Above: character posters for Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Hotel Artemis (2018).
Jeff Goldblum is having a moment. After being in movies for 45 years, the 6'4" 66-year-old actor is suddenly the coolest man on the planet. He was all over Sundance last week with his new film, The Mountain
, and starting today the Quad Cinema in New York is playing “The Goldblum Variations
,” a retrospective of sixteen of the tall guy’s best films.
Ever since his debut as Freak #1 in Michael Winner’s Death Wish (1974), Goldblum has been a compelling, quirky presence in movies. He was a supporting player for some ten years before his break-out role in Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill (1983) which led to starring roles in John Landis’ Into the Night (1985) and David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986). His major leading man period lasted about a decade before he comfortably became an ensemble player once again (naturally fitting right into the Wes Anderson universe).
But though Goldblum has always been much loved, it feels as if in the last few years his hipster currency has gone through the roof with scene-stealing appearances on Portlandia
and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
, not to mention those ads for Apartments.com. At the same time he has undeniably become one of the best dressed, best coiffed men in America (see exhibits A
In just the five years since The Grand Budapest Hotel he has racked up 22 additional IMDb credits and in that time he’s also had two children with his 36-year-old Canadian Olympic gymnast wife and released a jazz album! If anyone is living his best life right now, it’s Jeffrey Lynn Goldblum.
But Goldblum’s life in posters has been somewhat less stellar. He doesn’t appear at all in posters for his best film, The Fly, nor for his biggest films like Jurassic Park and Independence Day. He made cameo appearances in posters for only a handful of the thirteen feature films he made prior to his big break (films which included Annie Hall, California Split and Invasion of the Body Snatchers—none of whose posters he appears in). His first appearance is in an Australian poster for Nashville:
Above: Jeff Goldblum as Tricycle Man in detail from Australian poster for Nashville (1975).
He was featured more prominently, again in illustrated form, in the one sheets for Between the Lines (1977) and Thank God It’s Friday (1978).
Above: Goldblum as Max Arloft in detail from US poster for Between the Lines (1977).
Above: Goldblum as “Tony” in detail from US poster for Thank God It’s Friday (1978).
And then, after almost ten years in the business, and despite being part of a star-studded ensemble, Goldblum had his breakout role as the fast-talking, neurotic Michael in The Big Chill (1983).
He had supporting roles in a couple more films:
Above: Goldblum as “New Jersey” in detail from US poster for The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) and as Jack Harrison in detail from US poster for Transylvania 6-5000 (1985).
And then his first real starring role, opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in John Landis’s Into the Night (1985).
Above: Goldblum as Ed Okin in details from the US poster and the Turkish poster for Into the Night (1985).
Though I said that he never appeared in posters for Cronenberg’s The Fly, there was this Turkish version:
The Fly was followed in the late ’80s and early ’90s by a string of leading or co-star roles in a number of goofy comedies—most notably Robert Altman’s Beyond Therapy (1987)—and the occasional policier like Bill Duke’s Deep Cover (1992), in the posters for which Goldblum got to exercise his quizzical look or surprised face.
There was also romantic comedy Goldblum...
And scary Goldblum...
After substantial roles in Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic Park and Independence Day—neither of which featured human beings on their posters—Goldblum had roles in under-seen films from major directors Hal Hartley and Paul Schrader...
But my guess is that it was Wes Anderson that started Goldblum back on the road to hipster godhead...
That and maybe those glasses...
He is now a regular member of the Wes Anderson Supporting Players...
But if ever there was proof of an actor’s hipster cachet it is the amount of fan art he inspires.
Above: fan art by (from left) Austin James, Vincent Carrozza and Dana Ulama.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s this...
I rest my case.
“The Goldblum Variations”
starts today at the Quad Cinema and runs through February 28. His newest film The Mountain
will open this summer. Watch this space: