Free Advice

Goop Dee Doo: Why Gwyneth Paltrow Needs to Return to Acting

Published on July 12, 2017

Dear Gwyneth,

What a pleasant surprise to see you pop up in Spider-Man: Homecoming. You looked good. Clearly that all that planking at the gym with Tracy Anderson has paid off. I’ve always enjoyed your witty rapport with Robert Downey Jr. and hope to see you two together in future endeavors.

Now can we cut the bullshit, please? I have a request.

Get your amazingly toned butt back to acting.

In happier times, Paltrow’s character met a grisly death in Contagion.

While you’ve been busy building a mega-successful lifestyle brand, your talents have languished in Pepper Potts quickie paydays and crap like Mortdecai. There’s no reason why you can’t take the occasional quality role. Something that requires an accent and possibly an uncomfortable corset. Please exhaustively work the fall festival circuit. Put on fuzzy Ugg boots and pose in a Main Street lounge with Jenny Slate and James Franco at Sundance. The fancy moms in Monterey can have a new friend in the Big Little Lies follow-up. Yes, I’m asking you: please oh please consciously recouple with prestige.

I think I can detect the source of the problem. You peaked too soon. A Hollywood scion, you seemed to breeze from high-profile role to high-profile role without burning a single calorie. Most aspiring actors have an embarrassing commercial or a schlocky horror flick hidden on their resumes. Your godfather, Steven Spielberg, let you play Wendy in Hook. Your early-career horror movie was Seven. By age 26, you had a Best Actress Oscar all sewn up.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

This should have been the most special night of your career. Instead, the backlash reached a crescendo before you even finished that speech. We live in a culture where people enjoy throwing stones at celebrities perched high in castles. You weren’t just a celebrity — you were an Upper East Side-raised bottle-blonde actress who repeatedly slept with Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck. You may or may not have snatched the Shakespeare in Love script from then-BFF Winona Ryder. Couple that privileged persona with the image of you sobbing in a prom dress on that Oscar stage. Too much. Surely you have mixed feelings about your time as an It Girl; just be grateful social media didn’t exist back then. Twitter trolls would have annihilated you.

You had nowhere to go but down. Enter the ironically titled A View from the Top. (In case you blocked it, you played a dingbat flight attendant.) Was Possession the one where you got depressed and dated Aaron Eckhart or Jake Gyllenhaal? Infamous wasn’t even the better mid-2000s Truman Capote biopic. I realize you wed Chris Martin and had two kids and became besties with Beyonce during this time. Mazels. But if you’re going to be selective, don’t commit to Country Strong.

A View From the Top — and the bottom of the box office.

I initially scoffed at your Goop venture. I’m a spoiled white skinny bitch too and trust me, the last thing I needed was an actress telling me how to make macrobiotic smoothies and moisturize my crow’s feet with $2,000 fish oil. Nice job on proving me wrong — not to mention millions of other skeptics. You’ve proven to be the ultimate aspirational lifestyle guru. I mean, you’re even going to save journalism! Now peers such as Blake Lively, Shay Mitchell, Lauren Conrad and Jessica Alba are all banking on the wellness niche.

Wanna know the difference between you and all those names? You can seriously act, girlfriend. That Oscar wasn’t a fluke. I’ve seen The Talented Mr. Ripley, Hard Eight and The Royal Tenenbaums. You’ve got the goods (and the gabby, Howard Stern Show-approved personality to promote an indie). After I got laid off at age 41, a friend took me to a bar and told me, “You’re not done yet.” Now I’m paying the advice forward. You’re only 44. Look what Cate Blanchett is doing at age 48.  The range of roles available to you is not limited to playing Elle Fanning’s mom. This is the time to cement your legacy as a preeminent talent — not some pretty girl who owes her career to famous parents and Harvey Weinstein.

She’s got brains, beauty and Batali. Whatever.

You can have your Goop and eat it too.

Haters gonna hate. The name “Gwyneth Paltrow” is still synonymous with swan-like perfection. But I’m convinced that same name above a movie title during awards season would garner massive intrigue. Remember what led you to global success and a Mario Batali friendship in the first place. Go back to your roots. And I’m not just talking about the brown hair.

Though I’d be fine with that too.



Also published on Medium.