Some people have fantastic luck. Some obviously do not but the ones that do, god, they are often very very lucky. Like one of my mates, he is, without being gay about it, good-looking and successful. He flew through college, he did this with an amazing girlfriend by his side (the really hot but nice blond type, always faithful and loyal) and he can drive (I still cannot), he has a degree (he was always getting stoned with me but I was the one held back, I was the one repeating over and over. The knowledge just stuck in his head without much effort at all) and is working on a Masters right now. I'm still in UCD, trying to make that five year Arts degree amount to something. However, I'm not bitter, really I'm not, my own downfall is my own fault, no one else but I'm using this to illustrate a point between Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer.
OK, so you have just thought, 'Craig who?', and I wouldn't blame you. Well for those who watch lame TV, he is Keith Scott of 'One Tree Hill', he was the nice brother fighting against the bastard that was his evil brother - Dan Scott. But anyway, the point is, looking at his career one can actually pin-point when something went wrong when it should have gone right. You can literally put your finger on it. He should have been huge, he should have had massive success and it was down to 'A River Runs Through It' (1992).
Robert Redford decided to direct this fairly cheesy film of family ties and good ol' classic America, the dream, the male bonding, etc. Essentially soft rubbish for girls, moms and bored day-time housewives. Brad Pitt was coming into his own, he was becoming then more and more like the man that is now - powerful, very rich, and an a-list celebrity. Thelma and Louise was all it took. Stunning looks do go far it seems. But he could act too, as he would prove over and over. In 'A River...' Craig Sheffer (Norman) plays brother to Brad's character (Paul), the older, more rebellious brother. Pitt swans through the role. Easy. He just has to look cool, be cool, basically - Brad. Craig's role was quieter and less adventurous and more like his true self also. Pitt was always going to get the Paul role however. At the time people were calling him the new Robert Redford and he was brought in and groomed in that manner - classic cut, mildly reminiscent of James Dean or a young Brando.
And then, for Sheffer, after all the motion picture huff and puff, that was it. Be it talent or Pitt could have sold his soul but he went one direction and Sheffer certainly went the other way; the rather poorly constructed path full of obstacles and lowly paid jobs, a continual nightmare of b-movie after b-movie. It's a pity someone didn't try to redirect him. Two years previously he had taken a pivotal role in what was to be a HUGE hit called 'Nightbreed'. It was Clive Barker's follow-up to his extremely successful 'Hellraiser'. But it flopped. It crashed and burned straight away. Even today's DVD laughs at its chances. It will never be 'Shawshank Redemption' (which became a massive DVD seller after its initial cinema release was a failure). This was not a sign that dear Craig paid attention to, why would he. He hit pay-dirt alongside Brad but now.... Well, now times were very hard. Look at this for a clean cut point between lucky and unlucky; Pitt's films - 1993 True Romance, 1994 Legends of the Fall and Kalifornia, 1995 Seven, 1996 Sleepers, 1999 Being John Malkovich and Snatch, right now he has, the probably absolutely amazing, Babel on the way and Ocean's thirteen (his own bloody franchise, part three). Craig's career goes a little something like this; 1994 Road Killers and Road Flower, 1996 The Grave, 1998 Double Take, 2001 Killer Buzz and then from 2003, he was in 'One Tree Hill'.
So not a very compassionate path in the industry but One Tree Hill was a success. It aligned itself with The O.C. and a few other sporadic and pathetic shows, but it worked. And its series is still going proudly on our TVs but there is another unlucky twist here. As if playing the ugly one alongside Pitt in 'A River...' wasn't bad enough, Sheffer gets a sniff of happiness and what happens? That's right - they kill off his character. Who kills him? You'll never guess. That's right, Dan, his older, better looking, richer, more successful and smarter brother. And those kinds of guys will continually jinx Sheffer's career, probably until he actually does die. Either ways, I'm going to wait and see what comes next.