Read anything about Armie Hammer these days and you get a primer on his classically good looks, his manly interest in guns, and the sex he has with his TV personality/journalist/model/actress wife. But can he be a big deal movie star?
That's what Variety's Rachel Abrams attempted to evaluate in their cover story this week, using an informal metric of blockbuster roles and Internet fame. But while Channing Tatum might have a fantastic Instagram, while Armie Hammer doesn't, that doesn't mean he's missing out on his big break.
Abrams compares Hammer to Tatum and docks points from Hammer's rising star for not being on social media or having had his viral moment yet. But let's go easy on the newbie, who, mind you, is seven years younger than Tatum. Hammer is best known for playing the Winkelvoss twins in The Social Network. His role in J. Edgar, a movie that didn't get great buzz, was supporting, and Mirror Mirror flopped. The Lone Ranger is basically his first big test, and there's a reason that, according to Abrams, "Fizziology found that Depp is driving more of the positive online conversation about 'Lone Ranger' than Hammer is." Depp has made it evident that his (potentially controversial) Tonto is not a sidekick, meaning Hammer isn't really lead. Plus, Depp, who has top billing, isn't a relative newcomer.
And Abrams may be overvaluing the importance of Twitter to movie star potential. In a December story for Entertainment Weekly, Adam Markovitz explained that movie stars wield less power on Twitter than their television counterparts. And while one publicist said studios might want to "cross-promote" if an actor does have a social media presence, she added: "It's very tricky for an A-list dramatic actor to use the space successfully.'' Hammer, despite not having a Twitter account, has been doing his part in this Lone Ranger press cycle to give entertaining interviews to the print media—which Abrams cites as still important—that cast him as sort of a rogue rather than a spoiled rich boy. (Oh, did you not know? Hammer is one of those Hammers, the great grandson of oil baron Armand Hammer.)
In a Playboy interview he made light of the Lone Ranger mask: "Let’s just say I kept one. [chuckles] And that my wife loves it." He talked about his and his wife's sex life (he says he was once a "dominant lover" but now laughs in bed) and reminisced about almost getting kicked out of eighth grade for selling Playboys. His profile in Elle by Jessica Pressler wasn't perhaps as wild as Pressler's take on Tatum—who, mind you, was not as big a star back in March 2011—but she portrays Hammer as an energetic, charming, and a bit reckless actor to skip lunch for a shooting range or a bar. He describes the time he came to blows with a homeless man in Australia who tried to stab him. He describes another time in which a girl tried to stab him during sex. He talks guns and knots, and throws in some profane literary references for good measure: "A guy who is faced with a problem and he has to deal with it, and then there’s the adventure—the hero’s journey, to borrow a term from Joseph Campbell. Like Moby-Dick. Fucking Ishmael!"
Perhaps the talk of his sex life or his fights with homeless guys come off as un-media trained, but in this day and age they are exactly what media trained should be: give good blog posts. And lo—he's off to a good start.
It's still just a start, though. Let's give the man some time. We still have to evaluate The Lone Ranger's fortunes, and he has another classic TV reboot, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., up next. They may not be a success, his rising star may fizzle, he may just not be a movie star, but he's not at peak popularity yet. He can still have a viral moment, and he's on his way there, but let's not write him off because he doesn't have a Twitter account. Even Jennifer Lawrence doesn't have a Twitter account.