There are no actresses of character in Hollywood. Yes, the actors of character, who for decades the specialized press has presented as indomitable and temperamental men, of severe ambition, misunderstood geniuses so perfectionists that even their lack of education is justified by the ultimate goal they pursue. The list is long: from legends of the stature of Marlon Brando or Gene Hackman, to more contemporary apprentices such as Christian Bale, Jared Leto or Shia LaBeouf, who have repeatedly tormented co-stars, technical team or journalists, only to increase their status as interpretive forces. Before the arrival of Me Too and movements like Time’s Up, Hollywood had another adjective reserved to describe women who dared to vocalize 10% of the demands or protests of their male colleagues: “difficult.” And with professional consequences – such as the most absolute defenestration – very different from theirs, perhaps because of the historical docility attributed to female stars in the Los Angeles hills. Once the label is awarded, recovering is not easy and the case of Katherine Heigl is the proof of it.
Back in 2005, the role of Dr. Izzie Stevens in the series Grey’s Anatomy catapulted Heigl to international fame, who first stood in front of a camera as a child. The Washington performer caught the industry’s eye before any other cast member of the hit series, boasting of a privileged physique (chosen sexiest woman in the world), a remarkable comic force and an unquestionable intuition to interpret the romantic scenes as demonstrated by broken hearts by his fictional romance with the patient Danny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and whose tragic outcome brought together more than 22 million viewers in the United States alone.
She was soon elevated to the category of “America’s next girlfriend,” following in the footsteps of others such as Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, and Jennifer Aniston, and she made the leap to film starring in some of the highest-grossing romantic comedies of the first decade of the 1980s. century. In addition to winning an Emmy and getting two Golden Globe nominations, the good numbers of Embarrassing mess, 27 dresses O The crude reality made her one of the highest paid women in the film mecca, enjoying a salary of more than 10 million euros at age 26. She was also a pioneer when it came to founding her own production company with which to control the development of her projects, something that nowadays stars like Margot Robbie or Alicia Vikander imitate. But, over the course of a couple of years, her success faded as if it had been the product of a fairy godmother’s spell and the church clock had just struck twelve.
With The fireflies dance, his new television project and that Netflix premieres this February 3, Heigl will try to make up lost ground. This melodrama, based on the eponymous book by Kristin Hannah, chronicles the tumultuous friendship between two women (Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs, completes the duo) for three decades and its premiere has had a surprising reception from critics, which highlights the interpretive talent of its protagonist to deconstruct his –apparently perfect– character and create a production with a desktop spirit.
The performer’s dramatic abilities were never discussed. The apparent reason for his fall from the Hollywood Olympus is based on an undesirable sincerity in the industry and the poor digestion of perhaps too great and too sudden a success. After winning the Emmy, the actress refused to repeat the nomination because she considered that her character had not enjoyed the best material that season, thus unleashing the fury of the creator of the series, the almighty Shonda Rhimes (The Bridgertons), which more than a decade later continues to refuse to allow the former great star of the medical series to put on the doctor’s gown again. When a few years earlier he dared to publicly denounce his partner Isaiah Washington for having uttered a homophobic insult to the actor TR Knight on the set, the young woman’s honesty was praised in hagiographic reports about her figure.
His statements about his biggest movie success to date were not liked by Hollywood either. Embarrassing mess, which he called “a bit sexist.” “It portrays women as stretched harpies with no sense of humor, while men are clumsy, funny, and lovable.”she explained, being branded as ungrateful and loony by her film companions. He was absolutely right in the world in his explanations, but in the pre-Me Too industry for a woman to report her bad taste in her mouth for having participated in a stereotypical film was not yet celebrated by the industry stalls as it is today. .
The specialized press, which today drinks the winds for these profiles, whom it describes as brave and empowered activists, attacked her without any regard, publishing several confidentials in which anonymous sources related her despotic behavior with the technical team in each of her shootings. While actors involved in cases of alleged abuse or sexual harassment have managed to move on with their careers (Johnny Depp or Casey Affleck, for example), the divism – another macho term in the cinema – of the actress made her deserving of a punishment much greater than his alleged crimes. “Heigl was one of the first victims of a particularly misogynistic current of what we now call the culture of cancellation”says journalist Cole Delbyk in The Huffington Post.
“I could have said a couple of things that weren’t right, but then that turned into ‘she’s ungrateful,’ then ‘it’s difficult’ and then ‘she’s not professional.’ What is your definition of difficult? Someone with an opinion that you don’t like? Now I am 42 years old and that shit makes me very angry “, has confessed to The Washington Post the actress, who has spent years dealing with episodes of anxiety and suicidal thoughts due to the sudden collapse of her media image. “They quickly told me to shut the fuck up. But the more I apologized, the more they asked me to do it again, ”he adds.
After apologizing to exhaustion and fighting for five years to regain lost status in different television series – failing in the attempt -, The fireflies dance it seems like the last chance not to say goodbye definitively to the first line of the industry. Heigl herself recognizes in the interview that success is the best remedy to erase memories and recover wills in the hills of Los Angeles. “You can already be the scariest, most difficult and horrible person on the planet who, if you make them earn money, they will continue to hire you. I knew that even if they felt that I was doing horrible things, they would look the other way if I enriched them. But my films began to not raise so much money, “he maintains, showing off his much disputed brutal honesty. It is now up to Netflix viewers that Katherine Heigl is finally separated from the label of “difficult” in the Hollywood offices.