And now comes Stephen Baldwin, documentarian
The trend of actors who decide to make documentaries seems heightened not just by the Michael Moore era in which the documentarian gets to be the star of his own film (see Morgan Spurlock, Chris Rock), or by people trying to resurrect flagging careers by attaching to “serious” work (see Lindsay Lohan’s disastrous BBC doc that got her banned from the entirety of India), but maybe by the recession-induced paucity of acting roles that leaves some at loose ends.
Stephen Baldwin, whose credits lately have been in a string of forgettable films, has decided to lend his journalistic skills to the documentary art.
Stephen Baldwin arrived in New Orleans on May 3 ready to take meetings about a feature film based on his own original screenplay. But after talking with local Louisiana residents concerned about how the April 20 oil rig explosion and subsequent calamitous spill will impact their lives, he changed tracks and quickly switched his focus to a documentary to chronicle the worst environmental disaster to ever impact the American coastline.
Speaking of disasters, the question of how many ex-actors have ever made a worthy documentary film is a good one (notwithstanding Chris Rock’s rip-off of Regina Kimbell) would be worthy of a game show.
By the same token, photojournalists becoming documentarians has a rich history, most recently demonstrated by Louie Psihoyos’s Oscar for “The Cove,” and print journalists becoming documentarians is headlined these days by Sebastian Junger’s transmedia success with the doc “Restrepo” (top prize at Sundance) and the book “War” (from the same reporting, published this month).
But after watching Ice Cube’s tepidly-received “Straight Outta LA” (about the Los Angeles Raiders football team) on ESPN recently, it’s easy to see in the constant shots of Mr. Cube himself staring menacingly over the vacated Coliseum, that people who spend their lives trying to get in front of the camera rarely have the ability to stand back and listen. And that presumably remains the key skill for anyone who chooses to enter the field.
Of course, the locals may see it differently.
“Sometimes it takes a star to come in with their money and time to make a difference,” Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told reporters.