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Sex tapes: A career enhancer
Hey Colin Farrell! If the past is an indicator, this sex tape problem can give you a boost.
July 20, 2005: 1:19 PM EDT

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Dear Colin Farrell,

About the sex tape ... here's some unsolicited advice ... don't stop it. From an economic standpoint, it could be a boost.

For those of you reading this and who don't know what I'm talking about, thespian Farrell (you know, the guy who was Alexander) is suing a girlfriend (I'm guessing former) over her plans to distribute a video tape of them doing hanky-panky together. It's a tale of broken promises, greed, and legalities and if you want all that go here.

But I'm just saying to Farrell, who a lot of people write off as an actor but I say shows a lot of promise, the economics argue for letting the escapade hit the Net. Or the DVD. Or whatever.

Look at what happened to Paris Hilton. She's just another run-of-the-mill multi-million-dollar heiress. Then, shazam, a sex tape surfaces on the eve of her wacky reality show. Now, according to Forbes, she is pulling down at least $6.5 million and commands $300,000 an appearance at trendy clubs.

"Paris Hilton is probably the best example," said Gitesh Pandya of Boxofficeguru.com when I bounced my observation off him. "She was one of many attractive starlets out there, then that tape hits and it's all the sensation. The reality show gets a boost and it propels her into one of the top five celebrity actresses in the world."

Or Rob Lowe. The actor started off strong with the Brat Pack movies ("St. Elmo's Fire," for instance) but then hit some duds ... remember "Square Dance"? Me neither. Then came the sex tape in 1988. Two ladies were involved, one of them was underage, for which he did some community service. Career post-sex tape? "Wayne's World," "The Stand," and on to "West Wing." Admittedly it took a little time, but the sex tape episode seemed to mark an inflection point in his career.

Want more? How about Pamela Anderson? The Playboy centerfold and "Baywatch" starlet has a tape of her and then-hubby Tommy Lee hit the net. Suddenly her 15 minutes of fame gets extended to the four-year TV series V.I.P.

Now there are some examples of escapades that didn't work out so well. Hugh Grant. George Michaels. Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman). But those weren't tapes. And they were cases with a major "ewwww" factor.

But in your case, Colin, I'm sure people will side with you, especially since it is a case of broken trust. That tends to get people to feel sorry for you (while they are salaciously watching your performance). And you can really use the boost after the flub that was "Alexander."

In fact, you kind of wonder if some of these situations aren't a little too fortunate.

"You have so much media and so many celebrities, some people will do anything to get attention," observed Pandya.

So let the tape run, Colin.

In the meantime, hmmmm ... where's that video camera.

_______________________________

Allen Wastler is Managing Editor of CNN/Money and appears on CNN's "In the Money." He can be emailed at wastlerswanderings@cnn.com.  Top of page

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