James Innes-Smith

Who needs Hollywood actors anyway?

Striking stars are naïve if they think they can hold back the technological tide

  • From Spectator Life
[Getty Images]

For the past week Hollywood’s film and television actors have been on strike, plunging Los Angeles’s most famous industry into chaos. Performers joined screenwriters (who have been striking since May) on the picket line after talks broke down in what has become the first simultaneous strike in more than 60 years.

The strikes have attracted plenty of headlines, not least when the cast of Oppenheimer walked out of its UK premiere last week. But do we really care if studios have to shelve Fast and Furious 15, or if the latest superhero movie fails to take flight – or indeed if the entire cocaine-encrusted edifice crumbles into the Pacific Ocean?

Hollywood has been a busted flush ever since the moguls decided the only way to maintain their mansions was to appeal to the least discerning demographic, namely hyperactive teenagers

The truth is, Hollywood has been a busted flush ever since the moguls decided the only way to maintain their mansions was to appeal to the least discerning demographic of all, namely hyperactive teenagers. Bar the odd patronising ‘heritage’ movie designed to make old people feel fuzzy, studios gave up on adult audiences a long time ago.

As grown-ups we demand involving stories that move us in some way; far easier and more lucrative for the studios just to give the kids more of what they want. Those grim out-of-town multiplex cinemas have come to resemble industrial units where young, concentration-averse brains are loaded with buckets of sugar while being blasted with 89 minutes of epilepsy-inducing ‘product’. 

Up until the pandemic the studios remained cock-a-hoop – millennials were their most lucrative audience yet, and while producers still relied on star quality to bring in the punters, with AI that could all be about to change. The formulaic nature of so many Hollywood scripts means that AI can rustle up a half decent action movie in the time it takes a real screenwriter to question their integrity.

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