All the olds are moving to TV. Jon Voight, 69, announced today that he'll be appearing on the next season of 24, Fox's jingo-jango rah-rah Republican hour. This comes on the heels of the news that William Hurt, 58, will be joining Damages, FX's slick show about wicked lawyers, and that crazy old Dennis Hopper, 72, is set to star in the new Crash series, based on the stupid movie. Hopper has done series before, but these Oscar-nominated (and winning) actors still represent an increasingly popular trend. Movie stars, especially those of a certain age, are making the leap to television.
I mean, the reasons are all laid out in front of us. Television shows, especially those on cable, are of increasingly high quality, with big meaty parts for actors who may be a bit forgotten by the movies. It also might have something to do with stability and economy. The guaranteed paycheck, the steady hours, and being able to sleep in one's own bed at night are all big draws for doing a series, though it can be, by all accounts, pretty exhausting work. Maybe the old-timers just feel like seeing if they're up to the challenge.
The interesting thing though, for me, is that these are actors who started their careers, and found their first big successes, in a time when film actors just didn't do TV. There was a definite barrier between the two. To do television as a "film actor" was, really, to taint one's career. Though now these three fellows, along with Glenn Close, Dianne Wiest, Donald Sutherland, and others in the recent past are changing that old thinking. And I think it's great. Who cares what size the screen is, so long as the material is good. I mean, wouldn't it be terrific to see Meryl Streep headlining an HBO series someday? Plus, great filmmakers have been switching over, too. A TV revolution!