Thoughts on… My Most Watched Actors

I have a Letterboxd account and it’s pretty great. Letterboxd is the movie version of Goodreads so you can log what you watch, write reviews, make lists and follow different users. If you get a Pro account (which is only $19 a year which is about £15 and I think that’s pretty good value to be honest) you get to see what your various movie-related stats are each year you log films and overall on all the films you’ve ever marked as watched.

I’ve been looking at which actors I’ve watched the most overall and there’s some interesting things there but it does make me want to try and change some of my viewing habits.

Out of my top twenty most watched actors, just two of them are women – Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson. Scarlett Johansson was someone I was surprised to be there as she’s not one of my favourite actors nor someone who I’d go to see a film just because they’re in it. Her being in the Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly helped give her a boost and for a younger actor (she’s 32) she’s been in the business for a while and has an eclectic filmography. Rachel Weisz is a new addition because I have been watching more of her filmography recently, trying to get her (and more women in general) into my top twenty. In comparison to Johansson, Weisz is an actor who I love and will seek out films just because she’s in them but she usually stars in dramas or films that aren’t so mainstream hence while she is someone I do really like, her filmography isn’t always to my taste.

Out of my top twenty most watched actors, just two of them aren’t white – Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman. Now it sucks that there aren’t more people of colour on this list and that could be put down to the types of films I watch and also to the film industry as a whole but if there were going to be two black guys on my most watched actors list, I’m not surprised its Jackson and Freeman. Samuel L. Jackson is like the king of the franchises, he has the MCU and Star Wars under his belt and he’s in pretty much every Quentin Tarantino film, never mind all the various action films he’s in, both the good and the bad. He is just generally in the films I enjoy watching. And Morgan Freeman is just a legend who has been in the business for a long time. Freeman has been in critically acclaimed films like Se7en and The Shawshank Redemption, Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and if you want a wise old character in your film, he’s a good bet.

I also find it interesting looking at the ages of my top twenty most watched actors. I think the ages of them, plus overarching problems in the film industry, pretty much explains why there’s both so few women and people of colour on my top twenty most watched actors list. Scarlett Johansson is the youngest at 32, Channing Tatum is the second youngest at 37, then there’s a jump of ten years to Rachel Weisz and Matt Damon at 47. That then set the bench mark for the rest of the actors getting steadily older with ten of them being over 60.

It’s natural that older people will be in my most watched list because there’s more chances of me seeing their films, even if they’re ones where they aren’t the main star. But this also shows that age doesn’t really matter if you are a man. They may have been in the business from a young age but they have consistently got work as they’ve aged, something that doesn’t tend to happen for women.

I just find these stats interesting. There’s people there I wouldn’t expect to be on my top twenty most watched actors list like Bruce Willis (I’m not particularly a fan), and those like Mark Strong and John Goodman that often seem to sneak into films without much fanfare.

This list makes me want to try and watch more diverse films, and to try and get more women and people of colour on this list. A part of me thinks no matter what I do it won’t ever be an equal split between men and women, actors of colour and white actors, because of the kind of films Hollywood makes and the opportunities, or lack thereof, it gives actors that are different to the norm. Still, I’ll try and watch different films but I won’t change my taste in films – like I will continue to watch every film Jason Statham is in because he is pretty damn awesome in my book.

Do any of you have a Letterboxd account and can see your most watched actor stats? If not, who do you think if the actor you’ve seen the most films of?

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2 comments

  1. Interesting thought! I think for the case of Morgan Freeman, he is just in so many (good) movies that people just can’t help watching him a lot. I also have a Letterboxd account and I love it – it’s such a shame not that many people use it 🙂

    1. Yeah Morgan Freeman’s an actor I’m not surprised to see him in this list. As you say he’s in so many good films and has kind of taken on the role of “old wise man” in more kid friendly films of late so there’s even more chance of seeing him.
      I love Letterboxd! I’ve only had it for a couple of years but it’s so handy, I mention it to everyone I know who watches a lot of films.

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