Where is Hayley Atwell?
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Even after the cancellation of Agent Carter, Atwell continues to get work with ABC’s new Conviction being her most recent attempt at gaining a following. With undesirable reviews from critics, the future for Atwell and her career in television, at least for that show, is bleak. Another actress who did her time in television before earning her own show was Jennifer Garner back in 2001 with ABC’s Alias. Jennifer Garner’s lack of massive film success in recent years has less to do with a lack of interest from audiences and more to do with her personal choice to put her family first with raising three children andd has been public about her homemaker aspirations. If Jennifer Garner had not chosen diapers and Saturday soccer games over big and small screen permanence, the certainty of her career would still be questionable in this celebrity climate.
Hayley Atwell is at a disadvantage simply because she does not stand out in any particular way, despite her attractive appearance and above average acting chops. Even after having her own series and appearing in many British productions, she somehow does not receive the amount of press and attention as reality stars and celebutantes.
How celebrities attain fame has changed so dramatically in the last ten years, it has left many popular actors from the late 1990s in the dust. Leelee Sobieski, Rachael Leigh Cook and Josh Hartnett were just a few up-and-coming actors whose careers took a downturn rather than their roles growing along with them.
Mena Suvari may be the best example of a disappearing act. After the one-two-punch of American Beauty and American Pie in 1999, Suvari became Hollywood’s “It Girl”. She adorned the cover of countless major magazines like Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Entertainment Weekly. She appeared on late night talk shows regularly and even hosted Saturday Night Life in 2001. Was she just another casualty in the entire concept of an“It Girl”? Or was it the emergence of reality television, social media, and media’s obsession with highlighting the most controversial celebrities, that made her less interesting for audiences? Could it be her lack of luck with films that followed? She broke out in a major way, and although American Pie and American Beauty were not her first acting gigs, they were early enough in her career that she could be considered an overnight sensation.
Where does Hayley Atwell sit among the other talented performers who are given opportunity and use it wisely but still seem to become outshined by those with less talent but more intrigue? While opportunities tend to diminish for an actress as she ages, Atwell’s general appeal is her wise grace, a quality that may help her. Perhaps, her presence in film and television will increase when her age catches up with her mature manner. Fame is fleeting for many and there is rarely a logical explanation for why or who may attain it and even less of an explanation to how long it will last. While many performers have reached questionable levels of popularity, it is the actors who never quite become the subject of the water cooler discussions, who are able to persevere with fine performances and interesting work. Whether the work is trending on twitter or not, if done right, the performance will endure far longer and be appreciated in retrospect. Hopefully, that will be the result for Hayley Atwell.
Megan Bushree, Fashion Columnist: Megan Bushree has been published online and in print since 2007. She has a BA in English Literature and MA in Rhetoric. Her books include "Coming Soon to West Knox", "Another Day in the Motherhood" and "Almost 21 Again". (more...)