The new dynasty actors: Skip Patrick Schwarzenegger, watch Elvis’s granddaughter

Scott Eastwood is no Clint, but Maya Hawke might be as good as Ethan and Uma

Patrick Schwarzenegger fails to out-act trees

Patrick Schwarzenegger fails to out-act trees

 

If you’ve seen everything else in the cinema, watched everything on telly and read every book then you may as well see Pacific Rim: Uprising and Midnight Sun. It’s better than sitting alone in the dark (just).

The former is a bad science-fiction sequel. The latter is a bad dying-teen romance. The films share something almost interesting in common: both feature actors with conspicuously famous surnames.

In Pacific Rim, one Scott Eastwood fails miserably in a charisma stand-off with the likeable John Boyega. In Midnight Sun, Patrick Schwarzenegger fails to out-act trees, luggage and stationary cars.

You probably won’t need to be told that Patrick is the son of Austrian hillside Arnold Schwarzenegger and that Scott is the son of Northern Irish boxing magnate Barney Eastwood. Ha ha! That’s just my hilarious joke. Scott is, of course, the fourth of Clint’s seven children.

Neither parent had the widest range, but they both did something that nobody else could do. Clint has a flinty intensity that suits both westerns and the more manly schools of comedy. Arnold did a brilliant job of making a joke of his own innate woodenness.

With the best will in the world, nobody would argue the same for either son. Scott has been perfectly solid in The Longest Ride, Suicide Squad and Fast & Furious 8, but he’s one of those blandsome stars whose name you can never quite remember. His tagline should be: “Oh yeah. Of course. It’s Scott Eastwood. Clint’s son.”

Scott Eastwood: Perfectly solid
Scott Eastwood: Perfectly solid

Patrick can’t boast even that level of achievement. Trapped inside a cuboid head that reflect both Schwarzenegger and Kennedy origins (his mother is Maria Shriver, niece of the late President), he struggles for believable line readings of tricky phrases such as “yes”, “nice to meet you” and “would you like more gravy?”

So that’s how Hollywood works? The only modestly gifted children of superstars get the opportunities denied to less well connected actors. Well, duh! Nobody every claimed this was a fair business.

It should, however, be acknowledged that the acting community has an impressive record of passing talent through the generations. Yes, there is the odd Rumer Willis or Willow Smith, but the Internet Movie Database groans with famous offspring who have deserved their success. It’s something to do with the genes. It’s something to do with the atmosphere in which they were raised.

And, yes, the connections have helped.

Of the upcoming crop, we need to watch out for Maya Hawke, daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, who was very good in a recent BBC version of Little Women and is set to become a regular character in the upcoming new series of Stranger Things.

Every year there is an actor who’s in everything you need to see and, in 2018, it’s the charismatic, crafty Riley Keough. Watch her in American Honey, Mad Max: Fury Road, It Comes at Night and Logan Lucky. At the upcoming Cannes film festival, we expect to see her in David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake and (Lord protect her) Lars Von Trier’s The House that Jack Built.

That’s an extraordinary record for somebody who’s yet to hit 29. Then again, her grandfather had, by that age, enjoyed many years as the most famous man in the world.

It is probably unfair to note that Keough is a better actor than her mother, her grandmother and her grandfather. Lisa-Marie Presley barely acted. Priscilla Presley stumbled into it by accident. Elvis was more famous for doing something else.

Nonetheless, Keough shows that younger generations of thesps really can surpass their predecessors’ achievements. There’s nobody cooler than Keough.

Maya Hawke: One to watch
Maya Hawke: One to watch
Riley Keough: No one cooler
Riley Keough: No one cooler

Whole acting dynasties have emerged in Hollywood. Lloyd Bridges, a method-trained victim of the blacklists, didn’t get the parts he deserved, but one son, Beau, became a reliable character actor and another, Jeff, became Hollywood royalty.

Four generations of Hustons have deserved their success. Walter won an Oscar for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; though best known as a director, John was excellent in such films as Chinatown; the achievements of Danny and Angelica require no further exploration; after a slow start, Jack Huston went on to excel in Boardwalk Empire.

Henry, Peter, Jane and Bridget Fonda all earned their place on the screen.

Angelina Jolie was famous before most of us realised she was Jon Voight’s daughter.

The point here (if there is one) is that, should bad reviews come their way, Scott and Patrick can’t reasonably complain there is a bias against the children of movie stars. They tend to do well with critics. They get awards.

Michael Douglas has two Oscars (albeit one for producing), whereas his father Kirk has none. So I’m afraid you can’t argue that anybody is picking on you because daddy is a star.

Have something to fall back on.