The news that Tyler Hoechlin scored a minor role in a major movie has aroused ire in some corners of the Teen Wolf Fandom. The Wrap broke the news this week that Teen Wolf’s Derek Hale will become Fifty Shades Darker’s Boyce Fox. Fox is apparently barely a mention in the novels, the sequels to Fifty Shades of Grey, but will have a somewhat larger bit in the film.
Teen Wolf fans seem to immediately jump into two disparate groups, those who think it’s great that Hoechlin is scoring big movies and those who think it’s disgusting that he would be in “this” movie.
The latter opinion is basically summed up thusly – This actor I like should not be in a film that romanticizes rape and abuse.
This opinion is not a new one, feminist authors and others have been vocally bashing the whole “Fifty” phenomenon since it began.
- “It takes violence against women and re-brands it as romantic,” feminist professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College, Gail Dines, told USAToday.
- “I can’t emphasize enough the disturbing quality of this,” Dr. Drew Pinsky, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine says. “This is a woman who is naïve to these issues, and then is manipulated and exploited by a man who has a severe personality disorder and a sex addiction who is violent with her, it is just too much to be understood.”
- Feminist Scholar and English Professor Gina Barreca wrote a piece for the Hartford Courant which criticized the book as “glorifying women as objects and violence as somehow romantic” and “a nasty piece of misogynist residue.”
It’s not just negative opinions that support the “Hoechlin shouldn’t do Darker” crowd. There is some evidence that the attitudes promoted by the books and films do real harm.
A study by Amy Bonomi, professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, found the novel perpetuates violence against women. Young adult women who read “Fifty Shades of Grey” are more likely than nonreaders to exhibit signs of eating disorders and have a verbally abusive partner, according to Bonomi’s study. They also found women who read all three books in the series are at increased risk of engaging in binge drinking and having multiple sex partners.
Those supporting Hoechlin’s choice to do the film basically say – Hey, he’s an actor. This is a part in a big movie. We should be stoked.
This group has good points too.
Hoechlin’s had only a couple of really good opportunities since leaving Teen Wolf. He’s in the new Richard Linklater period piece Everybody Wants Some!! That film will hit theaters on April 1st and Hoechlin is expected to join the cast in Austin this week for the Texas Film Awards. He also did a movie called Stratton which is set for a UK release sometime this year. Both films will showcase the actor’s talents to the industry but neither is likely to garner the level of hype and interest that Fifty Shades Darker will.
While his turn in independent films might earn him respect and possible future roles, his few minutes on screen in “Fifty” could generate serious buzz and that is something all the respect in the world can’t buy. Buzz is the real currency in the entertainment business. Get enough buzz and you automatically level up in the industry.
Go back in time for a moment and think about Brad Pitt’s part in Thelma and Louise. He was on screen for a scant few minutes but his career was never the same. Before T&L, Pitt had been on TV and done a few small movie roles. A year later he was leading movies like A River Runs Through It. That’s what buzz can do for a good actor. It’s what a solid performance in a really trashy but widely talked about movie like Fifty Shades Darker could do for Hoechlin.
Most important to this group of fans, in their support of the actor’s choice to do the film, is the fact that Hoechlin seems pretty stoked about the opportunity. He posted a picture of his trailer on the Darker set to his seldom used Instagram account and tweeted to the book’s author, E. L. James, “Happy and honored to be here..
#FSF” That hashtag means Fifty Shades Freed which is also the title of the third book and film in the series which is set for theatrical release in 2018. It’s unclear if Hoechlin’s character would make it into that third installment.
Whichever side you take in this “should he or shouldn’t he” argument, Hoechlin is already in Canada doing the movie so your choice now will come down to whether you see the film or don’t.