Saturday, March 22, 2008

An Open Letter To Kristoffer Polaha...

Dear Kris:

Okay, so I know you come from money, and your family owns an island or something, making you a real life prince in addition to America's Prince-- which is quite possibly the role for which you're most famous-- and therefore you don't really need to work to provide for your wife and your boys. So because of that, I would only assume that when you choose to, it would be on something in which you really believe. You've guest starred on some questionable (and some quality) episodics in the past, and surely you took the lead in North Shore for a chance to temporarily relocate to the beautiful island of Hawaii. When you co-produced the slightly raunchy (at least compared to the chaste Christian image you've always given off) Plight of Clownana, I assumed it was as a favor to good family friend Jensen Ackles... but then I caught the slightly older short film Homebase, and I stepped back for a moment to reassess your choices in material. Everything thus far has had a very specific air around it, and at first I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, but then I realized you're just truly living the dream. You are someone who wants to act and will take on roles in which you can have fun. It's not all a numbers game; it's not something you do just to get by and pay the bills. You are still in it for the creativity and the love (and sure, even often the goofiness) that comes with losing yourself in another character, and you have showed a much quirkier sense of humor than for which your genuinely good guy smile gives you credit. Needless to say, when I saw your name in the trades for the new Judy Greer comedy, Miss/Guided, I signed up immediately.

Miss/Guided premiered this week with a sneak preview on Tuesday and then settled into its normal time slot on Thursdays at 8 (Friends' old stomping grounds!), and despite the mixed reviews (I usually don't follow things like that or ratings patterns anyway because I just don't care; if I like something, I like something, and I don't care if no one else agrees with me), it seems like you have finally found your niche. You get to play the romantic lead without the schmaltz; you get to play the nice guy without the cliché; you get to do a family-friendly show with a message without the corny. And might I remind you that you get to do it all opposite comedy genius Judy Greer. For a Fox-produced program, Miss/Guided is certainly ABC tame, offering glimpses at eccentric behavior but always doing so in a way that's compliant with the censors and the more "old-school" audiences. Maybe none of that even crossed your mind, though; maybe you just read the script, laughed, liked it, wanted to be involved, and left worrying about the logistics issues to those in charge. You certainly seem to be a true artist in that way, anyway, and that's exactly the kind of talent with which I like to surround myself.

Maybe you're just such a good guy, you want to be a part new, young filmmakers' projects in order to help get them noticed... and that reason alone is enough for me to want to see you succeed. You truly are a rarity in Hollywood, as you manage to stay grounded, focused, and always with your family as your first priority. Years ago I tapped you as male lead in my small screen version of Stars in their Eyes for those reasons, in fact, because they perfectly embodied what I was trying to portray, so if the critics turn or the network mismatch proves to be too much, and not even a Jericho-esque Number 2 pencil campaign convinces TPTB that you deserve a fair shot, please consider giving this new, young filmmaker a chance and coming on board-- though now I am toying with the idea of making it for an even smaller screen (as a web series). I only hope that would not be too small for you.

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