Seth Rogen: Film Studios and Streaming Giants “Hate Each Other” Amidst Hollywood Writers’ Strike
Seth Rogen, a renowned actor, writer, and executive producer, has shed light on the ongoing dispute between film studios and streaming giants, stating that their inability to find common ground is due to their mutual animosity. As the Hollywood writers’ strike enters its 100th day without any sign of resolution, Rogen believes that the studios and streaming platforms “hate each other,” hindering progress in negotiations.
For the first time since 1960, both actors and writers are on strike, causing a standstill in the film and TV industry and wreaking financial havoc in Los Angeles. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) represents traditional film studios like Disney, Universal, and Warner Brothers, as well as streaming giants such as Amazon and Netflix, in negotiations. However, Rogen highlights that these entities have vastly different priorities.
Rogen revealed, “The studios haven’t even spoken to each other, is what I’ve heard. So not only does it seem as though the writers and actors have a great distance to go when it comes to the studios, I think the studios have a great distance to go, probably a greater one, when it goes to them getting on the same page. These are people who hate each other. To think that Universal has the same priorities as Netflix is insane.”
The actor’s concern lies in the studios’ inability to present a coherent and unified proposal due to their internal conflicts and divergent priorities. Rogen, known for his roles in films like “Superbad,” “Pineapple Express,” and “Knocked Up,” has firsthand experience in the industry as both a performer and a producer.
The strike, initiated by actors and writers, revolves around several issues, with dwindling pay and concerns about Artificial Intelligence (AI) controls being the primary sticking points. Sheryl Lee Ralph, an Emmy-nominated actress, expressed her worries about AI’s impact on creativity in filmmaking. She emphasized the importance of human artistry, stating, “If we can all be artificially generated, that’s frightening. We need something that’s far more important. We need the art of human beings.”
Ralph also mentioned her willingness to sell her digital likeness for posthumous use, as long as she provides consent and receives compensation. She stated, “If I die and somebody wants to scan my body before I die, they can scan it for a price to make sure that generations after me are not left out of whatever money somebody else makes on my image. I don’t want somebody to take my image, repurpose it, put another face on it, and I get nothing from it. Just be fair. Compensate me.”
Flawless AI, one of the leading AI companies in the film industry, has developed TrueSync, a system that enhances dubbing solutions for translated films. TrueSync utilizes generative AI to alter actors’ mouth movements, synchronizing them with alternate dialogue. Nick Lynes, the CEO of Flawless AI, acknowledges the public’s fear surrounding AI in film but emphasizes the importance of consent and compensation for using existing creations.
Justine Bateman, a writer and director, has actively participated in the strike and views the debate in binary terms. She believes that using generative AI instead of human actors is driven by greed and poses a threat to the industry. Bateman criticizes the creation of “Frankenstein performances” where characters can be ordered to resemble famous individuals and perform with various accents.
The Hollywood writers’ strike has already become one of the longest and most intense in history. Many anticipate that it will continue well into the autumn, disrupting TV broadcast schedules, film promotion tours, and the early part of the awards season. With no end in sight, the strike has become a marathon battle for the industry.