Could Blake Lively Be The Next Michelle Williams?
The news that CW starlet Blake Lively would be spending her Gossip Girl hiatus filming the independent film Hick, in which she will play a meth addicted single mother, shockingly came as no big surprise. The young actress has shown a somewhat remarkable ability in choosing smart projects while also balancing her required role as a pretty and promiscuous blond on a network television show. While her cast mates are playing bland boyfriends, 3-D victims and sociopathic college co-eds during their off time, Ms. Lively is quietly, and quickly, establishing herself as a movie star -- much like Michelle Williams.
Now, before anyone makes a fuss about comparing a two-time Oscar nominee to a girl who took on a pair of traveling pants not just once, but twice, look at the evidence.
First, there was her performance alongside heavy hitters Julianne Moore and Alan Alda in Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, in which she played a young Robin Wright, giving the actress some serious cred and experience. That was followed by her somewhat polarizing, but unarguably solid, role in Ben Affleck's The Town. Add to that her part in the upcoming blockbuster The Green Lantern, for which she undoubtedly beat out far bigger and more bankable names, and reports she was on the shortlist for Baz Luhrmann's remake of The Great Gatsby, and you are looking at one impressive resume.
Hick will of course be the true test for Lively, but she has surrounded herself with some pretty amazing company. Recent Tony winner, and upcoming Williams costar in My Week with Marilyn, Eddie Redmayne has just signed on, and the lead role is being played by one of the best actors working in Hollywood these days -- Chloe Moretz. She may only be 14, but in the past year she has wowed critics in Kick-Ass and Let Me In, filmed a 30 Rock guest spot and starred in the small upcoming film Hugo Cabret directed by one Martin Scorsese. One would be hard pressed to find a more solid leading lady.
Williams took a somewhat similar role in moving herself from the safe confines of Dawson's Creek to more daring and challenging work. During her time off from playing a, wait for it, pretty and promiscuous blond, she took roles in films including But I'm A Cheerleader, Prozac Nation and critical darling The Station Agent. And before anyone pulls out the 'Williams shuns mainstream film card,' let us not forget her role in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Then, two years after her show went off the air, she seamlessly broke through to the A-list with her performance in Brokeback Mountain.
There are of course many differences between the two women. While Lively has certainly shown herself to be no schlub in the acting department, Williams' quietly devastating performances in movies like Wendy and Lucy or her Oscar nominated role in Blue Valentine are the type that few actors would ever be capable of. Furthermore, while Williams may be a fashionista and red carpet darling, she would likely sooner die than appear as a model for Chanel, a role Lively will take on in an ad campaign later this year.
At 23-years-old, Lively is only two years younger than Williams when she received her first Oscar nod. The industry seems to love her and if she continues to choose roles as effectively as she currently is, there is no reason to believe she won't achieve similar success.
And before anyone rolls their eyes, don't forget we live in a world where a former 90210 guest star is a two-time Oscar winner.