Young Hollywood actors struggled
Both Jaden Smith and Selena Gomez acted in two distinctly different movies that both failed to capture audiences in 2013. ‘After Earth’ and ‘Getaway’ were some of this year’s least successful movies, and the two actors suffered from the same problem:
‘After Earth’ was essentially a father-son vehicle that put two different fan bases side-by-side. You had the younger generation Jaden fans who had been thrilled by ‘The Karate Kid’, and then you had the Will Smith fans, who had matured since the days of the ‘Fresh Prince’ and were expecting visceral action. Both fan bases were far apart, and the movie itself was somewhat overly serious and not the right type of story for these two actors to be in. What it came down to was, in my opinion, a problem of appeal for both distinctively different sets of fan groups.
After Earth trailer
Jaden Smith, aged 15 was in a film that was far too serious for his younger fans, while Will Smith was in a film that was largely too un-explosive and un-characteristic of his past blockbuster releases. It was a serious miscast for both actors. What dragged on it was also the combination of the two as lead actors. It was not the kind of story that Will Smith fans wanted to see, and likewise it was the same for the Jaden Smith fan base.
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Fast-forward to ‘Getaway’, Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez worked well together behind-the-scenes, but their on-screen pairing didn’t have that magic for audiences and it would have been very difficult to convince their fans that this was a picture they should see.
We had seen ‘Spring Breakers’ make a fair bit of noise, which gave Gomez a good boost, but that was a very different movie than ‘Getaway’. The dark-thriller genre was perfect territory for Ethan Hawke to lead in ‘Getaway’, but his fan base was not ready to see the ‘Spring Breakers’ star by his side.
Let me put it this way. Selena Gomez still has a strong Disney fan base for her acting work. Ethan Hawke is a seasoned actor with a dedicated fan base, that want to see him in certain kinds of pictures. He’s more of an indie-mainstream star that has a cult following because of the choices he makes and the diverse characters he portrays. He’s a great actor, but I think alongside Gomez, it was not the right casting choice, for either of them. Although, I feel that Selena Gomez has a lot of potential in the acting arena, this was definitely a film that couldn’t be sold to her audience, and that really mattered. In a way she was put to a side ahead of the release by circumstance. It wasn’t something she could actively promote to her fans who wouldn’t understand that subject matter. This film was gritty, dark, and un-Disney like and that Disney image is very hard to shake off especially when she’s touring the world and her brand is being marketed to younger fans.
In the end both actors have the potential but suffered the same problem in 2013 : They were miscast.