Jodi Foster is one. She seems normal because she aggressively stays out of the public eye. This is interesting given that Howards Huges self-imposed isolation was seen as anything but normal. On the other hand, that seems to have been borne out. Lately I have been reading the blog WWdN: In Exile. This is the blog of Will Wheaton, most well known to people as the character Wesley Crusher on the television program “Star Trek, The Next Generation” and also, like many, I came to wish the same fate on the character Crusher as many Star Wars fans wished in the character JarJar Binx. (Of course “Q” was my favorite character, but I think most people that have studied folklore have a soft spot in their hearts for the Trickster.)
Mr. Wheaton’s blog is interesting as a peek inside an industry and issues that normally only make for tabloid fodder. His writing (and tweets) feel more like hanging out for a beer with him than a writer and reader in many ways. He has done the child star thing, moved past it but seems to have kept the bitterness of being so closer identified with one character at bay. What we get in his blog, and books, is the “what’s next.” Not in the “what ever happen too” sense, but more like watching a career evolve.
I lived in Topanga Canyon, near LA, for about three years. There are a couple of local bars there that when people start getting plowed it is guaranteed you will start hearing stories from people about their failed careers in the industry, the people the screwed them over, the big names they knew, etc. Then they fall back into a beer and meth fueled haze. The sad part is, even if they are homeless and living under a tarp in the remote areas of Topanga canyon, it is totally plausible they once were very involved in the movie/television industry just as they said.
Will Wheaton In Exile is not that story. It’s not a tell all, it’s more like tell you, without drama or burden. An interesting place to start for a person-centered ethnography of the television and movie industry.