HOLLYWOOD — Half the men in our country want to have sex with Paris Hilton and the other half blame her for everything that's wrong with society. How can this be a good thing?
After years of J. Lo dresses and butt-crack jeans, our "evolved" society has yielded an age when crotch shots, nipple slips and sexy Maxim covers are all the rage. It only makes sense, then, to wonder if a pop-culture climate demanding come-hither qualities is causing the wrong types of people to come hither.
"Yeah, I've gotten a few letters from prison," Elisha Cuthbert recently admitted, acknowledging that sometimes the "tease" qualities of her scantily clad photo spreads for magazines from FHM to GQ can attract the wrong kind of attention. "I haven't personally had [anyone] cross the line yet, in my experience. But I know that Madonna's dealt with it, and recently Sandra Bullock did ... it is scary."
Now comes "Captivity," a controversy-courting horror flick starring Cuthbert and "Spider-Man 2" actor Daniel Gillies, and featuring enough torture traps to make "Saw" look like "High School Musical." The flick will never be mistaken for a public-service announcement, but its depiction of an imperiled model/actress does raise a startlingly thought-provoking question: Could this really happen?
"You walk into a 7-Eleven and you show me a magazine where a woman isn't taking her clothes off on the cover — this society wants that," reasoned Gillies, who is newly wedded to actress and FHM cover girl Rachael Leigh Cook. When asked if she gets approached by creepy people, he shrugged, "All the time."
The film features Cuthbert as a rich, beautiful, spoiled woman who hops from nightclub to nightclub with her phone in one hand and a miniature dog in the other. "There's a bit of Paris, having met her, and because I know her," admitted Cuthbert, who appeared in "House of Wax" alongside Hilton. "There's also a little bit of Gisele [Bündchen], just thinking about what it would be like to be a huge model and be admired by all of these people ... celebrity or no celebrity, I think a lot of females deal with the fear of being abducted."
After the faceless abductor drugs and abducts Cuthbert's character behind a Hollywood hot spot, she quite literally finds her own words coming back to haunt her. Employing countless hours of accumulated footage, the abductor cuts together her interviews — using her thoughts on fear, sin and torture to narrate her custom-made demise.
"The allure of where [director] Roland [Joffé] wanted to take it with her character was that there was a vacuous-ness," Gillies said, comparing Cuthbert's character to our perception of celebs like Paris, Nicole Richie and Jessica Simpson. "There isn't a creature of any substance to her, and it's not until that has been completely disabled that there's a real purpose [to her]."
Whether the beauties who've become famous for being famous would be able to fend for themselves is anyone's guess — naturally, any sane person would hope that we'll never find out. But in a world where dangerous people reside, it isn't a stretch to assume that a few of them also have Maxim on their coffee table and TMZ.com in their Web-browser favorites. So are these women offering themselves up as bait, in a time when the locations of their favorite nightclubs and local Starbucks are just a few mouse clicks away?
"I have said some things," Cuthbert admitted, when asked if she's revealed too many personal details about her life in interviews. "But I don't think about it too much. Most of the press is there for the work and the projects, and not so much about knowing me personally — delving into my deep dark secrets."
"Some of the things I've seen a lot of my female-actress friends who are relatively famous receive — I've seen some hideous things," Gillies sighed. "Like some really, really bad things ... like, the FBI should be contacted immediately."
Decades before sex tapes and crotch shots were around to feed that dangerous combination of intense desire and/or hatred, something truly terrible did indeed happen. "You know that Pam Dawber show, 'My Sister Sam'?" Gillies asked. He recalled the show's Rebecca Schaeffer, a 22-year-old actress/model who was shot to death in 1989 by a paranoid schizophrenic "fan" masquerading as a flower delivery man. "That was just so weird, and we're not that safe. I mean, with the Internet and everything? We are so accessible — you could find someone if you want to."
After the ensuing public outrage, several anti-stalking laws were passed in Schaeffer's name — but that was years before the Internet, reality television and the unquenchable media thirst for celebrity. The incident also raises some interesting questions about "Captivity" — a film that could be seen as a how-to lesson in the kidnapping of a modern celebrity.
"We've got a crazy roller-coaster ride of a horror film, and if people are into those kinds of films, I think they're going to get a kick out of it," Cuthbert said, defending the premise of the film.
Of her own resemblance to the imperiled character, she reasoned, "I did backtrack [and realize] I've come out and said some things that weren't appropriate [about my personal life]. But I think I have a good take on it now: I say the things that I feel appropriate saying and that feel comfortable to me ... anyone could have [stalkers] though, but maybe more so us because we are on the cover of the magazines."
"I hate going down that alpha-male path, but unfortunately you're almost bound to it," Gillies said of how he reacts to watching men approach his wife with more than fan adoration in their eyes. "You start to be like, 'All right, this is getting unusual now.'
"If you are sick enough and smart enough, you can find anyone you want — I would say it's absolutely possible," the actor admitted. "In fact, you're freaking me out."
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