Listen, Shut Up: The Unflappable Coolness of Allison Janney
Listen, shut up — there’s cool, and then there’s cool. It’s a word of a thousand definitions, all equally true until you see one person truly embody it. Then all else falls away.
And, Allison Janney?
Allison Janney is fucking cool.
In the way talent is cool; in the way hard work is cool; in the way that a woman in her late 50’s can stride straight through Hollywood’s glass barriers, swatting away preconceptions as if they were buzzing flies. Because what’s a fly to a gaze that would deflect Superman’s?
Fuck Superman. We don’t need a saviour from another planet — we bred one right here at home. Bad movie; good movie — Allison Janney saves; she elevates. At 1.83m tall she towers. Men can be intimidated by tall women. Good. They should be intimidated by Allison Janney. Fire and ice are bad enough on their own. Mixed together they should cancel out. They don’t. Ask George RR Martin. Worlds quake when fire and ice dance. Look Allison Janney in the eyes and you’ll know. Visions of hopes fulfilled; the Earth sundered; darkest depths illuminated and great spans covered in single strides. Allison Janney’s eyes contain that and more.
Put Allison Janney in your movie and watch her walk the line. She’s who you need her to be. She gives you what you wrote, what you asked, and then she gives you more. Brings something you didn’t see. Says something you didn’t know. Sparks of uncanny electricity fly and her costars are set aflame. They sprout wings. Words become magic, a fiery filigree illuminating and decorating the banal and transforming it into the extraordinary. But Allison Janney? The cause, the nexus, the conflagration? She performs for the movie; for others; not for herself. Never for herself. Allison Janney knows: Acting is reacting. Acting is empathy, insight, some people know.
Allison Janney is fucking cool. She knows.
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