Is it just us or are Hollywood’s wild men really not what they used to be? The sixties had Frank Sinatra cosying up to the mafia and the dark and brooding behaviour of Marlon Brando. We’ve got… wait for it, brace yourself… Justin Bieber throwing some eggs at his neighbour’s house. Anybody else feeling a little short-changed?
There’s a story that used to do the rounds about legendary wild man Oliver Reed, that he was once so aggrieved by slow service at an LA restaurant that he threw his chair through the window to attract the waiter’s attention. When somebody came over, Reed calmly sat down and said: “Right, I think I’ll start with the fish.”
Unfortunately, whereas once the edgy behaviour of a power-crazed, slightly unhinged celeb might well have been aphrodisiacal, nowadays it really is slim pickings.
Though some might say you have to give baby-faced Justin Beiber some credit for his determination to seem wild, the very fact that he is trying rules out any ‘coolness’ – it should be second nature. You wouldn’t have seen Sinatra being arrested and charged with a felony for throwing eggs at a neighbour’s property. Apparently this random food vandalism cost thousands of dollars in damages! What was in those egg? Hardboiled rocks?
Actor Shia LaBeouf probably comes as close to a bad boy that we’re going to get these days. Well, he’s either that or a man on the verge of a very public breakdown, we can’t quite work out which. He sent a picture of his manhood to film director Lars von Trier in order to nab the lead role in Nymphomaniac and was more recently accused of plagiarism (the star was accused of taking heavy inspiration for his short film project HowardContour.com from comic book artist Daniel Clowes without attribution). Rather than say sorry to Daniel directly the actor ordered a skywriter to fly an apology across the skies of Hollywood. Problem was Daniel wasn’t even in Hollywood so it came across more as a publicity stunt. Girls star Lena Dunham dubbed him a sociopath. Fair assessment most likely.
Soon his actions made him a victim of ridicule with Jim Carrey mocking Shia in his Golden Globes speech. Shia retaliated – finally! Bad boy cool points – but sadly his tweeted comeback was more akin to a school ground insult: “At least I don’t get arrested for indecency on major LA highways! Or abandon love child’s [sic].” Shia was obviously told his allegations were ill-informed as within an hour he changed his tune, tweeting: “Jim Carrey states that he is deeply involved in his daughter’s life – I accept that, regret tweet on the matter. Apologies to both parents,” He later followed that up about an hour later with, “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE.”
Now I’m not (officially) advocating violent behaviour, of course. Some of Hollywood’s legendary rabble-rousers lived a shambolic existence, died young and generally corrupted everyone they came into contact with. The thing is, despite all that, it didn’t half sound like great fun, at least from the outside; and in today’s wholly sanitised, PR-dominated Hollywood a little personality and wild antics really would turn our heads.
Bad boys: can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.