Writers vs Actors
Only slightly younger than the eternal struggle between good and evil, the cold war between writers and actors has been going on for centuries. Sure, they collaborate for mutual benefit, but both would rather they didn’t need the other.
Why is that, you ask?
Well, the typical writer tends to have some kind of terrible disfigurement which prevents them from being on screen. I, for example, am a dead fish, which makes it really difficult to get auditions. I would love to act but the parts just aren’t there. If writers could act in the stuff they wrote, they would.
Actors, on the other hand, carry the burden of beauty, which prevents them from getting any real work done. Their level of physical attractiveness has either stymied their cognitive development or they’re too busy having sex with everyone to sit down and really think about why Iron Man wants to sign the Sokovia Accords but Captain America doesn’t.
In the modern day, actors are clearly winning. Natalie Portman recently stated that Ashton Kutcher made three times more than her on the seminal movie No Strings Attached (seminal in the sense that it’s about fucking), but spare a thought for the writer of that film. Wait a minute, you can’t, because you don’t know who she is. If you did you’d know that she’s been in a mental institute since she handed in the final draft of that script, her breakdown apparently caused by the stress of having to navigate the complicated dynamic between the two protagonists of the film, Emma and Adam. Can they maintain a purely physical relationship? What if they fall for each other? I feel like I can’t go on just thinking about it.
But things weren’t always like this. It used to be that the writers were in charge. Heard of a little guy called Billy Shakespeare? Of course you have. Now try to name me an actor from the 16th or 17th century. No, Shakespeare acting in his own productions does NOT count.
Again, like the eternal struggle between good and evil, the balance of power between actors and writers has never been completely evenly matched, but right now it’s in danger of swinging too far one way.
For a few years now, Hollywood has been trying to phase out writers completely so that they have more money to spend on child sacrifice rituals. So far this practice has been mostly confined to comedy films as they’re not expected to take much at the box office anyway, but ‘improvising’ is on the rise, and it’s like kryptonite for writers.
This film, for example, had no script. Zach Galifianakis was asked to just say whatever came into his head and then they edited it together in post production.
As you can see, improvising can be very dangerous. Mr Galifianakis became ‘locked-in’ here, listing literally everything he had ever heard of. They had to shoot over one hundred thousand hours of footage just so the editors could piece together a story. Understandably, that story was about mental illness.
There is, however, a small glimmer of hope for writers, and that’s because awards season has started. This is the time of year when actors get on stage and speak for themselves, often with disastrous consequences.
So far we have already seen Tom Hiddleston inadvertently transform into his alter ego, Thomas Humblebraglleston, when he dared to mention some of the work he does with UNICEF in an acceptance speech. Disgusting.
For some reason Meryl Streep took one of her obligatory podium appearances as an opportunity to declare that Mixed Martial Arts is not an art, even though the word art is in the title of the sport itself. You wouldn’t say football isn’t foot, would you? Of course it’s foot.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, robo-woman Evan Rachel-Wood turned up to one awards ceremony as the wrong gender, revealing her complete inability to operate in the real world without a script.
It might seem inevitable that as the powers that be in Hollywood are exposed to more and more of its actors speaking their own words, they will realise that improvisation is not a viable alternative to writing, but nothing is certain in this world.
Don’t forget this is the post-truth era (in case you haven’t heard), and we are about to inaugurate a president who is himself completely improvised. His TV shows were improvised. His policies are improvised. Even his head seems to be improvised; a confusing combination of colours and textures that can make you feel like you’re on acid if you look at it for too long (which is a good way to get your buzz on if you’re strapped for cash).
Now, more than ever, writers need to speak truth to power.
Hiddleston, shut up.
Streep, get down from there.
It’s for what?
Oh. I see.
No, I completely understand.
Sorry about that. I really liked you in Westwor…