Wim Wenders and Thierry Fremaux on the SAG-AFTRA strike and the AI ​​Hollywood aftermath


While in the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon, German film master Wim Wenders said he shares Martin Scorsese’s deep concern about Hollywood’s obsession with sequels and concern about AI in line with American actors still on strike.

“Actors and writers are afraid of becoming obsolete,” Wenders said when addressing the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike during a press conference Saturday. The veteran screenwriter and director, who had two films screened at the Cannes Film Festival, “Perfect Days” in competition and “Anselm” in Special Screenings, received the Lumière Prize on Friday night during a star-studded ceremony hosted by the head of the festival. Thierry Fremauxwho is also the head of Cannes.

“With AI everything is done very quickly,” said Wenders. “You give three ideas and some ideas and the next day you have a new script that a lot of studio executives will want to use because that’s what they wanted. For the scriptwriters it would be the end.”

The filmmaker argued that the actors also have “reason to fight” because their data is not protected. “The data is convenient because it doesn’t create problems or make people sick,” Wenders said, alluding to the unauthorized use of portraits of actors.

Fremaux, who was sitting next to Wenders, echoed his comments, saying that “the universal dimension of the strike has been a little underestimated.” “France, which has a reputation for waging labor struggles, should look with admiration at what is happening in Hollywood because it is an important issue for our future (and our civilization).”

Profit sharing is another issue Wenders raised when addressing the SAG-AFTRA strike. “In addition to the dozens of big names who make gross and non-net profits (from box office grosses), all the other actors make very little or nothing,” he said, adding that “screenwriters and actors must be very careful to not to commit.” for very little.”

Wenders sounded like Scorsese when he talked about the major studios’ lack of support for authorial voices. Sequels are “killing the imagination and the idea of ​​cinema,” he said, citing “Fast & Furious” as an example of a long-running franchise.

Wenders, a politically engaged filmmaker who chaired the European Film Academy until 2020, has long been thinking about the future of cinema. In 1982 he directed the documentary “Room 666,” for which he interviewed filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, Jean-Luc Godard and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, asking them: “Is cinema a language on the verge of being lost, an art on the verge of be lost? die?”

Godard, who had already observed the trend toward sequels, had somewhat predicted the current situation, Wenders said. “He had a theory that American studios would make fewer and fewer movies and eventually they would make just one movie in total and it would be the movie that everyone on earth would need to see, and it would be the end.”

“I think the idea that a studio can limit risks by using ideas that have already borne fruit is totally stupid and voids the creative potential that exists,” Wenders said. “There are great screenwriters who have ideas and who are very frustrated because the chance of getting a studio for an original script is very small,” he said. In most cases, when a director comes on the scene, he is only asked to execute a “drawing that has already been done before.”

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