The Case for Katherine Heigl

There’s an interesting piece over at EW.com that ostensibly makes the case for Katherine Heigl.

I have never really understood the hate that Katie generates. Sure, she’s made a lot of bad movies, but so has Jennifer Aniston and no one hates her (and she’s nowhere near as talented as Katie). I guess it is a bit much that she is tall, blonde, gorgeous, curvy, talented, rich, and unapologetically opinionated. Or so the haterade goes.

The EW piece weirdly discusses all that is wrong with romantic comedies, and spends little actual time on Katie. But it did get me to think about why it is that I so enjoy her work, and have for over a decade: She has an incredible ability to combine a steely coldness with deep reservoirs of sadness and vulnerability.

That first episode of Season 3 on Grey’s Anatomy, in the aftermath of Denny’s death is proof positive.

And she was particularly phenomenal as the cold, but deeply sensitive, alien/human hybrid Isabel Evans on the started-great-then-network-tampering-killed-all-that-was-good-about-it Roswell.  Hers was the hardest part because she had to convey the vulnerability of being a human (of which her brother Max, played by the great should-be-employed-more Jason Behr, had too much) and the alien coldness (of which her betrothed Michael, played by the great Brendan Fehr, had too much), sometimes at the exact same time.

Obviously, romantic comedies provide little material that can play on this particular gift. And it may be that she needs another great television role on par with Roswell and those first three seasons of Grey’s, because there just aren’t a lot of great roles for women in film. Who knows? But there is something perversely retrogressive about Hollywood’s recent penchant for taking talented blonde actresses like Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Bell, and Katie and trying to turn them into the next Meg Ryan.  Reese and Kristen have proven themselves to be quite funny at times, but there is nothing about Katie’s work that suggests she’s a comedic talent.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I’ve always thought she should model her career after Julianne Moore, another steely, yet vulnerable actress.  But then of course, Julianne didn’t get started till her late 30s.  I suspect Katie will transition into meatier roles in a few years when Hollywood figures out that not only do people not want to see her in shit like Killers, she’s not good in shit like Killers.

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About tlewisisdope

I write. I live in DC.
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6 Responses to The Case for Katherine Heigl

  1. Andy says:

    I think Katherine is awesome and she is equally adept and both high drama and comedy. Action is probably not her thing though but I even found Killers enjoyable. She made the movie. After the heavy drama, death, disease of Grey’s she pretty much said she went rom com for some lightness..but her next two roles are more dramatic and different – One For The Money and Adaline and with some of her production projects like Escape I think we can except some meatier roles. I think she has had some really rough press and been treated pretty unfairly.

  2. Terry says:

    I completely agree about Heigl’s range, but especially that her forte is drama, not comedy. She made me cry many times on Grey’s, and she was amazing in the last five episodes of the notorious season five (even after having to film that wretched plot about the Denny halucinations!)
    Sadly, though, the person who seems to need the most convincing about her amazing ability to convey, as you wonderfully put it, “deep reservoirs of sadness and vulnerability” seems to be Heigl herself. She’s said that she loves these rom-coms. Anyway, I hope a break from Grey’s will clear her head and fortify her for some meatier roles, as Andy suggests it might.

  3. tigger500 says:

    I agree that she may want to try new things, I just don’t think they are working for her.

  4. tigger500 says:

    I think you are exactly right. I don’t think she has any real sense of what she’s good at or even has a real clear sense of what she should be doing to show off her range and capabilities as an actress. She seems ambitious in a purely commercial way and doesn’t seem interested in doing small movies that can balance out all this romcom dreck and remind people why they fell in love with her in the first place.

  5. C says:

    “I guess it is a bit much that she is tall, blonde, gorgeous, curvy, talented, rich, and unapologetically opinionated. ”
    I don’t care about her opinions, her height, her hair color or her looks. I certainly can not deny her talent – but I think she suffers from foot and mouth disease in a major way. MAJOR.
    I find that in interviews she just comes across as unlikeable and kind of bitchy (see also: Justin Timberlake & Ashton Kutcher).

  6. tigger500 says:

    Ha ha. I just think she is opinionated and generally you aren’t supposed to have an opinion if you’re an actor.
    It could be that I’m used to it since I remember when she was on Roswell that she was particularly vocal about some of the network tampering that effed that show up. So I wasn’t quite as shocked when she did what she did around the Emmys and the sexism in Knocked Up (which, frankly, in both cases she was 100% correct about).

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