On paper, the Amazon series The Last Tycoon may be a story about Hollywood moguls, but I’m choosing to see it as a story about the women who prop them up behind the scenes. Monroe Stahr (Matt Bomer) and Pat Brady (Kelsey Grammer) run Brady-American, a middle-grade film studio in Los Angeles, but I think if they’re not careful, Pat’s daughter, is going to give the tycoons on The Last Tycoon a run for their money. Played by Lily Collins, Celia Brady is the hero of the series and has the brightest future. (Spoilers for the first three episodes of The Last Tycoon coming your way.)
Celia may only be 19 and enrolled in Bennington College, but she’s definitely wise beyond her years. No "poor little rich girl" stereotype here. When the series begins, Celia is on break from school, and she really doesn’t want to go back — instead, she wants to stay and produce important movies, movies that will mean something both socially and for entertainment value.
Her father doesn’t want her in the family business, but too bad, Dad — Celia has plans, and they don’t include listening to her father's warnings. She pitches a movie to Monroe — a Nazi-esque spy thriller, which tickles his eagerness to get back at Germany — and he accepts. Boom: producer role sort-of granted. Of Celia’s tenacity, Collins had this to say at a press event Bustle attended: “[Celia] is definitely not stopping at ‘no.’ She’s on her own path.” I’ll say.
What’s even more interesting about Celia is that she has a clear and widening worldview in spite of her privileged upbringing. She raises money to support a “free Spain,” as General Francisco Franco is bringing fascism to the country (this is 1936, just before World War II). She learns about unions and fair working conditions from spending time in the studio’s wardrobe department. Celia seems to hate injustice, and she’s very socially conscious. That said, she wants to make a movie. A big Hollywood blockbuster, even. To some, the work of Hollywood doesn’t mean much, but Celia loves it. She wants to tell stories. And she can do that and care about the world's ills at the same time.
Celia’s burgeoning social consciousness is the perfect attendant to her love of Hollywood because it really shows that a woman can have more than one interest. You can love the Kardashians and C-SPAN. The Bachelorette and NPR. After all, it’s not strange to think that a man could love football and War and Peace at once. Celia’s political interests are complementary to her love of filmmaking because she is The Last Tycoon character who understands the social impact of film and wants to use it for good. Her dad and Monroe have been in the business of pictures for years, but it’s Celia who has a fresh take on it.
Additional reporting by Sage Young