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.