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Viewers Should be Able to Sub in Any Character From an Actor’s Repertoire

Grant Follett

Computer generated imagery - or, as I like to call it, ‘CGI’ – enables movie makers to do amazing things. It can insert characters long after the actor who originally played that character has died, or worse, aged. It creates realistic dinosaurs, monsters, Gods. Studios can save dozens of dollars in felt and broomsticks by animating the Muppets. CGI means Robert DeNiro can play a young guy in The Irishman rather than that part being an annoying opportunity to discover the next Robert DeNiro.


But, as every mad scientist or greedy industrialist has asked just before unleashing something that leads humanity to the brink of Armageddon, are we using this technology to the maximum extent we could?


That’s why streaming services should enable viewers to pick which character from an actor’s

previous work appears in any given film.


This would be a feature you pick before you watch a movie, like the subtitle language. Any character an actor has played can be subbed in. Already seen Casino Royale? Check out what it would be like if James Bond was Daniel Craig’s detective from Knives Out. What if, in The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep’s lifetime dream was to design a coat made of 101 dalmatians? Wouldn’t Brokeback Mountain be even more powerful if Jake Gyllenhaal couldn’t quit the Joker?


For those naysayers saying nay it cannae be done m’lord, well Hollywood has already shown it can. They could CGI Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump into historical events. Why not CGI Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump into Apollo 13?


This is the ultimate fan service; possibilities limited only by the imagination of any given Reddit

thread. Darth Vader in Field of Dreams? Harley Quinn in the Wolf of Wall Street? Tom Cruise’s young cocky hothead from Cocktail subbed into Top Gun to replace Tom Cruise’s young cocky hothead? The impossible becomes possible.


Over time, the streaming service algorithms will pick up the trends in what fans want and start

suggesting improvements to classic movies in advance. As the Salem witch trials taught us, nothing beats the wisdom of crowds. We’ll approach what sociologists call ‘the streaming event horizon’. In three years, Avengers End Game will still be the most lucrative movie of all time, but now Black Widow is Scarlett Johansson’s character from Marriage Story.


Best yet, this takes the power away from the director and gives it back to the people. Ever wonder why ‘director’ and ‘dictator’ have the same number of letters? And sort of start and end the same? Exactly! Hey, directors - you’re not the boss of us. The days of you telling us what story you want to tell are over. Sure, Denzel Washington was good in Crimson Tide, but what about Denzel playing Malcolm X? Let’s see Gene Hackman handle that. Especially if Hackman’s actually a basketball coach from a small town in Indiana. Now that’s a movie.

If you enjoyed today’s moot, check out more of Grant’s writing on his website. If you are feeling generous, consider donating to the Salvation Army, Grant’s charity of choice.

*For each moot, we generate a cover image using  DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'Viewers Should be Able to Sub in Any Character From an Actor’s Repertoire' in the style of Andy Warhol, Grant's favorite artist.*

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