COMMITMENTS : A Power Move or Career Killer?

Lateness can be a power move, psychologists say. Diplomats, bosses and entertainers often use this tactic.

During the recent filming of the video “Scream,” Michael and Janet Jackson allegedly engaged in a lateness war. Michael was miffed when Janet arrived late on the set. He decided to arrive later the next day. Janet, not to be outdone, showed up even later. The King of Pop and his diva sister reportedly spent millions extra proving that the real star shows up last.

This might work for the Jacksons and Elizabeth Taylor, who still makes it a habit to arrive an hour and a half late, but it’s not an industry standard. Sticklers such as Oliver Stone and Joan Lunden refuse to put up with laggards who waste the time--and money--of productions.

Neither will Butch and Julieann Hartman. Butch, a former soap actor, and Julieann, an acting coach, say actors historically push the punctuality envelope.


“When I was an actor, I’d show up for rehearsal right on time and nobody else would be there,” Butch says. “I made a vow that anybody who works for me has to be on time.”

Now that the Hartmans are producing their own play, “Under the Big Top,” they warned the unpaid actors that if they’re late too often, they’re out.

“I think they respected it because nobody had told them that before. It gave them the impression that I was being very professional. Professionals are on time,” Butch says.