This time last year, the absurdly talented actor Michael Welch was experiencing an all-day press junket. It wasn’t his first. But this particular one happened to be for a little indie-movie-that-could called “Eclipse”—the third in the “Twilight” saga. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
And it probably won’t surprise you that at these press junkets, Mike tends to be presented with the same few questions over and over again, all day long. I’ve watched him handle these situations with stunning aplomb. But at this junket, an eager journalist from a teen entertainment magazine (we’re not being coy, he and I honestly can’t remember which one) threw Mike a curve ball.
They asked him, “Who are your Top Three Summer Hotties for 2010?”
Mike arrived at this answer, completely off the cuff:
1. ANNA PAQUIN: In celebration of the new season of “True Blood”
2. KATY PERRY: Because she reminds me of my girlfriend
3. LOIS from “The Family Guy”
Did I mention that he pulled this off completely in the moment? Amazing. But how bizarre that he was asked in the first place! People as commodities, and not only as commodities, but such ephemeral ones that their worths might only last one short summer.
I relayed this incident to my best friend, a radio journalist who had just that day interviewed a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. “Can you imagine if I asked him that?” she asked, and we both laughed at the absurdity of the thought.
But later I got to thinking: Why is it any less absurd that someone asked that of Mike, just because he’s a “young actor?”
And even later I got to thinking: Well, maybe I’ve got this backwards. Maybe there’s something brilliant and Rorschach-esque about the inquiry. . . And if so, why should the question be limited to young actors appearing in cinematic phenomenons? Why not ask anyone and everyone!
So with no further ado, I present to you the Top Three Summer Hotties of 2011, as determined by a group of performing artists and their staunchest supporters. For old time’s sake, we’ll start off this summer with last summer’s guinea pig. Enjoy, and play along!
TOP THREE SUMMER HOTTIES OF 2011
Michael Welch, Actor
2. SWEET DEE: from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
3. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE: From the 2010 Dutch horror film, “The Human Centipede.” So sexy. . .
Jami Brandli, Dramatist • Stage & Screen Faculty, Lesley University
2. BARACK OBAMA: I think he’s doing a pretty damn good job at cleaning up the Bush mess while leading us in a new direction.
3. BRIAN JAMES POLAK: He’s one badass motherf**ker. But if I can’t pick my husband, then I pick KRISTEN WIIG, because even though I’m not a lesbian, I can’t stop watching her. She is just so damn funny.
Brian James Polak, Playwright • Marketing/Communications Manager, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
1. KRISTEN WIIG
2. RACHEL MADDOW
3. BEN & JERRY’S CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA ICE CREAM
[Sara’s Editor Note: How adorable! Jami and Brian, wife and husband, both unknowingly chose not only each other but also Kristin Wiig!]
Jeff Gardner, Sound Designer • Actor
2. MARION COTTILARD: She’ll always be hot.
3. MILA KUNIS
Kimberly Colburn, Dramaturg • Assistant Literary Manager & Pacific Playwrights Festival Coordinator, South Coast Repertory
1. IAN SOMERHALDER: I’m a closet Vampire Diaries fan, and his character Damon is my favorite thing on that show. I’m terrified that the werewolf bite Damon just received will be fatal. And that I will have to wait all summer to know the answer.
2. ADAM GWON: Cute, funny, amazingly talented composer and lyricist for “Cloudlands,” a new musical that was just read at the Pacific Playwrights Festival. He doesn’t play on my team, but I want to set him up with all of my gay friends.
[Sara Editor’s Note: Kimberly subsequently adds, “For the record, I just want to note that I chose Adam Gwon as a summer hottie before he won $100,000.”]
3. MY HUSBAND, JUSTIN: Forgive my cheesiness, but after debating the third slot, in the end I have to give it to my number one always. But really, he’s hot, I promise.
Sarah Bauer, Actress • Office Manager, The Blank Theatre Company
2. BRADLEY COOPER: Loved him since his days on “Alias.”
3. RYAN REYNOLDS: If you’re reading this, Ryan—Scarlett was a fool to let you slip away.
Kristin Runnels, Executive Co-Chair, Emerging Arts Leaders, Los Angeles
1. KRISTY EDMUNDS: New Executive and Artistic Director at UCLA Live! A Jackie of many trades. Kristy has a background in visual arts, choreography, playwriting and independent filmmaking.
2. MARYAM HENEIN: Director of “Vanishing of the Bees,” a documentary about the collapse of honeybee colonies around the world. Maryam is a passionate investigative journalist and has been working tirelessly for years to bring this topic to the forefront of the public consciousness. The documentary will be screening across the country this summer.
3. LIONEL BRINGUIER: Associate Conductor, Los Angeles Philharmonic. Not only is he very—very—pleasant to look at, he is an amazing conductor. I was at a performance in 2010 when Dudamel threw out his neck before he was to conduct Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique symphony. Within 15 minutes, Bringuier was on stage, in a tux, conducting the masterpiece for the first time. Wow. Hot, quick on the draw and talented—and he’s only 25! Check him out at the Hollywood Bowl this August 2nd.
Michael Mullen, Costume Designer • Actor
2. MY PARENTS: They’re walking a lot.
3. BETTY WHITE: Hottie In Cleveland!
Cece Tio, Producer
1. SCOOPS: My favorite local-to-me place for ice cream. It seems more excusable to stop in often when it’s hot outside.
2. THE CAR PLAYS™: L.A. STORIES: Hot plays + Hot cars + Hot L.A. theater scene being represented to the world (or at least the TCG Conference attendees and Radar L.A. Festival peoples) = Me having super excited/anxious/excited/anxious dreams that will consume my sleep(less) nights through June.
3. MALCOLM WALKER: Adorable bundle of baby love that is visiting California all too briefly this summer.
Ceasar Barajas, Choreographer • Dancer • Actor
2. JULIE BOWEN: Gorgeous MILF—and she’s hilarious!!
3. BROOKLYN DECKER: She literally looks like my ex. Nuff said.
June Carryl, Teaching Artist, The Unusual Suspects • Actress • Playwright • Director
2. RUFUS SEWEL: ever since “Dark City”
3. LL COOL J: Saw him in a bookstore once and OMG!!!!!
Dana Romanoff, Commercial, Editorial and Performing Arts Photographer
1. CHARANGA HABANERA: The hottest music group in Cuba right now. I saw them perform in an outdoor venue in Cuba over New Years for $3. They didn’t come on stage until way past 1AM but when they did everyone knew all the words and danced danced danced. It was awesome.
2. CHRISTOPHER MCDOUGALL: Author of “Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.” Did you know humans used to hunt their food by running them down? We could run for days! And that the more expensive a running shoe, the worse it is for you? I was inspired to get up and run. Barefoot. This summer I’m going to hit the trails and join the barefoot running craze. It just makes sense.
3. BAYES B. WILDER: A name like that is bound to demand your attention. I documented this brand new baby’s birth on May 14th, 2011. His parents, my good friends Sandy and Matt Wilder, are amazing. Bayes is definitely my summer select.
Richard Tatum, Artistic Director, Absolute Theatre • Director • Voice-Over Actor • Faculty, Theatre of Arts Conservatory Program
2. BETH RIESGRAF: in “Leverage,” returning this summer to cable. Sassy, loveable, layered and nuanced performance as Parker, the super-thief who hasn’t let go of her childhood.
3. EVE MYLES: as Gwen on “Torchwood,” coming to America any minute now. Gorgeous in the most interesting way and simply astonishing in the fierceness and depth of her honesty. Plus, the Welsh accent.
Michael Matthews, Director
1. AMEENHA KAPLAN: The arms, the hair, the crazy, insane talent that never ends.
2. KURT BOETCHER: See above.
3. CRICKET MYERS: Summer. Hottie. Especially when not in tech.
And my Top Three Summer Hotties:
2. ROBERT B. PARKER: The last Spencer book he authored has just been released, posthumously. I’m sad, but grateful for all he wrote. Plus, once upon a time Mr. Parker offered me a doughnut. I never thought being offered a doughnut could be so hot.
3. J.T. THOMAS: Call me a sucker, but when this Chicago Bears rookie linebacker asked this girl to her junior high dance, it made me not only a Summer 2011 fan, but a life-long one. . .