Sometime back in October, I posted a link on Wordplay to an article that had some very cool set and production information for Dead Man's Chest including great spoilers about a giant squid! A squid! Can you imagine? Who, but Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio would put a giant squid on the deck of a ship?
Anyway, Mr. Rossio read the article and promptly took exception to remarks made by the article writer regarding the success of Pirates of the Caribbean resting solely on the shoulders of Johnny Depp. He then spilled out a much justified rant insisting that a performance is created by an actor, but the role is created by writers, directors, producers, editors, costume, hair, makeup, sound, background, etc and he concluded by saying he really didn't understand why writers (entertainment article writers, I'm assuming) keep getting it wrong.
That's easy. Human beings are superficial.
The writer of the article, like many movie viewers, saw the finished product and discounted everything underneath, all of the components that went into making Pirates of the Caribbean work. I would compare that to the body of a car getting credit for the V8 under the hood. Poor analogy? No, I don't think so. An actor being credited with the success of a film is just as unreliable as body styles being credited for the performance of a vehicle. But, it happens. It's all about the surface.
Take my all time favorite car, the Ford Mustang. When they came out, Ford could have sold those things with a lawnmower moter and women still would have bought them because the car looked hot! Superficial. Sad. True.
Dodge Chargers had terrible sales in 1966 even though they came standard with a 318 V-8 producing 230 hp at 4400 rpm. Why? Because the body was ugly. They only sold 468 of them with the 426 Hemi. The body was hideous! (and Hemi amounted to about a third of the cost of the car) Point? Dodge had to make body style changes so one of the hottest running vehicles outside the racing world would be attractive to consumers.
Same thing with movies. I want to watch a well made film on all levels, but unfortunately, I actually do enjoy a lot of very bad films with very bad performances. Why? Because I'm superficial enough to sit through Master of Ballentrae for Errol Flynn, of course!
Some days ago, I was in a chat room for screenwriters and screenwriting wannabes when somebody recognized my name and said "hey, you're the gal that set Terry off!". He told the room about Terry's rant and how my post had ignited it. No, I corrected him, I didn't set Terry off. The author of the article set Terry off.
You see? This guy in the chat room, this guy who would be the first to shout AMEN after reading Terry's post, this guy only remembered the surface of what Terry Rossio had to say.