Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

A conscience in Hollywood?

Posted by sanityinjection on April 2, 2010

Normally the film industry does not receive much attention here at Sanity Injection, as I tend to believe they receive far too much of it to begin with. But I thought it would be nice to start off the month of April with some positive praise. So our subject today is actor Neal McDonough.

McDonough is one of those actors you have probably seen and would recognize (he has sort of a distinctive face) without necessarily knowing his name. Anyway, he’s appeared in a number of movies and TV shows over the past several years. The reason Mr. McDonough comes to our attention today is his recent sacking from a new ABC TV series just three days into filming. According to Nikki Finke over at, McDonough refused to participate in steamy love scenes with co-star Virginia Madsen. McDonough is happily married and a faithful Catholic, and feels that getting naked on screen with an actress is incompatible with his marriage vows.

Apparently, McDonough has made this reservation clear in past projects he’s worked on, including ABC’s “Desperate Housewives”. So it’s not as if they can claim that he suddenly sprung it on them at the last minute. More likely, the show’s producers didn’t really believe that a Hollywood actor would actually have morals that couldn’t be bought for enough money. Still, if the love scenes are integral to the project, and McDonough won’t do them, it’s right for all parties that they find someone else, and McDonough foregoes the money he would have made to stand on his principles.

The point is not whether any of us agree with McDonough’s beliefs. The point is that he was willing to stand up for those beliefs even when doing so cost him wages and potentially could label him as “difficult” to work with. You can imagine what it must be like to take such a stand in the middle of a Hollywood culture that views nothing as sacred and any values beyond the worship of glamour and special effects as┬ástrictly for the hicks. How many other actors and actresses might there be out there who are similarly uncomfortable with things they are asked to do for roles, but lack the courage to say “No”? Nor is the film industry the only walk of life in which people face such choices – it happens every day. The pressure is always on to conform, to go along with what is expected of you by the culture that surrounds you. It is not easy to defy that culture in favor of an ethos that may not have any outside support at hand. Being true to what you believe is right in the face of pressure is something to be admired no matter where or when it is found.


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