The moment Daryl Hannah was actually arrested on Tuesday for refusing to move from a sit-in staged in front of the White House actually seems a trifle anti-climactic.
Not that you really want a bunch of drama where peacefully protesting citizens are suddenly confronted by law-bound police officers. But when the moment comes, she rises, a faint smile on her lips, and stands almost demurely as an officer fumbles one of those zip-tie nylon cuff restraints onto her hands, held behind her back. As she’s walked away, she chants softly at first, her voice quickly rising: “No Keystone Pipeline.” She was later released after paying a $100 fine.
What’s she protesting? The planned Keystone XL pipeline, set to run from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It’ll transport synthetic crude oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada to refineries located in the central and south-central U.S. on down to the Gulf Coast. And she’s not the only one who took the rap. The police marched several others from the group away in cuffs before things broke up.
PHOTOS: Color In the Midst of Protest
Everyone’s paying attention to this because, well, she’s Daryl Hannah, celeb-activist best known for her roles in films like Blade Runner, Splash, Wall Street, Steel Magnolias and more recently, for playing Elle Driver (“California Mountain Snake”) in Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. It’s not her first arrest, either. She chained herself to a walnut tree in 2006 to protest the eviction of farmers from farmland in South Central Los Angeles, and in 2009, she was arrested in southwest West Virginia while protesting mountaintop removal.
It’s all part of how this works. A celebrity gets involved and the public’s suddenly all ears (or eyeballs). Musician Joan Baez was twice arrested in 1967 for blocking the entrance to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, California (she spent over a month in jail). Actor Danny Glover was arrested in April 2010 for participating in a labor union protest of the Sodexo food company.
But the record holder for celebrity activist arrests? Probably actor Martin Sheen, who in an Actor’s Studio interview told James Lipton he’d been arrested 64 times for protests (and he’s been arrested twice since).
Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.