The Case of Being Spellbound: Musings on Movie Crushes

I’ve been wanting to write this post for some time… but seeing how swoon-worthy Gregory Peck in Spellbound I feel like indulging. Besides, one of my longtime crush is having a birthday this Saturday, another one has a movie opening this Friday, and my friend Novia just happened to be celebrating her Monthly [Cillian] Murphy series on her ultimate movie crush, so today just seems as good a time as any. Admit it, we’ve all got our share of movie crushes. Some last only as long as the film you saw him/her in question remains in your memory, but some crushes linger for years.

So what really constitute as a movie crush?

I think a real crush is when you like an actor so much you just can’t get enough of them. You want to see everything he’s ever done, and you’re willing to track down even the most obscure little thing you could find, even if he has only like 5-minute screen time. That’s what I did as a wee girl when I fell for Christopher Reeve in Superman. Or the time I ordered a DVD of this British sit-com Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married all the way from New Zealand because Gerry Butler has a part in it, ahah. Turns out to be a pretty funny show thankfully.

Contrary to what you might think, I don’t fall for actors very often. Well, you know, the whole butterfly-in-the stomach variety. In fact, I was surprised how much I was struck by Peck in Spellbound… It was a big swoon moment as I watched the way he looked at and held Ingrid Bergman… I was um, spellbound by his gorgeous face (and how his ears sort of stick out a bit), the way his dark hair kind of curl on his forehead, his deep voice. There’s also that quiet grace about him that I always find irresistible in a man. So yeah, it’s one of those rare swept-off-my-feet moments that when it happens, I kind of want to cherish it.

I can only think of a few such hypnotic moments. If you read this blog long enough, none of this is a surprise to you. Back in December 2004, it took the second viewing of Phantom of the Opera for me to fall for who else but ze Butler. It was a seduction scene when the masked genius led the young ingenue Christine to his lair. Well let’s just say she wasn’t the only one to come under his spell, ehm. A couple of years ago, watching Mr. Thornton in BBC’s North & South got me swooning over Richard Armitage. It’s a tough role to match as I haven’t been that mesmerized by anything else he’s done since (hopefully his role in The Hobbit would mean he gets more movie roles!)

Another time I recall was in Sense & Sensibility, the moment Col. Brandon was struck by Marianne’s beauty (and her singing) and the way he’d secretly steal glances from her and read to her with such affection, I will forever be a fan of Alan Rickman because of that role. Oh, and I can’t possibly leave out the moment I saw Dalton emerged as Rochester in 1983 Jane Eyre. He fell off his horse and I fell head over heels in love 🙂 I had already fancied him as Bond, but it’s his portrayal as Rochester that did me in. There were other less-intense-but-still-memorable crushes such Gabriel Byrne in Little Women, Karl Urban in The Lord of the Rings, Christian Bale in The New World, Lee Pace in The Fall, Eric Bana in Troy, and Tom Hiddleston in Thor, to name a few.

As far as movie crushes go, seems that I always fall for either a Brit or Aussie. Even if I had no idea where the guy is from, or how obscure he was or how small a part he has in an big ensemble-cast movie, I’d end up being attracted to someone outside of the US. It’s almost a mathematical certainty (well I said almost because I did fall for the California-born Peck instead of he equally-dashing Brit Cary Grant). I don’t know if it’s because my first ever crush was my British ESL teacher, but I think the Brits/Aussie actors just have a more charming personality to go with their looks, not just in movies, but also in interviews/talk show appearances. Now, before you hurl anything at me, I’m not saying American actors aren’t attractive, in fact, some are too perfect-looking that it actually becomes a turn-off for me. Bradley Cooper, Matthew McCougnahey, Chris Pine and the suddenly buff ‘it boy’ Ryan Gosling, seem to fit into that category.

A Taste for the Obscures

Henry Cavill and Gerry Butler were unknown when I first noticed them, and a lot of my crushes are not exactly household names yet. As an actor becomes too famous though, sometimes my fascination would wear off. I kind of feel that way about Michael Fassbender now, though obviously it’s not a fault of his that he’s getting recognized for his work. Overexposure can be such a killjoy, that’s why superstars like Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Leo DiCaprio don’t do anything for me.

Anyway, I don’t know where I’m going with this. I guess Gregory Peck just inspired me to just write about other movie crushes in the past. So thanks for allowing me to indulge a bit in between my search for more Peck’s classic movies to watch, ahah.

Now your turn. Please share your own movie crushes… who’s your long-time crush and which one(s) captured your heart recently?