Emma Thompson is not interested in how many followers you have on Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram or whatever else it is that Hollywood’s young elite is using to bolster their stardom these days. In fact, she thinks such practices are a “disaster.”
At a recent reception for British Academy Award winners, the Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter sounded off on the influx of social media reach dictating who’s hot and hip – and thus who is getting cast in new roles – and she’s not happy about it. The Telegraph reports that at the event, which included starry attendees Prince Charles, Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Colin Firth and Sir Michael Caine, Thompson commented “that one of the things that ‘really worries’ her about social media is ‘we’re casting actors who have big followings so the studios can use their followings to sell their movie.”
For Thompson, the next generation’s attachment to social media and its supposed currency – and the way the industry rewards it – isn’t the best way to nurture new talent. “The actors are becoming attached in the sort of business way to their social media profiles, and I think that’s a disaster,” she added. And yet, what Thompson’s comments ignore is the ability for social media reach to actually help bolster careers by upping engagement with fans, or even to establish rising stars when it comes to newbies who turn to such channels to form a fanbase before Hollywood at large even knows who they are.
Caine seemed to somewhat agree with Thompson’s worries (at least, as they apply to the fame aspect of social media), commenting, “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. They can’t really act. I knew I wasn’t going to be rich, I knew I wasn’t going to be famous, I knew I wasn’t going to be a movie star, I just wanted to be a good actor, that’s all.”
Check out a recent Thompson film about a time way, way before social media, with a clip from “Effie Gray,” embedded below: