Saturday, August 23, 2014

Karl Urban, Pranks and Alienation


Moderator closing out Karl Urban panel at Wizard World (paraphrasing here): "What we learned today, Chicago, is that you don't want to get in a prank war with Karl Urban."

In some cases, you may not even be on the same movie or set. Sounds like a high chance of becoming collateral damage.


Pranks cited included:
  • During filiming of Lord of the Rings, Viggo Mortensen calling Urban's agent 2 am local time, impersonating Urban. Mortensen, as Urban, stated something to the effect that he couldn't get on the plane for an appointent [or shoot]. He had lost his lucky red socks, and he NEEDED them. Mortensen then just hung up. The agent called Urban soon at 3 am local time, waking him up from sound sleep, trying to coax Urban to get on the plane, they would by new lucky red socks. At 3 am. . .and Urban never mentioned whether he really has lucky red socks or anything like that.

  • In a prank on someone else, I think his driver, urban smeared peanut butter all over their windshield wiper. Later, while driving in the rain, the driver used the wipers. It smeared the peanut butter all over the windshield so bad that the driver had to pull to the side of the road clean up the mess.

  • There was something about someone smearing honey, peanut butter and whatever else sticky they had available on a traffic cone. They put the cone in someone's parking space. Suffice to say, they came to park their car. The mark made ready to get out of the car to move the cone. Instead somone else had come along. Thinking to be helpful, they moved the cone then end up with a mess on their hands.

  • On the set of Almost Human, (I miss that show more than I expected I would), Michael Ealy became some frustrating collateral damage. During a prank targeted at someone else, on the way out to a date, dressed quite nice, Ealy got smeared with a lot of some liquid that wasn't water. Hopefully that didn't ruin the date!
I've listed only a few of the pranks. All of them were hilarious, I'll admit, even if some edged closer toward dangerous. The panel just about dissolved down to retellings of pranks and the audience cracking up.

Funny and entertaining as it all sounded and probably was (or not), hearing about all these pranks got me thinking. These actors and other famous people that go on tour probably feel a bit of alienation and estrangement. They have to spend a lot of time away from home and other pretty drastic uprootings on a regular basis.

Ive heard about pranks from enough showbiz types in interviews to know that Karl Urban doesn't have a unique relationship with pranks. Also look at all the partying that these people do. Consider the stories of alcoholism and drug abuse that sounds more prevalent in this community compared to the general population.

People in the general population often engage in these activities and fall into addiction. I don't doubt that. It really seems much more frequent among these people engaged in such unrooted lifestyles/careers.

Many in the general population feel jealous of famous people. People living such mobile lifestyles and seeing the world receive much envy. These people in the general very likely have their own issues of alienation to deal with.

Their everyday alienation has its own characteristics: instead of going all over the place by someone else's dictates all the time, the general population more often than not doesn't have ulutimate free choice where to live. In many ways, they end up selling their time to prepare for jobs and careers then working those jobs and careers for someone else.

Even if they're contractors or self employed, they still sell themselves, just with more responsibilities to file taxes. Not many people become independently wealthy. Even if they do, they reached that point and maintain it by exploiting others and putting them into a state of alienation.

Retirement has its own batch of alienation issues.

Underneath that jealousy and envy for people like Karl Urban in showbiz, the general population very likely doesn't realize the alienation felt with that lifestyle. I know I hadn't until recently. TV episodes and movies about showbiz types experiencing alienation always bored and pissed me off. How come these types of people couldn't appreciate their success and jetsetting.


It took an NPR news story awhile ago to get me to understand that these people CAN feel alienated. Forget the story and when I heard it.

Hearing about the pranks and some other stories from Karl Urban yesterday, though, got me thinking. All this pranking, partying, addiction, etc. really could present itself as a form of alienation. . .and Urban didn't sound like anyone who has lost control and immersed himself into these activities in a way that gets in the way of living.

All of it just seems like a way to stay sane. They feel the pressure to perform, perform well and, if anything, to LOOK attractive. Just look at the tabloids and the reviews of performances all over the Internet.

Further throw on top that these people don't have a steady home and, even if they do, they may not spend a lot of time there. Their work associates change all the time when they finish one project and move onto the next.

I won't say these people in showbiz necessarily live better or worse lives and jobs than the rest of us. I just want to raise consciousness, among my readers and myself, that famous people that we often envy are PEOPLE, too.

Very likely, they experience alienation, too, and don't live a paridisiacal life that sometimes imagine them living. Sometimes their paradise just ends up a symptom of not having a grasp on their lives, like we all feel to various degrees.

[Signal sucked at the conference center that hosted Wizard World. The huge crowds overwhelmed the wireless data feeds. No one knew if we actually had a WiFi connection or what the sign in key for it was. It had become pointless to even try using Internet on my mobile until most everyone had left at around 8 or so in the evening. I plan to add my usual frills later.]

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