Over the last few years, many actors have taken to social media to decry political actions, or to support those in charge – far more than it seems have in the past. Especially in this election season, celebrities have pushed for people to vote, volunteer, and make their voices heard. Yet in a recent interview, Kurt Russell has said that actors giving their political opinions can make it difficult for audiences to accept those actors in other roles.
In an interview with Kurt Russell and his partner Goldie Hawn in The New York Times for their new film Christmas Chronicles 2, Russell made his stance clear. “As far as I’m concerned, you should stay away from saying anything so that you can still be seen by the audience in any character.” Russell also compared himself to a court jester, saying that after giving political opinions, actors can lose that ability to lose themselves in roles.
While Kurt Russell also says he thinks actors should keep themselves well-informed, he says that entertainers should know the risk of being politically active. In the interview both Russell and Goldie Hawn also mention that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of movie stars could be irrevocably changing, considering the potential closing of theater chains, and the rampant availability of content in other places.
What Kurt Russell says might be true, even if many celebrities see an opportunity to use their platform for beliefs they believe in. Actors like Jane Fonda have suffered damage to their careers due to political actions in the past, while in recent years, actors such as James Woods and Jon Voight have lost interest from many because of their support for President Trump.
Yet there are still many celebrities that agree with Kurt Russell’s assessment when it comes to mixing politics and entertainment. In an interview with The Guardian from 2017, The Crown actress Gillian Anderson said, “I generally have a tendency to steer away from outright political discussion in interviews, because I am an actor, and there’s so much that I don’t understand, and I don’t for a second feel like I have a right to that platform.”
As for other actors besides Kurt Russell, Kevin Hart, Mark Wahlberg, and Josh Duhamel have all said that they try to stay out of discussing politics. Musicians such as Reba McEntire, Billy Idol, and Dolly Parton have all said they try to avoid getting into politics, with Parton mentioning how much damage getting into politics did for the career of The Chicks – formerly known as The Dixie Chicks.
The 69-year-old Kurt Russell has certainly had a long career in the industry to prove that his way works, even if many might not agree with his ideas. Russell has been working since the 1960s, becoming an early favorite of the Disney studio with films like The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and The Barefoot Executive. The actor has been especially prolific over the last few decades with action roles in films such as Escape from New York, The Thing, and Tombstone.
In recent years, Kurt Russell has remained in the limelight of some pretty major productions. Russell has worked with Quentin Tarantino in 2007’s Death Proof, 2015’s The Hateful Eight and 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He’s even become a part of the Fast and Furious franchise, as well as a planet-sized villain in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. His most recent film, The Christmas Chronicles 2, comes to Netflix on November 25, 2020.
With a varied and impressive career, maybe Kurt Russell isn’t wrong about simply staying a court jester. If it’s worked for him, maybe there’s something to the idea.