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Wednesday June 2, 2010 2:40 pm

It’s All in the Family: Hollywood Nepotism

Hollywood sign

In most places of business, nepotism is frowned upon. In Hollywood, it’s part of standard casting policies. Why is it okay for La La Land to offer opportunities to unknown - but well-connected - actors, when hiring regulations are in place for every other industry in the country? Let’s dip our toes into the Tinseltown gene pool and see how many family trees we can count.

If you haven’t heard by now, Will Smith’s son is going to become the next A-list, must-have child star. He’s starring in the new Karate Kid reboot (a movie that’s unnecessary at best), and now he’s putting his on display in a movie soundtrack tie-in. Like it’s not already great being Will Smith’s kid, Jaden, 11, is now forging a strong career in the “family business.” Which just happens to be multi-million-dollar movie and recording contracts. Nice.

Is Jaden Smith the most talented kid for the ? Are his rap skills so superior that he deserves the outpouring of press he’s been getting for his involvement with the film’s theme song?

Frankly, it doesn’t f&*^ing matter. The Karate Kid reboot (which, we hate to break it to you, does


feature karate) is produced by and from its inception was intended as a Jaden Smith vehicle. No one else ever auditioned for the role of the Karate Kid, not that anyone else had a snowball’s shot in hell of landing it anyway.

Hollywood has always been the land where dreams come true…if you’ve already got an “in.”

More fun filmmaking nepotism facts:

A-list movie star is really named Nicolas Coppola. He’s the nephew of acclaimed director Francis Ford Coppola (do the words “Godfather trilogy” mean anything to you?). Cage claims he changed his name to avoid nepotism - then, he starred in the films Peggy Sue Got Married, Rumble Fish and The Cotton Club, all directed by his famous Hollywood uncle. Hey, kids. You want to avoid nepotism? Don’t use your uncle to get started in the film biz.

and sister Maggie are the offspring of director Stephen Gyllenhaal, who got both his children into the business in the 90s (both appeared in Daddy’s films Homegrown and A Dangerous Woman very early in their careers).

Famous daughter celebrated her made-for-TV-movie debut in 1983 with Shooting Stars. She returned to the small screen in 1987 with the TV movie The Three Kings. Both projects were produced by Aaron Spelling Productions. Don’t make us point out the 90210 connection, too.

We know you want more. Explore the convoluted, twisted path of with the site of the same name, which features a searchable database where you can get the real story behind the stars…and the other stars they’re related to.

It’s a running joke in Hollywood that every bellhop, busboy and waitress in LA is working on being an actor, screenwriter, director - whatever. Every year, thousands flock to the city where dreams are made…only be passed over so someone’s niece can snag a role without having to go through the audition process. Hooray for Hollywood!



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