Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Get Off My Yellow Brick Road...

Okay, I'm writing an industry blog that's been bubbling around my head lately. But first, a disclaimer: I love Australia. It's a beautiful country that I would love to go back to someday. The people I met there and those I know here are lovely. And there are some wonderful film actors from Down Under, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Toni Collette...but that said...

One can't help but notice the number of new US TV shows headlined by Aussie and British actresses these past two years. Yes, there are actors as well, True Blood's Ryan Kwanten comes to mind, but I'm most disturbed by the number of females filling roles that American actresses could easily be doing. For those who don't know this, it is virtually impossible for an American to work as an actor in Britain or Australia...even in roles AS Americans. However, here, producers have willy nilly to hire anyone from anywhere. Whose fault is it? Most likely, it's SAG's. They are more than happy to increase their numbers and collect a percentage of an Aussie paycheck...but for a union that is supposed to be supporting its members, this seems wrong to me. Shows like Fringe, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Chuck, and the canceled Bionic Woman are all headlined by foreign females and while I wouldn't say any of them are BAD (okay, two of those four I'm not a fan of at all), I could name 10 actresses that I KNOW PERSONALLY who could fill those roles, not to mention the thousands I don't know. So why is there such an explosion of Australians on our TV sets? Honestly, I don't understand. I've been asking around and people say, "they want new talent," which doesn't make sense because we have certainly not exhausted our American talent pool, "they are better actors," which is just bullshit, "they're more attractive," come on...Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:
It's not fair. I guess it's not SO surprising that in a time when so many jobs are lost overseas in every industry in America, the entertainment biz is no different. But I want to think our unions actually care about protecting the interests of their current members and their fellow citizens. And while it's mostly "pretty people" that get the import and don't really effect me directly, I genuinely feel for my fellow thespians and wish SAG would step up and support us all. It's not just about money, SAG, it's about the art form we love and want the most opportunities possible to practice in our own country.

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