Friday, July 28, 2023

Movie Quote of the Day (‘The Player,’ In Which a Studio Exec Anticipates Today’s Strikes)

Griffin Mill [played by Tim Robbins]: “I was just thinking what an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process. If we could just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we've got something here.”—The Player (1992), screenplay by Michael Tolkin, directed by Robert Altman

I won’t engage in any spoilers here, but Griffin Mill carries his idea on how to “eliminate the writer from the artistic process” quite far.

I’m not saying that today’s studio executives have the same solution in mind. But the screenwriters and actors currently on strike feel like they’re being cut out of the revenue streams that developed during the pandemic.

With the advent of CGI, pictures often feature actors (admittedly in truncated roles) who are dead, such as Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. (See this very interesting Screen Rant list of other notables—like Laurence Olivier, Marlon Brando and Christopher Reeve.)

Now, with artificial intelligence, the lowliest of Hollywood actors—scrambling just to appear as extras—believe that with facial recognition software, they won’t be compensated even for these fleeting appearances onscreen.

Why resort to murder when you can terminate difficult creative partners—not to mention employees insisting on their rights—with the click of a mouse?

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