I’ve been taught in school to note how Hollywood tends to favor the male gaze (a heterosexual man lusting over a woman’s physical attributes) over the female gaze in films, and I’m starting to realize how it may work the other way around in telenovelas. Now, I haven’t done extensive research on this yet, but it’ll be interesting to observe the differences and similarities between the two. I’ll save my findings for a future post, though. For now, I want to focus on the fascination with Latin heartthrob, William Levy. He’s considered the Brad Pitt of Mexico, but I’m starting to get the feeling that with his participation in an American reality TV show, his appeal will expand way beyond the Hispanic population.
I foresee Levy breaking into the Hollywood limelight, oh, say, by 2013, putting him at the mercy of the female-fan gaze. What a surprise to find out that Mr. Levy will be strutting his hips on the ABC hit reality show “Dancing With the Stars” this season. He joins Jameel White (Urkel), Gavin Degraw, and Sherri Shepherd, among others on the dance floor in just one week.
To briefly summarize his career, Levy started out in the reality show “Protagonistas de Novelas 2” (a reality show in which the winners secure a role on a telenovela from Telemundo). Even though he lost, he went on to appear in the telenovela “Olvidarte Jamas,” where fans swooned over his numerous shirtless scenes. It wasn’t long before he got the lead in the Univision telenovela “Cuidado Con El Angel,” and since then his career has become full blown in the Latin television market. He’s gone on to star in more novelas and was featured on the hit suspense series “Mujeres Asesinas” in both the first and third installments. Most recently, he has appeared in Jennifer Lopez’ music video “I’m Into You.” Yes, I know, that guy.
And of course, with Levy’s re-introduction into the American arena with “Dancing With the Stars,” I’m guessing it won’t be long before Hollywood wants a piece of him too. And it’s certainly a smart move on Levy’s part to dive into American reality television first. Instead of trying his dance moves in the Mexican “Bailando Con Las Estrellas” competition show, he’s immersing himself in the American version, broadening his fan base. This will also help the ABC show widen its own demographic, since much of the Hispanic online community has already gone wild over his participation and will be tuning into the show March 19th.
So, what’s the big deal with Levy besides his good looks?
He’s actually a really good actor. He’s developed a lot since his first big acting gig.
You can fast forward to 2 minutes.
Notice that by the first 20 seconds of the first video (a scene from “Olvidarte Jamas”) you can tell how his performance is a bit, for lack of a better word, weak. He’s almost talking without any emotion and delivering the lines quite flat. In the second video (3 years later, his latest leading role), he has slowed down his speech, rendering a much more articulated delivery, and has conveyed his lines with more realness (that is, the kind of realness you can get from telenovelas). Even JLO has said that she was grateful that Levy was much more than just the typical model on a music video shoot. He took direction well and truly got into his role, showing off his acting chops.
Only time will tell if he can transfer his stardom into the Hollywood realm. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the next few months. But my money is on Deadline.com & the Hollywood Reporter knowing his name by the end of the year. What do you think?
I’ll leave you with a hint of what I think is to come…eventually: A LOT more of this.