When we unveiled our 2008 Power List on Friday, you may have wondered what kind of consideration went into such a list. Today, as a special treat, we give you a glimpse into the process.
The following is just one of the in-depth discussions over the list this past week (this one between your humble weekend editor and Meredith Woerner), in which we uncover the origins of Meredith's Terminator love and also perhaps some of our personal biases in the process. And for everyone who felt that Will Smith didn't deserve his placement? Meredith's got your back.
Meredith: I think [Christian] Bale is more powerful than Will Smith as of the end of 2008. Next year? Who knows.
Graeme: I completely disagree; Bale can't get something greenlit on his name alone yet, and Smith still can (sadly).
Meredith: If this was 2007, I'd agree. I think that after Hancock and I Am Legend, they switched roles.
Graeme: I haven't seen Bale get any pet projects greenlit, but Hancock and I Am Legend are both getting sequels despite disappointing box office...
Meredith:: But I think people are going to be giving Big Willy a break for a while as Dark Knight made the real numbers this year and Terminator is already going to double anything Will did. No one cares about them, but people care about Bale. People are slowly backing away from Will.
Graeme: Terminator is not going to double everything Smith did. He's had massive successes in the past, and Terminator is going to be successful to the extent of something like Iron Man, not a Dark Knight. I think people care about Nolan and Batman, not Bale. Nerds like us care about Bale, because of Batman. That's all.
Meredith: i think that Terminator will double anything Will Smith made this year and I'm willing to put money on it.
Graeme: Yeah, but Smith had a shitty year, and that's not what you originally said. I'll put money on Terminator making less than Transformers, if you want.
Meredith: Nuh-uh. That's what I said. At this moment right now, Bale is bigger than Smith, but all Smith has to do is make another Men In Black and he's back on top.
At this minute, right now, Bale is bigger.
Graeme: He's not, though! Dark Knight the movie is bigger, sure. But Bale isn't as an actor.
Meredith: Seriously, I know what you're saying, and agree. Smith is one movie away from being back on top. But right now, Bale is more powerful.
Graeme: Bale hasn't had a smash outside of Batman, though.
Meredith: Right now.
Graeme: You can't say that just because DK was massive that he's suddenly on top.
Meredith: Riiiiight now. And yes, yes I can. That movies success will forever be tied to him no matter what you think (along with others). Plus Terminator is around the corner. He's on top. Will is sitting next to him, but with no respect.
Graeme: Anyway, DK was so big because of Ledger and Nolan, not Bale.
Meredith: Oh man, you're just saying anything now.
Graeme: You're in love with Christian, and it's clouding your judgement, young Woerner.
Meredith: Ha ha ha
Graeme: Bale wasn't the one everyone was talking about in DK, Ledger was. Plus, Bale wasn't even that GOOD in DK.
Meredith: I know, I'm just saying that right now, in my opinion, Hancock and Legend moved Will down a peg, and and DK and Terminator moved Bale up one. So maybe neck and neck?
Graeme: Maybe, but overall, I think Smith is still more powerful.
Meredith: I think that this time next year, Smith could be back easily. All it would take is one good movie, which isn't hard for him.
Graeme: Smith can get shit done because of his record; Bale can't, because he's only had the one massive movie, and even then, he wasn't really the lead.
Meredith: Right, but now, in my mind, they're practically even. With Bale a little higher.
Graeme: Because you love him. In real terms, Smith is more powerful.
Meredith: Right now, I don't think anyone wants to take a meeting with Smith. They need to let the stink wash off his last two movies. Hopefully, this 7 thing will help.
Graeme: Are you serious? Dude, anyone will take a meeting with him - He's still the most bankable star around. Even WITH Hancock and I Am Legend.
Meredith: No, I think right now people wouldn't want to put money in him at this exact moment. But in a month? Sure. Maybe Hasbro would want to meet with Smith, but I think people that are working on the next big thing want to work with Bale.
Graeme: Did Will kill your dog?
Meredith: No, he killed my fantasy of having an interesting superhero movie from Peter Berg.
Graeme: So it is personal.
Meredith: It's hard because, if this list was going up in August, it would definitely be Bale because of the amazing job he's going to do in Terminator. But it's not, and I don't think the Will Smith deserves the powerful title as he made terrible decisions in scifi this year. So maybe it's a little personal.
Graeme: Why do you think Bale is going to do an amazing job? Trailer or blind hope? The movie could suck, you know.
Meredith: I have a lot of faith in this movie because I think it's a new look on the Terminator that was thought out. The look, the talent McG brought in it's all setting up for a good movie. The only thing I'm worried about is the ending.
Graeme: Also, Smith is a producer, so surely that makes him more powerful than Bale alone? (Yes, I will keep arguing this.)
Meredith: Oh, WHATEVER TO THAT. I'm a producer of my apartment. And a producer to my cat. See, I can use the word producer too.
Graeme: Yeah, but he's a producer of movies. That get made.
Meredith: Yeah, Hitch definitely needed to be made. Same with ATL and those few episodes of the Fresh Prince he produced. But yes, I will give you that over Bale, though I'm not sure if that's a good thing. I honestly think Bale is someone that people have invested in over the years. And now they are finally getting the payback they want. We'll have to see how his gangster movie with Depp does to really tell but I think people are ready to cash in on Bale and move away from Smith.
Graeme: WHO?!? Apart from you, with your personal Bale shrine.
Meredith: Speaking of that shrine, I need more nag champa for it, ya jerk.
Graeme: I think that, if Terminator isn't massively massive, Bale's star will fade very fast. He's not a natural blockbuster star, he's more indie/character actor, I think. And if McG is in... well, McG mode, then Terminator may stiiiiink.
Meredith: But I think McG is actually trying. Honestly, you say Bale isn't as good as Smith right now just because he's sitting on top of the Dark Knight mountain. I say, so what? That Dark Knight mountain at present is more interesting than Smith at the moment. Therefor I'm more interested in what Bale will do and would happily invest in him over Smith (in my world where I'm a producer).
Graeme: I say he's not as POWERFUL. There's a difference, it's not about talent or "good". Smith still has the draw and the clout and the history. Plus, producer power.
Meredith: I guess I just prefer talent.
Graeme: He can get movies greenlit based on his name alone. Bale can't.
Meredith: I think that right now Bale can, honestly.
Graeme: I would seriously, seriously, doubt that.
Meredith: He just needs to see if that interests him. Right now he's too concerned with being the best actor in the world.
Graeme: Oh my God. Did you really just say that?
Meredith: Ha ha ha
Graeme: Next week: "Christian Bale is so dreamy and talented, by Meredith Woerner, AKA The Future Mrs. Bale."
Meredith: Well, when was the last time that Smith got offered a super meaty kick ass role?
Graeme: Seven Pounds?
Meredith: Excuse me what?
Graeme: The Pursuit of Happyness? Ali?
Meredith: Excuse me what?
Graeme: Oh, come on. Now you're just being an ass.
Meredith: Ali was 7 years ago.
Graeme: Pursuit of Happyness was two. Seven Pounds is not even out yet, is it?
Meredith: POH was so awful
Graeme: He was Oscar nommed for it, wasn't he? He was decent, despite the sappiness.
Meredith: It was just like TDTESS in my eyes. "And now we'll place the little kid over the grave of his father and have him cry. Because this is a sad moment, people."
Graeme: For comparison, what's your definition of Bale getting a meaty role?
Meredith: Batman, John Connor, a role next to Johnny Depp.
Graeme: Wait, so it's not about a role that requires acting chops, just a high profile one?
Meredith: Well, both really. No I think a meaty role is something that sticks with you after you view it, for a very long time.
Graeme: Because, seriously, John Connor?!?
Meredith: Actually playing John Connor in a realistic end of the world future takes chops, especially when they rip off his skin.
Graeme: Also, he fucking sleepwalked through Dark Knight!
Meredith: LIAR. What about that moment when he was sitting on the couch and crying, that was deep.
Graeme: You're saying this about Terminator sight unseen - YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE YET! He could be terrible as John Connor!
Meredith: But he won't be.
Graeme: Your argument is "He's great because he'll be great." Using that logic, Will Smith is awesome because of this film he'll star in that he's not even seen the script for yet. But he WILL BE! (I don't even like Will Smith that much, how did I end up in this role?)
Meredith: No, he really won me over in The Machinist, American Psycho, roles which Smith could never dream to pull off. Roles that have been building his power surge over hollywood canned laughter.
Graeme: American Psycho is how old, Ms. "Ali was seven years ago"?
Meredith: Bale is a crazy person when it comes to acting. The guy gives his all. It's never weird to see him break down, I loved him in 3:10 to Yuma as well. As cheesy as that movie was, he was great in it. I'm never put off to see Bale cry, I guess, but Smith is too cheesebally no matter how realistic it is. It's always like, "Ugh, move forward and get to the punchline already. You're making me uncomfortable."
Graeme: So, it's not about who's more powerful, you're just arguing on personal taste.
Meredith: No, I'm answering your question about how do you know he will be good as JC. Because the man can pull it of because he can make a world of evil robots come to life and believable.
Graeme: But that's not a real answer. My point was, you can't say "He's great in this" when you haven't seen it, and replying that he will be because he always is and I love him and and and doesn't really prove anything.
Meredith: No, you're trying to tell me Bale won't be a great John Connor which I think is silly to say he won't. You're arguing just to argue. Plus I told you why I thought he was more powerful earlier.
Graeme: No, I'm saying, you don't know one way or another.
Meredith: But I do know, G. I do.
Graeme: Oh, I give up. Dreaminess wins over logic. Which is almost comforting.
Meredith: No, you're trying to argue logic to optimism, and I'm not going to give up my hope for Terminator.
Graeme: You're like a child waiting for Christmas!
Meredith: Terminator is my baby blanket. You guys all have your comics and books. I had big silver robots as a kid. That was my door in.
Graeme: That explains your inflatable Arnold doll.
Meredith: Seriously, I lurved Terminator and I was really scared when I saw McG was on Salvation. But after the panel at Comic-Con, it was clear that they weren't just trying to make a good movie. They were passionate about not fucking it up. Literally they said that a million times. This gritty future is incredibly exciting and I for one am staying optimistic, heck I don't even mind that it's not in a blue tint, like all the past Terminator futures. They're trying to add something of value to the franchise not just, hey let's see what a lady terminator looks like. Anyway, this was a good argument but we can't post it on the site.
Graeme: Why not?
Meredith: Because clearly WS is more powerful than Bale.
Graeme: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I WIN!
Meredith: I concede.
Graeme: And that's how I'm totally going to end the post.
Meredith: Damn it, you made me spit vitamin water all over.
Graeme: No, wait, that's a better last line.