Friday, September 3, 2010

INTERMISSION: A-List Actors Whose Final Roles Were Animated

This could open a Costco-size can of controversy, but do we truly consider someone’s work in an animated feature to be as memorable as in a live-action film? 
We all loved Tom Hanks in the Toy Story films, so in that sense, yes. But do you think of those as Tom Hanks movies? No. None of you do. So we’ve answered that.

Toy Story 3 at The Mission Twins Theater
I have nothing against animated films. Check my record over the past 7 years, and you’ll see it littered with kid-friendly movie stubs.
I just think an actor’s role in an animated film is in a category all its own. And the Academy must agree. Otherwise, Robin Williams would have a gold statue for playing a blue genie.
Here’s what started this:  Sir Sean Connery has announced his retirement. He’ll have one more performance--in the upcoming animated Sir Billi. But then that’s it. 

Will we associate Connery with this as his last role?


Because The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) was his final on-camera film performance. And cable TV’s not going to let us forget it.
Something must be done. His career certainly deserves it.

Couldn’t Sir Sean play a James Bond villain already? We're not picky. He could even die quickly, like Blofeld, who survived how often, and then was dropped down a smokestack five minutes into For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Actually, a gravelly, Scottish “Mr. Booooond!” would be an awesome final line.

But I don’t think he’ll do it. He’s a stubborn guy. So in the end, we’ll get voice work from Sean and like it.
It turns out he’s in good company. I give you ...

A-List actors whose final performances were in animated roles:

                                              JAMES STEWART

Did you know that James Stewart's final big screen credit was for An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)? Or that he asked Steven Spielberg (uncredited) to direct his performance? I did, but I'm a crazy-huge fan. 

I always wished Jimmy would’ve been in Cocoon (1985). But no, his last live-action role (not counting TV here) was for an odd Japanese-produced African movie back in 1980. I don’t want to talk about that.

              PAUL NEWMAN

Mr. Newman had a fine swan song on-camera in Road To Perdition (2002), but his final role? As Doc Hudson in Cars (2006). (And also in a Cars video game and short feature.) 

We were already conditioned to seeing a cartoon Paul on salad dressing bottles for years. But if you really want to exit animated, Pixar is a good way to go out. 

                             ORSON WELLES

Welles recorded his final acting work in The Transformers: The Movie (1986) as a mechanical planet that eats worlds. Considering his girth, it wasn’t a stretch to ... nah. 

Researchers will find that he appeared briefly in the live-action Someone To Love (1987), but this work was completed prior to The Transformers and released later. 

Side note:  It’s interesting to consider other A-Listers’ final non-film work.  

Marlon Brando lent his voice to The Godfather video game. 

And it’s likely that Robert Mitchum’s last recorded words were “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.”

Final note:  If Sean’s a lost cause, then let’s help Gene Hackman

Welcome To Mooseport (2004) is no fitting valedictory.

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