So Megan Fox was fired from Transformers 3. Or she quit, depending on the gossip and spin you choose to believe. In either case, she’s gone and frankly…it doesn’t matter because she wasn’t the reason for the success of that film franchise.
I’m going to make a radical suggestion; with Megan Fox out, Hollywood has a chance to do the right thing. Take whatever ridiculous sum you were going to pay Megan Fox and put it into a benefits & retirement fund for the visual effects artists who are the REAL stars of a film like Transformers 3.
Critics may complain about ‘thrill ride’ movies but it’s impossible to argue two points. First, visual effects driven films and not actors like Megan Fox are responsible for the studio’s bottom line. Second, that the visual effects artists who create those effects are second class citizens in Hollywood who don’t receive comparable credit or benefits to other crafts.
As Rebecca Keegan points out in the latest issue of TIME magazine, visual effects were a vital part in nine out of ten of last year’s top grossing films but meanwhile the visual effects industry and the artists who work in it are struggling. Effects facilities are closing down and artists are being forced to move to find work and make ends meet.
It’s time for the studios to take care of the people who are making them money. It’s time to stop underpaying the hard working talent that drives profits and overpay¬¬ing the spoiled and irrelevant.
Do actors matter? Of course they do — in some projects. But – sorry, Shia – the actors in films like Transformers 3 or G.I. Joe : The Rise of Cobra could be swapped for any number of equally attractive stand-ins or stunt people and it wouldn’t hurt those movie’s grosses by a penny. In the upside down world of film, the actors get top billing and top pay and the anonymous artists putting the butts in seats are listed at the end of the credits and most don’t have a retirement fund.
Maybe VFX artists need to learn from actors, who at least know how to get press and get paid.
Do visual effects supervisors like John Knoll or Stephen Rosenbaum need to spend more time at cocaine fueled all night dance parties in order to make headlines? Does Dennis Muren need to refuse to come out of his trailer? Should Scott Squires start punching paparazzi on Melrose? Who does Jeffrey Okun need to throw a phone at? Should Industrial Light & Magic release a sex tape?
Unless you’re a VFX geek or a studio executive, most of you probably didn’t recognize a single name in the last paragraph. (Google ’em.) But you know who Megan Fox is, right?
And that’s exactly the problem…