Viral videos stoke celebrities' images
By Jake Coyle, APNEW YORK -- Mila Kunis' stardom went up a notch last week, and you would think it's because she stars in the biggest movie of the year so far.
March 14, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
But “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which debuted with US$79.1 million at the box office, had little to do with the sudden rush of adulation that engulfed Kunis. Instead, it was a seven-minute viral video that's been watched more than 10 million times and blogged about the world over.
The “Great and Powerful” isn't Oz, but the Internet, which can burnish a star's image just as it can destroy it.
The video is from a press junket interview for “Oz” with a young BBC radio personality, Scott Mills. Mills begins by announcing he's “petrified” at doing such an interview for the first time. But he's obviously quite comfortable as his own version of Hugh Grant, charmingly peppering Kunis with questions about pub drinking, his local soccer club in Watford and a theoretical day out together. He expects to earn “massive lad points,” he says.
Kunis is exceptionally winning: She happily goes along, eager for a break from a day of monotonous TV interviews promoting the film. When Mills moves to return to more normal questions, she protests: “Why? This is such a better conversation.”
The clip was roundly greeted online as proof of Kunis' “awesomeness.” (Google “Mila Kunis is awesome” and you'll get countless links rhapsodizing about the interview.) New York Magazine's Vulture blog hailed “a brand-new inductee into the most-adored-actress-ever club.”
What's emerging is a new kind of stardom propelled by glimpses of authenticity circulated on the Web like evidence of a star's real nature: guileless snapshots of their innate coolness. Internet videos are known for elevating anonymous people to renown, but they can greatly enhance the reputations of the famous, too. Kunis went viral because the interview confirmed her image: She's funny, sarcastic and game. She banters just as well in real life as she does in the romantic comedies she stars in.