You know, at some point during production of the show involving an AI brought to life against its will that proceeds to wreak havoc as a result of its own soullessness, someone at Disney should’ve considered the optics of creating digital likenesses of its background actors and asked themselves, “Are we the baddies?”
In a startling but not altogether shocking development, NPR reports the body-scanning that occurred during production of “WandaVision” — without Disney informing the actors of how or even when their likenesses would be used. Worst of all, none of the actors expect to be paid a cent beyond their original day rate if their digital likenesses are used. If this sounds familiar, this is basically the worst case scenario as spelled out by SAG-AFTRA union leaders on the very day they officially announced the strike. According to SAG’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland at the time:
“…[The AMPTP] proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay, and their companies should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity on any project they want, with no consent and no compensation.”
It’s worth noting that the AMPTP denied the allegation in part, though acknowledged an interest in continued use of digital replicas. /Film’s Bill Bria previously wrote about how Michael Crichton’s film “Looker” predicted this exact scenario back in 1981, further proving the worth of writers, actors, and artists in general. The full NPR article is worth reading in full; it includes further reporting that other background actors had to sign non-disclosure agreements after submitting to such body scans. As writers and actors fight for their right to fair pay and continued work, the stakes have never been higher.