Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Action film heroes showing signs of weakness

Bruce WillisThere was a time when the name Schwarzenegger, Stallone or Willis meant legions of fans would pile into theaters to see them punch and shoot their way through any army of foes. But, it’s not been a good year for the muscle-bound actors who once kicked the living daylights out of all box office competition.

Arnold Schwarzenegger officially returned to acting in mid-January with “The Last Stand” playing a small town sheriff who must stop a drug kingpin from escaping to Mexico. Schwarzenegger had made a brief appearance in the “Expendables” movies but this was the first time he had to carry the load on his own.

Audience greeted his return to acting — after her brief break in politics — with apathy. The movie netted less than $12 million dollars domestically. Even his “Raw Deal” made more than $16 million back in 1986.

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Don’t judge ‘Die Hard’s’ Yuliya Snigir at first glance

yuliya-snigir-die-hard-5Russian actress Yuliya Snigir plays a character who’s not what she seems to be in the new action movie “A Good Day to Die Hard.” It’s a perfect fit for the 29-year-old actress because she’s not the kind of person who should be judged on a first glance. That’s easy to do. It’s obvious as soon as I walk into the Four Seasons Hotel room to talk to the raven-haired actress why she was offered a modeling contract when she was young.

But, behind those stunning looks is a woman who was playing chess professionally at 15 and was awarded the title of Candidate of Master by International Chess Federation. She never went after the modeling career but was teaching English in a nursery school when a friend showed her picture to a modeling agency.

“Playing chess was something that my parents wanted more than me,” Snigir says with the slightest of Russian accents. “And, when the modeling offer came, I was more determined to study acting. I did some modeling while I was studying but it was more like a hobby for me.”

Her chess background won’t go to a complete waste. Snigir explains that being able to look at a situation, evaluate it and then react is a lot like directing. She wants to direct and is writing a screenplay that could be her big directing project but she’s not in a rush to move behind the camera. A director, to the actress, needs the maturity that comes with a lot of work experience and for now, she’s concentrating on her acting to build up her experiences.

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