Megan Fox is back

It all started with Karyn Kusama🇧🇷 In April 2016, in the face of critical acclaim for the (really brilliant) thriller The invitationthe director was the subject of a long profile of the Buzzfeed🇧🇷 The text sought to re-examine her trajectory in Hollywood, recognizing that Kusama had her vision stifled and stolen by studios averse to granting freedom and power to a female author in the mid-2000s. Buried there in the middle of the article, shortly after the story of like the aeon flux (2005) of the director was shredded by the executives, there was an attempt to reinvent the consensus about another of her films: Hell Girl🇧🇷

Of all the reevaluations of Kusama’s work that the cinephile community has undertaken since then, perhaps that of Hell Girl be the most significant. Pudera: the film starring megan fox as a cheerleader possessed by a demon who makes her eat (literally) the boys at her school has always been culturally fascinating. At the time, the film was seen as little more than a box-office flop that sealed Fox’s rejection as a major public draw – a significant judgment call for her at this point in her career.

2009 was a turning point for Megan Fox, and not in a good way. After rising to fame as the Mikaela Banes of Transformerstwo years earlier, she starred in that year’s sequel The Revenge of the Fallen🇧🇷 During the promotion of the film, Fox made his now infamous joke about the director Michael Bay to be 🇧🇷a dictator on film sets, but vulnerable, fragile and embarrassed in real life🇧🇷🇧🇷 Days later, an alleged letter from the backstage team of Transformers was released to the press, accusing the star of behaving rudely on set.

Bay himself denied the contents of the letter and assured the press that he and Fox were still on good terms, even declaring that he looked forward to working with her again. Empty words: when the third film of Transformers hit theaters in 2011, Fox’s character was unceremoniously sidelined, and the model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley took on the role of the protagonist’s romantic interest Shia LaBeouf🇧🇷 the failure of Hell Girl undoubtedly played a role in that exchange, perhaps as much as the filmmaker’s bruised ego.

It’s curious (not to say infuriating) to think today how much the virulent reaction to this particular film, at this particular time, has to do with the image of Fox sold by Hollywood. As Kusama herself acknowledged on her Buzzfeed profile, her sin with Hell Girl was not paying attention to what the studio was doing to him. The most famous poster for the feature shows Fox in heels and a miniskirt, legs crossed on a chair, with the phrase 🇧🇷hell yes!” scribbled on the blackboard behind her. The trailers use and abuse the only and quick scene in which the actress appears “naked” (without showing anything too much), when she is bathing in a lake.

In 2018, in its own reassessment of Hell Girla Vox He asked: “Why did so many critics at the time seem to think this film written and directed by women was intended to be male-oriented soft-porn?🇧🇷 The answer is only in the promotional material, because the film itself couldn’t be further from that. In the smart text of diablo cody🇧🇷 Hell Girl is a story about the complicated dynamics of female friendship – the Needy of Amanda Seyfried is so protagonist, if not most protagonist, than Fox’s Jennifer -, and a bitter assessment of the consequences of misogynistic abuse on the minds and behavior of young women.

As Vox put it, the story shows how Jennifer’s body 🇧🇷is sacrificed on the altar of professional advancement by a group of powerful men”, and how they 🇧🇷make tormenting her a recreational activity to bond with each other🇧🇷 It all sounds eerily familiar, of course, in a post-movement world of reporting sexual abuse and harassment across multiple industries (including Hollywood). It would be naive to call Hell Girl prescient, however. He just used a horror and fantasy story the way they’ve been used for centuries, to expose an intimate truth to the artist who created them.

This specific truth women always knew, but the world refused to listen – and this refusal always made victims, at all levels, of all gravity. Megan Fox’s career (and the other women involved in the film!), her status as one of the biggest movie stars of her generation, was yet another such casualty.

As I said above, it all started in 2016. At the same time that the reassessment of Hell Girl happened, Fox returned to the spotlight with the two films of Ninja Turtles and, most notably, his appearances as Reagan on the series new girl🇧🇷 The character, initially used as a “filler” for the star’s maternity leave Zooey Deschanelended up falling into the graces of fans and staying for a long time after that.

In 15 episodes in all, Fox played a smart, confident, and – like the actress herself – bisexual businesswoman. Coming into Season 5, Reagan was hailed by critics as a breath of fresh air for the sitcom, and it also marked the first time Fox was discussed in terms of talent, rather than looks, in the press. new girl recognized the status of sex symbol of the actress, yes, especially with Reagan’s roommates vying for her attention, but it also allowed her to transcend and make fun of that status with the intelligence that was always latent in the actress. persona from Fox.

It’s that same intelligence, that self-awareness, that shines through in the choices the actress has made since then. In the good indie drama The Invisible Woman (available on Looke) or in the vampire thriller The Passengers (gives Netflix), her shorter roles always modulate some level of self-parody, of using her image and her Hollywood background for the benefit of the narrative. In bigger opportunities, like the fun trash action rogue – wild (at the Prime Video) and the great survival thriller Until death (us movie theaters), she has built resilient characters that radically oppose the fragility inherent in the position of pinup in which it was placed in other ages.

This seems to be the tone of the projects that are on the horizon, too. In the first category, she must appear in comedy Good Morningwritten and directed by the groom Machine Gun Kelly🇧🇷 and in the thriller Johnny & Clyde, as (attention!) a crime boss and nightclub owner who protects her business with the help of a demonic entity she commands. On Monday, Fox will return to action blockbusters with The Expendables 4bolstering the franchise’s action-star-studded roster, which already includes Jason Statham🇧🇷 Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren🇧🇷

The Megan Fox who returned to our screens is not so different from the Megan Fox who consciously created a “sassy” and “outrageous” character for the media in the 2000s, as a way to take a little power and control over their own story as reporters. they described it in grossly physical terms. The energy behind her performances and her choices as a public figure is the same, part self-aware pop performance and part genuine effort to be taken seriously as an artist. It is a fascinating mix, which results in a unique cultural presence.

A little over a decade ago, however, we denied her the right to be that presence, because it didn’t fit in our head that she could be. As shown today by the rehabilitated Hell Girl, we had a very crooked notion of who were the heroes and who were the villains in the story. Well, forgive our stupidity, Megan… and welcome back.

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