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Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, and Gemma Arterton
Walt Disney Studios
When I first heard that Jake Gyllenhaal was playing the lead in Prince of Persia, I was flabbergasted. I couldn't wrap my brain around him playing such an overtly Alpha male role. I've always seen him more as the Beta male. You know, a gal's best guy friend. That's just how he comes across to me. After watching the movie, all I can say is "puurrrrrrrrr."Jake's character, Dastan, is the adopted son of a Persian king. When he dies after Dastan presents him with a gift, all suspect that Dastan has murdered him. Dastan flees with the captured Princess Tamina who is guardian of the dagger containing the sands of time. Together they must prove Dastan's innocence, unmask the traitor, and keep the Tamina's dagger from falling into the hands of enemy. Lots of action, lots of acrobatics, and lots of fun to watch.
Since I was already thinking about alpha and beta males before viewing this film, the matter continued to mull around in my brain. Romance readers (and writers) often gravitate toward those larger than life Alpha males. Their heroes can be reserved and quiet, but when it matters they must step into the ring without hesitation and beat the crap out of anyone who messes with their heroine.
Taking a step back from Alpha males for a moment, I ponder how the heroine roles have changed for today's readers. These women are no longer the helpless females tied to the railroad tracks who are forced to wait for the hero to rescue them. In these modern times, readers expect the heroine to act in her own behalf. Getting help from the hero is okay, but he isn't expected to do all the work. The dynamic between hero and heroine has evolved. The Alpha male now has to deal with an Alpha female. And this is exactly why Prince of Persia worked so well for me.
Dastan and Princess Tamina are equally pig-headed and equally matched. They clash from the get go and I believe this type of delicious conflict builds the massive sexual tension that readers and viewers expect.
What about your thoughts? Who is your favorite Alpha male (character)? Who is your favorite Beta male (character)?
*Photos @ IMDB