Man on Fire: Jurgen Vollmer
Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 11, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Any actors good at picking great scripts?

Every actor makes his share of bad movies, but are there any who are especially good at picking above-average scripts? — Tommy Barber
That you tell ’em! you hear in the background is Tom Hanks, reminiscing about his wilderness years in The ‘Burbs. You’re right, it’s the rare actor — in concert with advisers, agents, astrologers — who doesn’t occasionally stumble. But quality of script is just one consideration. What about taking a part to pay the bills? Or trading off mediocrity for a pile of dough that confers bargaining power in future negotiations? What about the artistic itch to s-t-r-e-t-c-h? Then again, what about Dakota Fanning? I can’t defend the below-averageness of The Cat in the Hat, but Team Fanning choices have been Man on Fire smart ones. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at the wee age of 11, her wilderness years are behind her.

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