Today I ran into an article where Gabrielle Union gave an interview where she apparently regrets how she decided to handle the character of Isis. This is one of my favorite movies from my teens/20’s and to read about the actress and how she regrets not making the character more angry is irritating to say the least. You see Isis was an example to Kirsten Dunst character on how a leader should be. Strong, in control, and not afraid of confrontation when it is warranted. Isis may not have come out screaming, aggressive, and talking shit but that is what made her such a great character. The anger underneath all that control was demonstrated by the other two girls that were with her in the scene where the Clovers showed up at the game to show that the Toros had stolen their routines. It was also shown in the characters body language and clipped dialogue. In the audience we didn’t NEED to see her out of control with anger to get that she was furious and I don’t get Gabrielle Union’s stance on this now twenty years out from making the film. Oh, and the comment later about how this whole thing about stealing the routines was a commentary about cultural appropriation? That is total bullshit. Cheerleading is cheerleading regardless of race! Routines are mostly all the same with little exception or creativity unless you add gymnastics, dance moves, and martial arts into it like they do in the movie and in the big national routines in real life. Most cheer teams even at the pro level don’t really stand out when it comes to the routines they use.
Was it wrong of Big Red to steal the routines from the Clovers? Yes! Was it the fault of Kirsten Dunst’s character? No, what Kirsten Dunst’s character is at fault for is weak leadership which is actually the heroine’s journey to the film if you pay attention to it. The whole film is about Torrance and her coming of age which includes growing up, growing into her leadership of the Toros, and learning from the mistakes of others. The true overall villains in this movie were Big Red and Torrance’s beginning love interest. Big Red of course was a power hungry dictator that stole cheers from other squads, mainly the Clovers, and the love interest knew about it plus tried to continually gas light Torrance for his own self interests, mainly because he couldn’t keep it in his pants.
Because of Dunst’s genuine frustration and confusion in the scene with the Clovers I believe that Isis handling it the way she did showed that she knew who the true villain was and she wasn’t going to take it out on a patsy. After all she did give a warning at the game that Torrance needed to change things otherwise it was going to get more serious that it already was. In the end of the movie Isis sees the change in Torrance. The new confidence, the leadership skill that she had gained, etc. and respected it for the true achievement that it was. When the Toros win the competition it is out of genuine hard work and creativity in the routine and Isis respects that because Torrance showed she could change, she could control her team, and she could win on her own merit as head cheerleader.
Coming back twenty years after this film was made and this awesome classy character was created to undermine it just for the sake of what seems to be political self importance is not the sign of a classy actress. It would be about on par with Sigourney Weaver coming back and saying that Ellen Ripley shouldn’t have gotten attached to Newt because it only ended up causing her pain and was just a representation of anti-abortion which tries to control female reproduction rights. Which is total bull shit because it was that emotional attachment that ultimately gave Ripley her strength in the end to actually defeat the queen instead of just running away in the story.
Actors and Actresses need to give their all to the characters that they portray and then walk away knowing that in that moment forever recorded that they made the best out of what they were told, given, or decided to do and then let it go. Ignore others outside of themselves when it comes to the characters they portray. Seriously, the best actors and actresses in history did this. They may not always have been the highest paid or the most remembered but they were the BEST at what they did.