INDIANA, PA – When you cross the street in this borough’s downtown core, located in a county that shares its name, you remember how wonderful life is. Two of the crosswalk signals guide pedestrians with the voice of the late Jimmy Stewart, who was born and raised here in Indiana.
“Please wait to cross Philadelphia Street to South 9th Street. Wait for the signal to march, okay? The folk voice of Rich Little posing as Stewart tells the pedestrians as they pass through the movie star’s eponymous museum.
Stewart is celebrated a lot here. There’s the Jimmy Stewart Museum, located across the street from where his father’s hardware store once stood; Jimmy Stewart Airport with the annual Jimmy Stewart Air Show; and there are annual festivals around two of his iconic films, “Harvey” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
The Indiana Borough doesn’t celebrate all the things Jimmy Stewart because he’s arguably the biggest thing to come out of this western Pennsylvania city; they celebrate him because of everything he has done. Whether it was serving our country during WWII as a squadron leader on combat missions or honing his acting craft during the heyday of Hollywood, he didn’t never lost his sense of place. He may have been the junior senator from Wyoming in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” but he was in Indiana, Pennsylvania, until his Pennsylvania twang.
This rooting is a rare thing today in Hollywood. If you are an actor, people associate you with Hollywood, the Los Angeles neighborhood known as the center of the film industry.
Once upon a time, there was an industry that focused on finding ways to tell great stories and keep viewers entertained. Today, thanks to social media and the constant focus on fame and the influence that comes with it, he has one more role: politics. This emphasis usually creates a rift between those who spend their time and disposable income watching TV shows or going to the movies and the actors who are there.
It is indeed difficult to come from a town or a small or medium-sized town and to feel a connection with what an actor tweets. It is not only the divergence of political views, but also the lack of connection at any level.
INTERIM, FILM and TV scripts tend to find subtle, not-so-subtle ways to take a hit on half of the people who pay to watch them. The National Association of Theater Owners says 2017 and 2019, both before COVID-19 restrictions, were the worst years for buying movie tickets since 1995. Analysts point to streaming as the culprit. But we could also look at the crazy success the Hallmark Channel has had. People love stories that reflect a way of life and roots that interest them. Over the past 10 years, Hallmark has steadily reached its peak as the most-viewed prime-time cable entertainment network.
Trevor Donovan, originally from Mammoth Lakes, Calif. (A small rural town that appears to have been built to be a Hallmark movie set), is also a veteran actor whose Hollywood career took off when he joined the cast of ” 90210. “
Donovan has recently found success filming a blockbuster Hallmark Channel film series over the past few years; he is also in the new independent film “Reagan”, starring Dennis Quaid as the 40th president. Donovan plays Reagan’s longest-serving Secret Service agent John Barletta.
Donovan said in an interview with the Washington Examiner that when he was cast for “Reagan,” he knew the role was going to be part of telling a good story, and that’s what attracted him. “The role I play is… one of his duty officers who is kind of his chief duty officer and his best friend – because Reagan needed someone who could actually ride a horse,” he said. he explained.
Barletta was originally from Somerville, just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up on horseback.
“My character practically enlisted in that position, and because of that they became best friends; every time Reagan went on a horse, John was right there. Every time he and Nancy went on a horse, he was right. there, ”Donovan said.
“In Reagan’s later years, when he started to suffer from dementia, they would lose him on a horseback ride,” he says. “One day my character tells Nancy that she has to tell her husband that they can’t do this anymore. Nancy is in tears and says she can’t do it. So my character has to tell her. ”
The moment becomes both moving and central to the story, and is part of what drove him to make the film.
DONOVAN’S APPROACH to his craft, as well as his social media presence, is a throwback to Hollywood’s heyday in terms of how he manages his work choices and his fame. Check out his Twitter account and you’ll find a rarity of tweets about dogs, food, tacky historical facts, “would you ever want” questions and more dogs. It’s an approach that keeps him connected and engaged with an audience that appreciates both his job and his social media profiles.
He says it’s a choice that has evolved. “When you start out as an actor, you’re pretty much ready to do just about anything,” he says. Then he stops laughing. “Obviously, anything that doesn’t go against any sort of moral construct.”
He says he kept an open mind and was ready for anything. For him, his opportunities at Hallmark have been divine.
Donovan was unaware of the impact of the Hallmark films until he made his first. “I can’t tell you how many people have approached me to tell me what exactly this is what they needed. Especially during this time, it’s that escape that everyone needs, the happy ending. that everyone needs. There’s something pretty cool about being a part of something so positive, especially in these times we’re living in now, “he said.
For Donovan, it’s gratifying to just make fun movies that his parents, nieces and nephews, and just about everyone he knows can watch. The same goes for his social media – there is nothing in his tweets that would make anyone cringe, family or not.
He also doesn’t complain about not having a role.
“My father instilled discipline in me from the day I was born,” he says. “’Never give up whatever you start’ was huge. The competitive nature of this business is undeniable and failure is inevitable. But in the world, you have to accept to fail. This is the hardest part of this job – the failure and rejection. ”
Donovan said our natural tendency is to just lean toward comfort and lean into something a little easier. “But if you can reset your perspective and set your train of thought to see everything as a challenge, it really changes your perspective,” he says.
DONOVAN STAFF call to service works with young people who fight against bullying. He was part of a national effort to teach children how to cope. This is something he says he experienced as a child. “I think it’s important to give back, and that’s my mission,” he says.
On her decision not to join her fellow comedians to engage in politics on social media, her personal choice is to use the platform for less polarizing engagement. “I try to identify and recognize the things that almost everyone can agree with and are happy with – basically, dogs, pets, animals, food, history and life. fight against harassment, ”he said.
It would be hard to find a jury of people who wouldn’t agree that bullying is bad.
“On politics, I’m never going to take a stand on anything. It’s pointless. It’s more interesting to see what inspires people in other aspects of life. others to discuss, ”he said.
Donovan is refreshing, not only in his choice of films, but also in his choice not to hit people over the head with his political views. And yes, he has them. “I have my opinions, but I’m not going to change anyone’s opinion, nor do I think we need to change my mind based on what I’m saying,” he said. “I’m not all omniscient. I’m not smarter or more knowledgeable than anyone else.”
Salena Zito is a national political reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner as well as a weekly columnist for the New York Post.