Coming soon on heels of the global fast food chain Burger King’s announcement they were retiring their beloved, yet disquieting (read, eerily quiet) monarch mascot comes a revelation from Europe. It turns out British favorite Clive Owen has reduced himself to the role of spokesman for the burger chain, appearing in commercial spots running in Spain. It is a perplexing turn for the actor, who is not struggling for work and has a number of releases coming this year.
Now Hollywood luminaries shilling, or even selling out entirely, for conglomerates abroad in a TV spot is not itself newsworthy. Websites have for years chronicled this practice, and Sofia Coppola’s beloved Lost in Translation was centered on Bill Murray’s aged thespian hawking scotch in Japan. Hell, Julia Roberts seemingly dedicates as much time to this activity as she does to her craft. What is curious here is that Owen does not strike as an actor struggling for work, nor in the twilight of his career – those being the two primary motivators for actors chasing the quick and easy paycheck. (Roberts, for example, pocketed a cool $1 million for her stand-sip-smile “performance”.) Quite the contrary, Owen is not only a respected actor but one people normally look to with anticipation. His is a career unusually free from harsh embarrassments (maybe King Arthur was the smudge) and if anything his biggest disappointment may in fact be getting passed over for Daniel Craig as Her Majesty’s Biggest Playboy.
Although Owen is no stranger to corporate command performances; he appeared in a well-respected series of action-heavy short films for BMW, in the role of The Driver. Those occurred very early on his resume, however. This is a move that sparks curiosity, and the commercial itself, with a Montalban-esque voice-over, inspires a number of questions:
- How exactly do they get away with hawking their wares while having Owen enjoying their product in what appears to be, at minimum, a four-star restaurant?
- In Spain do they cast children’s roles by having young actors audition in outfits that designate them as Seusian players, like Thing-1, Thing-2, ect.?
- Was Antonio Bandaras not available, or did he command too much money? (You can scoff at his Nasonex commercials, but he does get to hide behind a bumble bee façade.)
- Based on the fact that he is driven to a restaurant in a golf cart do we assume there are B-K Lounge locations on Spanish movie sets?
Note: Had a YouTube video of this but it has since been removed.