Hard To Stop: Image and Authorship in the Films of Steven Seagal
Van Esler, Michael W.
University of Kansas
Film & Media Studies
This item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
MetadataShow full item record
Little serious scholarly work has been done on the career of Steven Seagal which is surprising given his immense popularity in the early 1990s. In addition to suggesting more work be done on less traditional stars, this thesis asks what factors lead to an understanding of Steven Seagal as a working class action hero. It makes the case for understanding Seagal as a star because of the impressive box office success of his films along with his immense popularity during that time frame. The thesis focuses mainly on Seagal's films from 1988 until 1995, with only occasional references to his later, less commercially successful work which nonetheless helps explicate the essence of the Seagal persona. The main theoretical texts utilized in this thesis are Richard Dyer's Stars, which examines both the sociological and semiotic implications of stardom, and Rick Altman's Film/Genre, which explores the evolution of the working class action film. The way in which Seagal's working class action hero persona was constructed and sustained lies in the dynamic interactions of three competing forces: the studios, Seagal himself, and his audience. In addition to how his persona was created, the thesis looks at those aspects of Seagal's star persona essential to Seagal's status as a working class action hero. Seagal's principal characters are associated with the Vietnam or a Vietnam-like War; they are men enforce their own codes of conduct and justice; and, they connect in multiple ways with numerous ethnicities and cultures. This thesis performs its analysis of Seagal's star persona through historical and sociological approaches, drawing heavily from industry and popular publications to help gauge public interest in the actor.
- School of the Arts Dissertations and Theses 
- Theses 
Items in KU ScholarWorks are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
We want to hear from you! Please share your stories about how Open Access to this item benefits YOU.