You take him up in a plane and when you get high enough, you throw out his parachute and tell him to fetch. You convince his wife to find someone else. You fire his maid. You blow up his house. You take him to a shitty motel, and tell him it’s his new home. You wait till dark then break into his room and steal his TV. You rough him up and put a gun to his head. You console him the next day. You tell him things will get better. You take him for a drink and buy him a new TV. You read him a story as he falls asleep. You make a bomb. You blow up the motel. You pull him out of the flames. You take him to a mission and tell him this is his real new home, no lies this time. You pay a tramp to beat him up in the mission toilets. You pay a whore to refuse to fuck him. You take him out of the mission and fly him to Iran, and tell him, ‘what do you know about life, if you’ve never lived in Iran?’ You leave him there. You go make another film and when it’s done you take it to Iran and show it to Walker and tell him how much better everyone in the film is than him. You watch him break down. You tell him things are probably gonna get worse. You watch him climb up onto a nearby roof and threaten to jump. You put the script on the ground and tell him to aim for that. He does. It breaks his fall and also his legs. You take him to hospital and give him some fruit. He asks if this hell will ever end, and you say no.
Then you shoot.
Can it work?
With the right tyrant pouring the oil, I think it can.
[Note: Same method can be repeated for Wahlberg with minor changes.]