Am I the only one who experienced an Armie Hammer Conundrum? Let me explain.
As I referenced briefly in an earlier entry about the film geek, I tend to have a pretty good recollection of actors’ names and faces. However, every now and then a performer comes along that I just can’t seem to pin down in my memory. I hear their names again and again and see their films but repeatedly find myself having to look them up to remember what they look like and what movies they’ve been in.
Sienna Miller was one such actress. I’m still not entirely sure I’d be able to instantly recognize her every single time. But I’ve seen enough of her movies that I remember what she’s been in and can probably make an educated guess about whether or not she is a particular person in question. I think part of the problem is that I never really felt a specific star persona congeal around her. Know what I mean? As a counterpoint, when I think of someone like Brad Pitt, other connections immediately spring up, like George Clooney and Matt Damon. If I think of Jennifer Lawrence, I also think of Emma Stone and Carey Mulligan. Roughly speaking, they all kind of occupy the same spaces within the industry for me. But when it comes to Sienna Miller, it feels like I have no frame of reference. She’s just kind of isolated in my mind.
Until very recently, I felt the same way about Armie Hammer.
While I don’t read a lot of celebrity news/gossip articles, I do read a lot of casting announcements, which is where his name kept popping up over the years. I first heard about Hammer around the time of The Social Network’s release. His name came up again the next year with the release of J. Edgar, followed the year after that with Mirror Mirror. During that time, his name also showed up in relation to the upcoming The Lone Ranger.
As I mentioned above, I’ve only seen Mirror Mirror, which I really enjoyed. I thought he was great in it. I think he pulled off the right combination of funny, charming, handsome, goofy, and innocent that the role required. I was thinking about this on a long drive from Miami to Atlanta when it hit me like lightning! At long last, the solution to my Armie Hammer conundrum:
Armie Hammer is the new Brendan Fraser.
The more I thought about it the more it made sense. All the adjectives above also describe Fraser. He had the leading man looks but was always comfortable being goofy in a sincere/innocent way. I tried to imagine Hammer in previous Fraser roles and the switch felt seamless. A slightly older Armie Hammer in The Mummy. Armie Hammer in Encino Man. An older Armie Hammer in Crash. And especially Armie Hammer in George of the Jungle. It works the other way around too, at least with the one movie I’m working with. A young Brendan Fraser in Mirror Mirror. And going by the trailer, Brendan Fraser in The Lone Ranger. Come on! They even sound the same!
This connection has been groundbreaking for me. It’s helped me pin Hammer down. I feel like I “get” where he fits in the industry now. I think I will remember and actually like and appreciate him more because of this connection.
I will finally sleep easy tonight.
(UPDATED 9/6/22: This hasn’t aged well…)