Many of Hollywood’s best known one-dimensional actors are picketing movie studios over concerns that new 3-D technology will expose their limitations. The stars, including Steven Seagal, Jessica Alba, Hayden Christensen, and Scarlet Johansson, are backed by the biggest actors’ union, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), which represents 120,000 actors in movies, TV and other media.
‘It’s a de facto threat,’ according to Jack Krickler, a SAG spokesperson, ‘probably the biggest threat since the talkies. With 3-D, the audience can feel like they’re walking through a jungle, having huge alien creatures reaching out of the screen at them and watching objects whiz over their heads. How can Keanu Reeves doing his ‘acting’ compete with that.’
Digital 3-D technology has been hailed as the future of the motion picture industry, combined with the latest HD cameras and the growth of IMAX screens. High-profile 3-D movies like Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Christmas Carol’ and James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ are set to revolutionise how people experience cinema.
‘It’s the older actors you have to feel sorry for, the William Shatners and the Chuck Norris’ of this world,’ argues movie critic Roger Gerber. ‘You’re watching a terrific 3-D action scene, with bullets flying past your head, and then suddenly Ben Affleck stumbles into view. It’s like suspended animation, people just don’t need that amount of flatness coming right at them.’
‘There is talk of Van Damme and Seagal making a 3-D movie together. It’ll be like watching two wardrobes trying to walk down a flight of stairs,’ says Jack Krickler. Advocates of 3-D technology have argued that the best actors will raise their game accordingly.
‘The likes of Bruce Willis and even Christopher Walken have done enough art-house movies to be able to grab an audience’s attention, with a combination of smirking, scowling, yelling and general emoting that should see them through,’ argues producer Ted Murphy. ‘All they have to make sure is that they’re doing it more, possibly constantly, and they should be ok.’
Jack Krickler adds: ‘There just aren’t enough TV movies being made by people like Hallmark, for these other actors to go to. Larry Hagman, Bruce Boxleitner and Teri Garr have got the whole thing sown up!’