So I guess that by now everybody knows that Charlton Heston passed away last weekend.
I could never agree with the political activism of his later years, nevertheless I aknowledge the fact that he was a giant as an actor, a member of a generation of Hollywood icons the likes of whom we will probably never witness again.
Thinking about his career legacy, I suddenly realized that what attracted me most about his films, was the fact that he always played the part of the unwilling hero. A character that initially was content with his place in the world and had no great ambitions, but that suddenly due to changes that were outside his power, finds his life making a dramatic turn; and suddenly he has to struggle against the status quo to regain what has been taking from him. In doing so the character becomes a hero.
That's exactly what happens with Taylor in "Planet of the Apes", with detective Robert Thorn in "Soylent Green", with Judah Ben-Hur and even with Moses, the most recognizable of his roles and the one people remember the most.
I suppose all these characters appeal to us because they remind us that any underdog can become a hero, if he finds the courage to fight.
Charlton Heston, thank you for making us feel that WE too can become heroes, if we just heed the words of the burning bush.
Rest In Peace.