No, this isn’t a joke | National Review

No, this isn’t a joke | National Review

Cast member Ben Stiller (L) greets co-star Matthew McConaughey at the premiere of “Tropic Thunder” at the Mann’s Village theatre in Westwood, California, August 11, 2008. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

It seems like an axiom in Hollywood that no matter who you are, you want to be someone else. Ben Stiller has proven very adept at being a sad-sack suffering comic abuse, but he’s been trying to prove himself as a dramatic actor for more than 20 years, and it doesn’t seem to be working out.

Still, good for him for not giving up! His latest idea is to play Jack Torrance in The Shining. If he signs on (negotiations are ongoing), this will require Ben Stiller to be scary. Can Ben Stiller be scary? I very much doubt it. I am reminded of an interview Tom Hanks gave to the New York Times in which he was delicately asked why he always takes the nice-guy roll and his answer was candid: After Road to Perdition, he realized he couldn’t scare anyone. Truth!

The Belgian avant-garde director Ivo Van Hove, whose recent productions have combined theater with high-def video to ungainly effect (he staged Network on Broadway with Bryan Cranston, then a low-energy revival of West Side Story), is proposing to put The Shining on stage with Stiller at the center, first in London next year, then maybe later on Broadway. Van Hove’s icy, technical style and Stiller’s inexperience in this kind of role promise to be quite a combination.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.