I first encountered Justic Smith in “Paper Towns” as one of the protagonists quirky friends. Then years later came across him in “Genera+ion” acting as the iconic Chester. Perhaps a little too iconic. He fit the role perfectly. The difference between a good actor and a great actor is that a good actor acts well but a great actor makes you forget that it’s acting.
When it comes down to it. Justice was a great actor in “Genera+ion” and only a good actor in “Paper Towns”and in a recent movie I saw of his called “Voyeur”. After seeing his what I consider a stellar performance as Chester, seeing him act as a wannabe straight man in “Voyeur” with a voice that seemed like it was straining to be deep and masculine it just didn’t seem to be the best fit for his natural talents.
Seeing him made me realize that while many of us can be volatile actors it’s always best to stick to roles that suit our natural talents. The actors in “The Voyeurs” were quite good. But Justice just didn’t seem to fit into that movie in general. And there just wasn’t enough chemistry between him and the lead actress to make it a believable relationship. And perhaps it seemed that way because I saw how much he was suited in another role. Which is the downside of success in one role in particular.
I know there are mixed reviews about “Genera+ion” but the general consensus is that Justice was one of the breakout stars of the show and one of the main reasons that we watched it. So seeing him later on in a lacklustre, straight role that did not suit him at all was underwhelming and rather insulting to his career. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t have roles with women but it seemed like he wasn’t fully present in that role.
And there are gay/queer men that have successfully acted with women and not made it seem awkward like Troye Sivan and even the star of Prison Break. But Justice just couldn’t cut it.
Which isn’t saying Justice isn’t an amazing actor and also not saying that he should be typecast as a gay/queer man only, but I think it is accurate to note that he seems to bloom when his love interest is the same gender as him.
Reflecting on this,even though I’m currently concentrating on writing, is helping me with my own acting skills which need a lot of work (Justice: hah!) There are just certain roles which are more suited for one’s acting style than others and we all have a certain range just like in singing some people are soprano while others are alto and there are those annoying unicorns that see both (yes I’m aware that there are more than that but let’s keep it simple). I’m also realizing that there are certain roles I suit more than others.