By Jess Sorentino (University of Delaware)
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Jaime Chung, who is known for her role in The Real World: San Diego, has just been cast for The Hangover 2. But she is not the only reality television star who has used overly dramatic programming to open the door into Hollywood.
But is reality television a good place to look for actual acting talent? I’m not too sure.
Shows like The Real World and The Jersey Shore do produce big stars by casting them in roles that are similar — but hopefully more dramatic — to their everyday lifestyles. They are experts in this role, because it comes naturally to them and they participate in it on a daily basis. It is hardly enough reason for Hollywood to cast these stars before, for example, a C-list actor.
In The Hangover 2, Chung will play the role of Ed Helms’ on-screen fiancée. For those of you who either have not seen The Hangover or just don’t know who Ed Helms is, he played Stu, the crazy doctor, err I mean, dentist, who pulled his own tooth out and was married to Heather Graham’s character for all of five minutes.
In the last film, Helms’ girlfriend (who he dumps at Phil’s wedding in the end) hardly has a role, so she could have been played by pretty much anyone. If his new fiancée, Chung, has the same kind of part, everything should be fine.
I’m not saying anything directly negative about Chung. I actually don’t even know too much about her. To me, it’s about the principle of casting reality television stars for more legit acting roles. Seriously, can you imagine Snooki in a movie playing somebody other than Snooki? It would be treated like a cameo. Pretty much everyone would still refer to her as Snooki.
Besides reality stars that have made it in the big leagues, let’s talk about another slightly smaller industry that thinks they can launch anyone into Hollywood: Disney.
Hillary Duff, Shia LaBeouf, Zac Efron…need I continue? If Disney can’t make them singers — Justin Timberlake — they will make them actors.
Personally, I think LaBeouf has proven himself to be a good actor starring as Stanley Yelnats in Holes; but he began his career playing Louis on Even Stevens. But generally, a lot of the kids cast on the Disney Channel are cast because they are obnoxious and annoying and keep other children entertained. That hardly qualifies them as Hollywood material.
These obnoxious kids can easily be compared to the obnoxious reality stars who drink, moan and whine on camera. They keep our age group entertained the way the Disney stars keep children entertained. It’s not incredible talent, it’s relatable.
Again back to Chung, she is in the minority with LaBeouf. Besides this upcoming stint, she has appeared in Grown Ups, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and also Sorority Girls.
Seems like she has made a name in Hollywood for herself. Hollywood is a tricky industry on a global level. Of course we need the Disney and reality stars to provide mindless entertainment, but that should not be the first step to making it in Hollywood.