Patricia Arquette Slams AI At SAG-AFTRA & ACTRA TIFF Picket: “All We’re Going To Have Is Giant, Mega Marvel Movies”

SAG-AFTRA’s presence at TIFF continued into Saturday with a special picket outside Amazon offices here in Toronto with Canada’s commercial actors union ACTRA, who’ve been in a 501 day contract lockout with the country’s advertising agencies org.

Patricia Arquette, whose feature directorial debut Gonzo Girl, played on Friday night at the fest, showed up to show her support alongside SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who praised the Oscar winner for having a project under a SAG-AFTRA interim agreement.

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Arquette described the current standoff between actors and studios:

“What we got is a low-functioning dynamic, which is ‘I’m gonna get mine, and I don’t care what happens to you’ and have to shift to a high functioning dynamic which is ‘This is what I’d like, but I don’t want it, if it really hurts you.'”

“And this is really hurting people,” emphasized the actress.

Arquette told the crowd that she’s a fourth-generation actor, with a daughter who is a fifth-generation actor (Arquette’s daughter, Harlow Jane, stars in the Rebecca Miller directed, She Came to Me, opposite Anne Hathaway, Peter Dinklage and Marisa Tomei, due out this fall; also under a SAG-AFTRA agreement).

“People like my dad could not survive, could not feed kids, in the environment that we’re in today,” observed Arquette, “There has to be something that’s fair so that they’re (studios) not taking advantage of people.”

“Also, this AI situation is really critical, because first it will replace all the background actors, next it will replace all of the character actors, then they’ll build up movie stars from scratch, then eventually the bigger stars will get replaced by these new things,” said the Boyhood actress.

“The movie I just made (Gonzo Girl), is a movie about human beings, written by human beings, acted by human beings, and it’s a very human being story. If we let our industry and our former art go in the hands of AI, all we’re going to have is giant mega-Marvel movies. We’re going to have derivative movies that are stealing from the hearts of real artists. It’s not right.”

“Our work, say my work in True Romance, that was a specific thing, for a specific kind of medium. It was not training material. I was not paid to write training material, and I’m not giving away my training material, and you don’t have the right to steal my training material.”

Summed up Arquette, “Here we are taking a stand at a very critical moment, where we have to take a stand and I’m really proud of our union for taking a stand.”

Arquette’s film has been one of the few here at TIFF with stars appearing on stage due to its SAG-AFTRA interim agreement. Arquette showed up at the Gonzo Girl premiere in tow with her cast Willem Dafoe, Camilla Morrone and Zoë Bleu Sidel.

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