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Toughen up, Melissa, and heed a tale of mice that roared


Wendy Squires

Mouseketeers can teach an Aussie actress a thing or two about humility.

Melissa George.

Melissa George.

THERE are two words I'd like to offer emotionally distressed actress Melissa George: ''mouse'' and ''ears''. Yes, as in rodent and lugs.

But first, the source of her pain and anguish. George told Fairfax Media recently that the stress of having her breakthrough role on TV's Home and Away mentioned in interviews has become too much and, for her own mental health, she doubts she will return home to Australia.

''I'm not going to be a good Aussie any more. I'm going to speak out. I've just had it. It's disgusting,'' she protested. ''I don't need credibility from my country any more. I'd rather be having a croissant and a little espresso in Paris or walking my French bulldog in New York.''

OK, about now you must be wondering what in the hissy fit hell this dummy spit has to do with vermin ears. I will get to that. I just need to clarify a few things first, like the fact that George and I are so similar it is borderline spooky.

1. George played a patient who is romantically obsessed with her therapist, Gabriel Byrne, on the lauded series In Treatment. I am so romantically obsessed with actor Gabriel Byrne that friends have suggested I need therapy.

2. Not only do I also own a French bulldog I adore, I'd also rather be walking him in Paris or New York City most days too.

3. George played Angel Brooks, opposite Dieter Brummer, in Home and Away from 1993 to 1996. I have a friend who calls me Angel and once waved at Brummer cleaning windows during an acting sabbatical.

So George and I are almost twins. Which is why I feel entitled to advise her to take a walk in someone else's ears before she does any more complaining.

You see, another famous person other than Gabriel Byrne likely to take a restraining order out on me is Ryan Gosling, surely the greatest actor of his generation (argue with me, I dare you). Like Justin Timberlake, he has also done well for himself career-wise, as have a couple of singers you might have heard of, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

What do these megastars have in common? Yes, vermin lugs. All four were Mouseketeers from 1993 to 1995, while George was playing Angel on Home and Away. And how do I know this? Because there hasn't been an interview I have seen or read or heard with any of them that doesn't mention this fact - complete with the flashing of a cheesy cast shot that makes the Young Talent Time team look like Metallica groupies.

Unlike George, none of these A-grade celebrities has asked for a ''no mention of the mouse'' clause in interview riders. They know better than to think the public won't be interested in their prepubescent selves and the show that launched them. In other words, they are prepared to be good sports.

But perhaps the best role model of self-depreciation for George to look up to is actor Matt Damon.

In possibly my favourite comedy movie of all time, Team America: World Police, the savage satire from those sick geniuses that created South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Damon is portrayed by a puppet.

You see, Stone and Parker believe all actors are so precious and pathetic (this, even before George's recent tanty) that they refuse to pay them a cent for their efforts, hence the Thunderbirds-style puppet likenesses.

In the movie, Damon's puppet is joined by other famous dummies, including Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, to form a do-gooders organisation, the Film Actors Guild, or FAG for short. But it is Damon who really cops it, his puppet so thick it is incapable of anything but saying its name, Maaaaaaaht Daaaaamon. (This needs to be pronounced like Arnold Schwarzenegger with a lobotomy - not a hard call.)

The Damon puppet has now become part of history - his and the cinematic world's. I have read that George Clooney never lets up on his friend, only ever pronouncing Damon's name in the moronic manner of the puppet.

And I read an interview with his one time co-star Emily Blunt, where she described filming a dramatic scene outdoors that focused on Damon breaking down emotionally. At the scene's climax, from the watching crowd, a lone voice was heard yelling, ''Maaaaaaaht Daaaaamon'', at which the entire crew lost it, falling into hysterical heaps, herself included.

And how did Damon react? Graciously, that's how. You see, he knows he is lucky to play make-believe for a living, and that with the yin of praise comes the yang of ridicule. For an actor, he has managed to keep his head on his shoulders and not inside a lower orifice, where it appears George's is residing.

It appears that while the actress and I may be uncannily close in so many ways, I was blessed with a sense of humour while she got looks and talent. And I wouldn't trade a croissant crumb of mine for hers if it meant I couldn't laugh at my own expense.

Wendy Squires is a journalist, editor and author. Twitter: @Wendy_Squires

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  • There will come a day when she will seek any sort of publicity

    Date and time
    November 19, 2012, 7:49AM
    • And that day will come a lot sooner than she thinks

      Date and time
      November 19, 2012, 8:14AM
    • Absolutely. I can't wait for the day she is begging to do a guest appearance on Home&Away!

      Date and time
      November 19, 2012, 8:36AM
    • I thought that day was already here...

      Date and time
      November 19, 2012, 9:14AM
    • Perhaps so, but as an egalitarian act, I would welcome Melissa G being offered a chance to apologise for her ill informed rant at the hand that fed her for so long. Many of us act like tools at some time in our lives.

      Date and time
      November 19, 2012, 9:41AM
    • That day is pretty much here. She's edging 40, or career death, for any but the most successful of actresses. She's not a bad actress, but she's not good enough to survive what Hollywood is about to do to her career.

      Date and time
      November 19, 2012, 9:58AM
    • I can also report an astounding correlation with Melissa George. The number of promos for 'Hunted' matches exactly the number of times I've never watched one! How spooky is that?

      Date and time
      November 19, 2012, 10:35AM
    • All these comments regarding Melissa George are interesting. It is like a game of snakes and ladders, up and down riding the roller coaster of public opinion. I hear she tells a great yarn and is always good for a laugh so watch out Wendy. I am not sure what all the fuss is about. As for Ryan Gosling there are two words that relegate him to the back lots of so-so ‘The Notebook’, snap …

      Date and time
      November 19, 2012, 2:09PM
    • Stay where you are, Melissa. I never thought you had talent anyway! Now I know you have delusions about your self-importance too!

      Date and time
      November 19, 2012, 2:13PM
  • ''I'm not going to be a good Aussie any more."
    Good, don't come back!

    Date and time
    November 19, 2012, 8:02AM

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