Hollywood’s Nepo babies: What do prominent families say about industry equity?
Typically, in Hollywood, success is passed down through the generations.
“Nepo Kids” is trending on social media as fans of “Euphoria’s” Maude Apatow and “The Gilded Age’s” Louisa Jacobson learn that their favorite new stars hail from famous families.
Social media users have taken to calling rising stars “nepo babies,” an abbreviation for “nepotism,” or the practice of giving preferential treatment to friends and relatives when hiring.
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In an interview with Porter published in September, Apatow, then 24 years old, said that the “Nepo Baby” label made her feel “sad” at first since it suggested that others were evaluating her on criteria other than her talent.
Since I am well aware of my good fortune, I do my best to keep it from bothering me.
“There have been a lot of people in my position who have succeeded over the years, therefore it’s incumbent upon me to keep up the good work,” she said. “I don’t have much to show for myself right now, but I hope to be genuinely proud of the work I’ve accomplished on my own someday, and that day is not yet.”
Beyond that, she mentioned her dad, Judd Apatow, reads everything she writes, but only after she’s done a certain amount of work. I’m going to get really far into it before I ask for his opinion. He’s quite helpful, but he annoys me because he’s continually improving upon my ideas. In addition, my mother.”
Having access to the wisdom of an Emmy-winning director is a perk of being born and raised in the Hollywood industry. Oscar winner Meryl Streep’s daughter, Abbi Jacobson, made her big-screen acting debut in an HBO series alongside Denée Benton (a Tony Award nominee), Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife”), and Cynthia Nixon (an established TV personality) (“Sex and the City”).
However, specialists in the field claim that this is quite normal.
“It’s very normal in the industry,” says Danielle Demchick, a casting director and the vice president of lobbying for the Casting Society of America. “I can’t even place it on the radar as a trend.”
Does fame run in one’s family? Another option is a pipeline of potential customers.
Lindsay Fulton, a genealogist and the vice president of research at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, suggests that intrinsic ability may play a role in some performers’ success.
Fulton, who was highlighted on the PBS spinoff “Finding Your Roots: The Seedlings,” argues that there is abundant anecdotal evidence suggesting that a person typically possesses a gift that their parents or ancestors have.
According to Fulton, “at risk” is the possibility of famous kids getting in touch with the right teachers and submitting their auditions to the right people.
“In my opinion, many up-and-coming performers in this field possess impressive skills that have allowed them to secure high-paying gigs.” They can choose to be somewhere at the right time if that’s more to their liking. “That’s a big part of it, too,” claims Demchick.
In 2012, when Apatow’s daughter Maude, then 14 years old, starred alongside her in her father’s film “This is 40,” Leslie Mann, an actor herself, told USA TODAY, “This time, Maude learned how to act.” “It brought me great pleasure to see her do it.” Incredibly, it did. “I broke down and cried.”
Gwyneth Paltrow, the daughter of “St. Elsewhere” producer Bruce Paltrow and Emmy-winning actress Blythe Danner, admitted that children of famous parents had “access other people don’t have” on an episode of Hailey Bieber’s “Who’s in My Bathroom” YouTube series. But she did say that there is pressure that comes with being from a famous family.
“Once you get your foot in the door,” Paltrow said, “you almost have to work twice as hard and be twice as amazing.” As the author puts it, “people are eager to drag you down and tell you, “You don’t belong there,” or “You are only there because your father or mother put you there.”
However, Leah Daniels-Butler, a casting director who has worked on films including “2 Fast, 2 Furious” (2003) and “The Butler” (2013), argues that talent does not necessarily pass from one generation to the next.
According to Daniels-Butler, “It’s not unheard of for outstanding actors to continue in the family business.”
Then there are those who… Take note: we are all talented in some way. Some people need to put in a little more work.
Totally hidden from “nepo baby’s” sight
there is a long and illustrious list of “nepo babies” who may trace their fame back to great parents.
Goldie Hawn, who was nominated for an Oscar, is the mother of Kate Hudson, who is also an actress. Triple-generational examples are Tippi Hedren (Golden Globe winner for “The Birds”), her daughter Melanie Griffith (Golden Globe winner for “Working Girl”), Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey), and Stella Banderas (actress and model) (whose father is Antonio Banderas).
Singer Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet (her husband is actor Jason Momoa) have a kid named Zo. The parents of “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” were TV actors Roxie Roker and Sy Kravitz.
Zo Kravitz defended her “nepo baby” status in an interview with GQ in November, saying, “It’s extremely usual for people to be in the family business.” The very first surnames were recorded there.
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Drew Barrymore, who made her acting debut in “E.T.,” comes from a family tree filled with famous actors and actresses on her father’s side. Drew’s father, John Drew Barrymore, was an actor in the 1950s and 1960s. His father, actor John Barrymore, worked in the industry around the turn of the century.
John David Washington, who was just a toddler when his famous father Denzel Washington made his film debut, made his name in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” (1992) and “Devil in a Blue Dress” (1993). (1995).
Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” starred John David Washington, who had previously performed in Lee’s films with his father, Denzel Washington.
“BlacKkKlansman,” a film directed by Spike Lee and starring young Washington, was released in 2018. Washington has said that “people changed” when they found out he was Denzel Washington’s son and that he was having trouble accepting his background before his career took off.
“In an effort to fit in, I lied and said he worked in construction or was incarcerated.” “Even if I had talent, I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously,” Washington told Mr. Porter in an August 2020 interview.
Nicolas Cage’s grandpa, composer Carmine Coppola, won an Academy Award for his work on “The Godfather” film scores. Cage’s aunt, Talia Shire, acted in “The Coppola, won an Academy Award for his work on “The Godfather” film scores. Cage’s aunt, Talia Shire, acted in “The Godfather,” and his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola, won an Oscar for directing the film.
Nicolas Cage is from the illustrious filmmaking family of the Coppolas. The famous person decided to change his last name in order to set himself apart professionally.
Even though he was born Nicolas Kim Coppola, he went by Cage after being inspired by both the Marvel superhero Luke Cage and the singer John Cage. According to the April cover story of GQ, Cage explained that he made the change to show “that I had something, and it wasn’t solely because I was born into the Coppola family.” Cage also added that he felt he had a unique way of perceiving and feeling things.
Additionally, Nicolas Cage joined “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” out of fear.
In spite of the fact that her brother Lee Daniels is a successful Hollywood producer, Daniels-Butler insists she has never been accused of favoritism. She attributes her “110%” effort to the fact that she comes from a family of professionals.
Daniels-Butler, who helped her brother cast “Precious” and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” has declared that she will work harder than anybody else to achieve her goals. I feel the pressure to prove myself, especially when working with my sibling.
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On the HBO show “Idol,” Johnny Depp’s daughter with singer Vanessa Paradis, Lily-Rose Depp, will make her first broadcast appearance. Speaking to Elle in November, she said that people have “preconceived assumptions” about how the children of celebrities gain employment.
Depp was quoted as saying, “I can guarantee unambiguously that nothing other than being excellent in character will get you the job.” The people who cast you in stuff don’t matter as much to the internet as your family does.
Twitter users who keep tabs on the celebrity world often point to Tracee Ellis Ross’s successful acting career as evidence that the “greatest nepo babies” are those who succeed professionally while keeping the identity of their famous relatives under wraps.
The daughters of Yolanda Hadid (a former model) and real estate magnate Mohamed Hadid (a “nepo baby”), Bella and Gigi Hadid, have joined the Twitter conversation.
Bella Hadid says she had a nose operation and opens up about her insecurities, saying, “I was the ugly sister.”
Demchick claims that it is “case by case” whether a celebrity will embrace or reject their Hollywood connections.
Because of the success of her famous twin sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in Hollywood, Elizabeth Olsen, a famous Marvel hero, says she had a difficult time understanding the concept of nepotism as a child.
“Even as a young child of 10, I must have had some innate understanding of what nepotism constituted.” Speaking to Glamour in April 2021, Olsen said, “I don’t know if I knew the name, but there is some link with not earning something that troubled me.” She said, “I don’t know how much I processed, but I did think, “When I become an actor, I’ll be Elizabeth Chase (her middle name).”
To attend the 2021 Emmy Awards, Elizabeth Olsen wore a dress created by her sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
“Elizabeth Olsen did not suddenly find herself in a casting room; she had familial connections,” says Demchick. I think we can all agree, however, that she is a skilled performer who needs to be employed.
Daniels-Butler claims that hiring family and friends does happen, but if it does, “those people should be qualified.”
In what ways does Hollywood try to make things fair for everyone?
Actors must send in tapes of their auditions and make a good impression on casting directors, producers, directors, and studio officials in order to be considered for a job.
Demchick says that mixing up the people who make decisions in the industry could help get rid of the idea that Hollywood is run by friends and family.
According to Daniels-Butler, she has “more experience.” While she has noticed more people of colour in narrative and filmmaking roles since she first started working in the 1990s, she recognises that there is still room for improvement.
A recent UCLA study, “Hollywood Diversity Report 2021: Pandemic in Progress,” found that minorities and women remain underrepresented in the film industry at roughly a 2:1 ratio compared to their population shares.
“I know that everyone’s eyes are drawn to the person in the camera,” she said.
Yet, if we want to see real change in the business world, we need to see a rise in the percentage of directors who represent a wide range of identities and experiences. “After that, she goes on. “We could use more writers, costumers, and glam artists… “There is no missing piece; the ecosystem is complete.”