Ana De Armas Explains Why The 'Movie Star' No Longer Exists In Hollywood

Ana De Armas in Blonde
(Image credit: Netflix)

What makes a "movie star"? That's a question that has a number of answers, and it really depends on who you ask. For some, it's simply an actor who becomes a household name. For others, it's a performer whose presence in a project alone inspires audiences to pack into theaters. There is no set definition – but for Ana de Armas (whom some consider to be a movie star herself), it's all about creating a level of on-screen mystique, and, for that reason, she doesn't think that there are any true movie stars in the modern era. 

In the last year, de Armas got what could be called a meta movie star experience playing Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik's NC-17-rated Netflix biopic Blonde, and it was that role in particular that recently got the actor speaking on the subject. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she was asked specifically if she thinks the modern film industry "produces" movie stars, and she explained why she doesn't think that it does:

I feel like the new generations don’t have that concept, because of social media. There is so much information out there and oversharing. The concept of a movie star is someone untouchable you only see onscreen. That mystery is gone. For the most part, we’ve done that to ourselves—nobody’s keeping anything from anyone anymore.

The Buggles famously told us back in 1980 that video killed the radio star; in 2023, Ana de Armas feels that social media has killed the movie star.

This is certainly an understandable perspective. Decades ago, actors were primarily recognized by the public via the work that they did on the big screen, and that was how audiences got to "know" them – but that idea has been deteriorating for quite a while now. Tabloid journalism and paparazzi have spent years and years "exposing" the personal lives of performers beyond their work for Hollywood, making their private existences public, and that has evolved in significant ways in the 21st century. 

Now, instead of just reporters and photographers providing people with the inside scoop about their favorite stars, the stars themselves provide all of that information to fans via their personal social media accounts. Their inner thoughts are posted on Twitter, and literal snapshots of their lives are uploaded to Instagram. We can still admire the work that they do in film and television, but there is no maintained mystery about who they are and what they do beyond the characters they play. 

Ana de Armas, who has a personal Instagram account with 9.5 million followers, doesn't exactly opt out of this aspect of modern Hollywood.

Combined with the significance of intellectual property in today's entertainment industry (where popular, well-established characters are arguably valued more than the actors playing them), it's understandable that one might consider that the concept of the "movie star" has become archaic. On the other hand, perhaps it's merely in need of redefinition.

In addition to being a popular actor and followed by millions on social media, Ana de Armas is now an Academy Award-nominated performer, having received a nod last month for her controversial turn as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde. The film is exclusively available to watch with a Netflix subscription, and if you're trying to catch up with all of the movies that are up for major prizes this year, check out our 2023 Oscars streaming guide.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.