Why Are Hollywood’s Leading Men Shrinking?

Michael Sam AP/Embassy Pictures

What happened to the strapping Hollywood hunks who used to dominate the industry — the big and tall men who played even bigger characters. You’d see them riding into the night on a gritty horse, having just taken on and defeated an entire army. These guys today are just not the same.

Today’s shorter leading men are more likely to burst into tears than flames, but not before embarking on a shopping adventure, according to Quentin Letts from the Daily Mail.

Let us compare the actors of yesterday to our “Modern Midgets,” he wrote in a recent editorial.

Goodbye John Wayne (6ft 4in.), Clint Eastwood (6ft 4in.), and Charlton Heston (6ft 3in.) Your image and your screen presence has been replaced by the likes of Tom Cruise (5ft 7in.) and Sean Penn (5ft 8in.).

The Hollywood of old has been replaced. Enter Dustin Hoffman (5ft 5in.) in the 1960s, and slowly but surely, the leading man has been taken down a notch, both in size and persona.

Quentin points out that during the 87th Oscars ceremony, actor Eddie Redmayne, one of today’s taller stars at 5ft 10in., took home the award for Best Actor for his portrayal as Stephen Hawking in Theory of Everything.

But as he stood to accept his accolade, he was towered over by actress Cate Blanchett and others who jumped to their feet to applaud.

Short Eddie was almost lost in the crowd, but then again, he played an intellectual in the film, captivating the academy but not necessarily moviegoers.

Tom Cruise was reportedly forced to stand on a platform in order to be visible to the camera while filming the upcoming Mission Impossible in London recently.

Not to say that you must be tall to be sexy; quite the contrary. But does the lack of verticality suggest Hollywood’s desire to emasculate men?

The audiences’ hunger for more realism in film has popularized raw method acting, and intertwined masculinity and emotion, but in turn, done away with the larger than life characters we all once rooted for…Now we just have Sean Penn.

The little guy had his turn. Bring back Clint!