Dear Mr. Bettany,
Earlier today, a friend of mine recommended a movie, which I initially mistook for something you’d been in recently. Both movies looked unimpressive to me, but my friend was complimentary of the movie he saw, and for a moment I got really excited until I realized I’d confused the two. You see, I’m a fan. I really am. But…how do I say this politely? You don’t always make the best movies.
Please understand that I am truly a fan. I will admit that while you were entertaining in A Knight’s Tale, that movie is sort of mid-range for you, and it wasn’t until A Beautiful Mind that I really sat up and took notice. It is still my firm belief that you were robbed of a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Master & Commander, which is one of my most favorite movies ever. Yes, I’m a Russell Crowe fan. Do you still talk to him at all? Please tell him I said hi. After those two movies, I kept my eyes and ears open because I was positive that you were going to be a huge hit. And then…The Da Vinci Code? Really, Paul? Don’t even get me started on Legion and that other one about the vampires, or whatever it was. Priest. Why? Why is an actor of your caliber making laughable horror/fantasy movies? Why aren’t you getting more calls for period dramas, gritty action pieces, or even more comedies? Heck, I don’t think the notion of a superhero is that far out there for you, with your long and lanky physique and all. Not to get too personal, but your shirtless scenes were some of the highlights of Inkheart (we’ll come back to this in a minute). Your looks seem to me to be able to adapt to both period and modern genres well, so I really just don’t get it.
I know that a lot of movie stars like to make a variety of movies, and I get that. I know that sometimes you’re just looking for a paycheck. I get that you turn down movies to spend time with your newborn daughter, but do those movies have to be eventual Best Picture winners?? Colin Firth won an Oscar, Paul. The King’s Speech was huge. Priest? Was not. My point here is that I’d really like to see more of you, Mr. Bettany. You’re good-looking, intelligent, funny, and you’ve got a British accent. Isn’t that supposed to be gold in Hollywood, for pete’s sake? You’re not even as old as some gentlemen in the business currently enjoying a renaissance of sorts (like Robert Downey, Jr. OMG, can I just say that I freaking love your voice work in the Iron Man movies? Fantastic!), and again, I’m positive you’ve got the physicality to pull that stuff off. Ok, let’s go back to Inkheart. The books are pure magic. I love them, and have actively campaigned my husband to name a future son Mortimer, for real. The movie was, in my opinion, a cinematic tragedy. The casting was oh-so-brilliant, and it should have been magnificent, something to rival the Harry Potter franchise, but instead, it was kind of a mess. I pine for the sequels, for your chance to shine as Dustfinger (for whom you were perfect) and for your real-life wife, the stunning Jennifer Connelly, to play Roxanne. Forgive me just the slightest tangent, but I worship J. Con. I want to look like her when I grow up. You guys are one of my top couple crushes (after the Obamas, maybe tied with the Downeys). You should make more movies with her! She’s all Oscar-winner, heavy drama lady, right? I was really sad that Creation didn’t get better reviews, but you guys should totally try again. Maybe something a little less controversial. I mean, look at A Beautiful Mind. That was a really, really good movie, you know?
I have to admit that there are movies of yours that are considered pretty good that I have yet to see. Creation is on that list, as well as The Young Victoria. I’ve even got The Tourist on my Netflix queue, mainly because of you. Ok, and Angelina Jolie, but who can blame me for that? I might even manage to sit down for Margin Call someday, and I seriously hate Kevin Spacey. Movies like that seem to be where you are most able to make your mark; ensemble pictures with strong scripts and casts. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If that were the base of your career, I think you would have something to be proud of. Everyone can’t be a George Clooney. I’m not asking for that. You don’t have to be at the top of the A List. But do you think maybe you might consider B+ List? Maybe the A- List? I really think you’ve got what it takes. Please believe me, Mr. Bettany. You deserve so much more than Legion.
PS-I know this idea gets tossed around from time to time, but if you were to happen to convince Mr. Crowe and Mr. Weir (over drinks, perhaps?) that the world needs a second M&C movie, well, that would just be the best thing ever. Thanks!