Pretty Bad Actress: Toxic fan culture and child stars

Pretty Bad Actress photo via MVD Entertainment Group
Pretty Bad Actress photo via MVD Entertainment Group /

Nick Scown’s Pretty Bad Actress illustrates today’s dangerous fan culture.

Pretty Bad Actress stars Heather McComb as Gloria Green, a former child star who is struggling to find work as she continues to be seen as Trudie, the character she portrayed her entire childhood and teen years. We learn about Gloria through magazine clippings and posters that cover the wall of her biggest fan, Dawnee (Stephanie Hodes).

Dawnee is so obsessed with Gloria Green, she dresses like her character Trudie and even revolves school presentations around the Trudie. Needless to say, Dawnee is bullied for her obsession, but she couldn’t care less.

After Gloria leaves a failed audition, she is kidnapped by a stalker. Conveniently walking in on the act is Dawnee. Once she’s spotted, Dawnee is also taken hostage. Dawnee is pretty ecstatic to be near her idol, even under these circumstances. Gloria, however, attempts to figure out how to make it out alive and is curious as to what the kidnapper’s motives are.

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On the outside, Gloria’s personal assistant Cheryl (Jillian Bell) is frantically searching for her, as Gloria’s talent manager, Al (Danny Woodburn), sees this as an opportunity for Gloria to make a comeback. It’s all about that 10% for Al as he tries to negotiate a movie out of this tragedy. And while that’s an awful idea, it’s not new. Pretty Bad Actress is actually inspired by the real-life story of Theresa Saldana. The actress was attacked by a stalker, survived, and starred in a movie about the event as herself. For Gloria to do the same, though, she’ll have to survive.

Pretty Bad Actress photo via MVD Entertainment Group
Pretty Bad Actress photo via MVD Entertainment Group /

The surprise should be Dawnee’s unhealthy obession and Gloria’s struggles to stay relevant in Hollywood. However, due to today’s world of “stans,” who continue to bully celebrities and “rival fans,” Dawnee’s behavior shocks no one. The big surprise is instead found in the third act, where director Scown further illustrates today’s problems with superfans.

Pretty Bad Actress is playing in theaters in Los Angeles and available available on VOD