When did you realize Chris Pine was more than another flimsy Hollywood heart-throb with little more to offer than a twinkle in his eye, a mischievous smile and a forgettable filmography?
Was it during his feature debut in Princess Diaries 2, in which he played the aristocrat Nicholas Devereaux? His devilish charm and sizzling screen chemistry with Anne Hathaway made many a teen girl (and boy) swoon.
Maybe some adults too – it’s OK, he was 24 at the time.
Or maybe you were more about Pine the action hero. Perhaps he has caught your eye in the new Star Trek movies (those intergalactic uniforms are quite form-fitting) or when he buffed out for Jack Ryan?
What about as Diana’s love interest Steve Trevor in wonder-woman? A character who did his own share of derring-do but never felt threatened by her immense power and femininity.
Maybe it was his comedic turns in Horrible Bosses 2 and Wet Hot American Summer?
And those searing drama roles that proved he had the range and gravitas to convey a maturity and heaviness that belied the swagger. He was the thoughtful older brother in the morally ambiguous Hell or High Water and a disgraced journalist on a redemption journey in the stylish noir series I Am Nightwhich I have produced.
There was also the full frontal nude scene in The Outlaw King (which also starred as his love interest… drum roll… Florence Pugh!).
Pine can stride through an airport with a five o’clock shadow and a pair of Carhatt overalls, the epitome of casual chic.
He just has good guy energy.
Maybe you’ve been a long-time Pine piner (you know you love a cheesy pun) and know that he is, undoubtedly, the top Hollywood Chris.
Or perhaps you only discovered his fundamental coolness yesterday as he was swept into the maelstrom of Don’t Worry Darling‘s many, many scandals.
All it took for the Don’t Worry Darling drama to spread beyond Olivia Wilde, Harry Styles, Florence Pugh and Shia LaBeouf was a prominent film festival, the attention of the world’s media and two viral moments.
Thanks to two clips of Pine’s wordless reactions to Harry Styles, he’s emerged as the unwitting hero everyone wants to get behind.
The first was his face during Styles’ rambling but fairly innocuous answer about why he loves Don’t Worry Darling. Basically, because it’s a movie that feels like a movie.
In fairness to Styles, the international popstar isn’t practiced at answering questions about filmmaking and screen culture. Ask him for an opinion on quavers and he could probably give you an articulate answer.
Pine’s “disassociating” face as he’s trying to work out what Styles was banging on about is the same expression everyone makes as their uncle launches into why f/4 is the best aperture for wildlife photography. You wish you were anywhere else.
But that’s nothing compared to the hullabaloo of the premiere screening itself. Did Styles as he sat down spit on Pine? Why did Pine throw his hands up with that knowing smirk? Lips were pursed! Something must’ve happened! Even if Pine’s spokesperson todays says it didn’t.
It would, of course, have been insane for Styles to have pulled such a stunt with an army of cameras pointed at his statement collars.
But the damage was done. Or, look at it another other way and a meme was born.
It was game on as Chris Pine became the celebrity du jour. See those photos of him on the red carpet taking pictures of Pugh with a disposable camera? Adorable! Did you know up until recently he still had a flip phone? So enlightened and retro.
How about when he bombed his audition for Avatar? That movie sucks anyway. Did you know he’s afraid of the dark? Awwww, I need a hug.
Any of those Pine titbits could easily be cast in a different light if he wasn’t concealed in the glow of goodwill. If he was being framed another way, he could easily be a weirdo Luddite.
For now, Pine is riding a wave of worship. Fandoms are fickle though. They could turn at any moment.
If it’s to be enduring, Pine would need to act like he doesn’t care whether he’s loved or loathed. As far as anyone can tell, he already doesn’t.
That’s what makes him the coolest person alive (right now).