Screen legend Susan Sarandon says the entertainment industry’s “corporate take” ushered in a culture of unimaginative remakes and reboots and is one of the root causes of Hollywood’s sexism, racism, and ageism.
During a panel discussion about the future of filmmaking on Friday at the Tropfest short film festival, Sarandon said her industry’s reliance on reboots is due to a “lack of imagination” and that narrow-minded thinking is but a byproduct of the “corporate takeover of making films.”
“This is why we have so much sexism and racism and ageism in Hollywood,” she said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a lot of businessmen that are making decisions, not people who necessarily love movies. This is where you get casting by how many followers you have on Instagram.”
Sarandon, who told the crowd that after a four decade-spanning career she’s now “on the outside of Hollywood,” also decried today’s “incredibly watered down” films that are a direct result of production houses’ failed attempt to appeal to everyone. She praised streaming giant Netflix, among other internet-based film content platforms, for being better equip at catering to specific audiences.
“They don’t need to appeal to everybody,” the 71-year-old star said. “So you’re seeing braver, sexier, weirder, shocking things … which is really exciting.”
Indeed, the Thelma and Louis star is only echoing concerns made by the likes of Oscar-winning actors Michael Caine and Emma Thompson, who blamed major Hollywood studios for aggressively hiring young actors and actresses based on the size of their social media following, rather than on any actual acting ability.
“We’re casting actors who have big [social media] followings so the studios can use their followings to sell their movie,” two-time Oscar-winner Thompson told the Telegraph. “The actors are becoming attached in the sort of business way to their social media profiles, and I think that’s a disaster.”
“These days, they just say, ‘I’m going to be an actor because I want to be rich and famous.’ And then they do a little part on television and everyone knows who they are,” said two-time Oscar-winner and British screen icon Michael Caine.
That’s says nothing of the fact that Hollywood’s penchant for remakes, reboots, and sequels of 80s movies has left only three of the top 15 highest-grossing films of the Reagan-era that haven’t received a present-day revamp.