The Katherine Heigl Apology Tour

by Melissa Silverstein on October 5, 2010

in Actresses,Women Producers

The last movie Katherine Heigl made flopped.  She starred with Ashton Kutcher in Killers and it didn’t do enough business.  Wonder what has befallen Kutcher since that flop (if you care you and everyone else can follow him on twitter) but Heigl who is getting ready to release a new film this Friday – Life as We Know It – has had to repair her reputation.  Again.

So cue the apology tour.

Funny thing is even in the NY Times article trying to resuscitate her image as the girl next door for this year, she seems to continue to show her true colors.

She has this reputation as a diva because she tells the truth and has opinions and in Hollywood that is a no no.  For all I know she could be a diva which is used in this instance as a placeholder for bitch, but the thing I admire about her is that she still talks.

She started this whole diva thing by calling Knocked Up sexist, (which it was) and then she may have gone a bit too far when she slammed Shonda Rhimes.  Clearly, Shonda wasn’t too pleased, and Heigl had to pay. (That whole situation should have been handled better because it effected the whole show.)

To me, it seems that Heigl’s sins against Hollywood are kind of minor compared to let’s say throwing a phone (Russell Crowe); raping a minor (Roman Polanski); and beating up your girlfriend (Mel Gibson.)  Has any of these guys gone on an apology tour?

She also wonders (as I do) what she has done that is so bad:

I’ve been told I’m too forthright with opinions,” Ms. Heigl said with a sigh. “Well do they want a fierce woman or milquetoast? Should I be me, or should I pretend to be something I think people want? Pretending seems pretty ridiculous to me.” She paused to think for a moment before adding, “I didn’t think that what I was was so bad that I needed to hide it.

Hopefully she will have the last laugh.  She produced Life as We Know It and kept the costs down to $38 million (Killers cost $75 million).  She makes $15 million per picture.  (Up next she plays a bounty hunter in an adaptation of Janet Evanovich’s novel One for the Money.)  She lives in Utah and she is a serious business woman.    And people who work with her said her reputation is bunk.

But they like her in this box and I suspect that she cold go on a thousand apology tours and the next time she opens her mouth they will still call her a diva.

The Unwilling Diva (NY Times)


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

JihadPunk77 October 5, 2010 at 10:34 AM

in other words, she’s the Katharine Hepburn of today’s times, no? People hated her back in the days but now she’s hailed as a legend.

Knocked Up was very sexist, I agree…

katie October 5, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Well I don’t consider the Shonda Rhimes incident with Greys a blemish. I’ve come to dislike the Shonda’s of the world who achieve success and then IMO do nothing to further the cause of women in this business.

I have a ton of respect for Heigl. Hepburn and Davis in their days were groundbreakers(remember the famous Bette Davis contract issue where she was finally released from her Warner contract) and while Heigl may not be a groundbreaker in the same sense, to take ownership and control of her career at such a young age, producing, shows her intelligence and that she realizes where the decisions really get made. She’s following in the same vein as Sandra Bullock has almost. (Jennifer Aniston take a hint). Kudos for her. I’ll continue following her career with interest.

Chris October 5, 2010 at 11:22 AM

I know I’m like the only one, but I actually liked Killers. I thought she and Ashton had great chemistry and I laughed a lot. I mean it kind of fell apart toward the end but I found it to be enjoyable.

More to the point though, I’m really tired of actors like Christian Bale and Russell Crowe having a gallery of apologists for every outrageous thing they do, but when actresses do so much as have a strong opinion about something they get TRASHED and labeled a bitch.

Deb October 5, 2010 at 11:32 AM

I give Heigl credit for trying to keep herself whole, because it would be very easy to play the role a beautiful actress is ascribed.

I saw some excerpts from an Oprah show where Cybill Shepard and Teri Hatcher discussed the difference between their image and who they are, both in a physical and psychological sense. Teri showed herself getting up in the morning without make-up and then cut to the her publicity photos. Her comment was “who is the real me”?

Similarly, Cybill Shepard talked about feeling bad about how she actually looked when passed the glammed up photos of herself on magazine covers. It was so refreshing to hear someone tell the truth. If all the women (actresses, writers, directors, producers) in entertainment started expressing themselves more honestly, instead of presenting the image that is expected of us, we could change things pretty quickly.

katie October 5, 2010 at 11:45 AM


That says a mouthful. There is a whole problem today with the images women and young women are convinced they need to be like. Most of these photos of celebs we are “supposed” to want to be like are tweaked and photoshopped to death. I’d love to see this blog tackle why it is that the media constantly portrays unrealistic feminine images to aspire to. I believe it’s deliberate in an attempt to keep the health, fitness, and cosmetic industries moving.

I respect Cybil Shephard’s view here. Reminds me of Meryl’s last big mag story in Vanity Fair when she insisted in one of the pics to be photographed with no makeup and insisted the photo not be airbrushed. She still looked beautiful.

I hope Heigl has a successful career and stays true to herself.

Linn D. October 5, 2010 at 12:51 PM

@Chris. I’m with you. I liked “Killers.” I thought they had great chemistry, and thought it was very fun watching two strong people deal with one of them being a retired spy. Sure, it was a little weird to have a rom-com where people were dying, but it was a dark comedy. Accept that world and have fun…
The more I learn about Katherine, the more I like her. Then again, I’ve been told exactly the same thing, “shut up and look pretty.” And I never listen. :) Kudos to her. The more she talks, the more I’ll watch her movies…

bibi October 5, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Well, if she thought Knocked Up was sexist (which it was), then why did she go and make The Ugly Truth? Surely not because it’s the Stage Door of today. Or maybe Jezebel. Katherine Hepburn or Bette Davis; are you serious?

I don’t know much about Heigel, but for such an outspoken person her choice of roles seems a bit strange. but my view is probably prejudiced, because I don’t like her acting. On that note, I don’t understand why Ashton Kutcher keeps getting work.

de Pizan October 5, 2010 at 4:00 PM

I have to agree with bibi. While I like what Heigl said about Knocked Up, she and her mother did produce The Ugly Truth and she starred in it, and that film is just as bad as Knocked Up. Not only that, but she has continued to work in those same kind of rom coms. I know actors can get typecast into certain kinds of films, but supposedly she is one of the highest paid actresses at the moment–with that kind of clout, surely she could try branching out into films or roles that aren’t so sexist or stereotypical.
Even so, I hate the idea of an apology tour, and agree that men who’ve been accused of far worse behavior on (and off) set have never had to go through one.

Deb October 5, 2010 at 5:04 PM

I agree. I find it hard to believe our highest paid actresses don’t have the clout to demand good/great scripts with decent roles for women. If the studios or financiers are edgy, because the script isn’t a cookie cutter Hollywood RomCom, do the film for a little less money and minimize the risk

T October 6, 2010 at 12:48 AM

I preferred Knocked Up to the horrid 27 Dresses- blech and did not subject myself to the Ugly Truth.

Shonda Rhimes may or may not have responded well to Heigl, but her show promotes female lead characters that are worth watching.

Berdawn October 6, 2010 at 11:22 AM

I have to agree with the other comments about her movie choices: for someone who claims to have a problem with such cliched material, she seems to perform a lot of it.

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