Pfister, Weaving, Bettany, Phoenix In Gaffgate

It has been a gaff-tastic past few days for actors and filmmakers alike with a couple of recent interview comments causing all sorts of a ruckus.

Wally Pfister
It began with cinematographer Wally Pfister, the lenser responsible for the incredible look of Christopher Nolan’s various films including this year’s “The Dark Knight Rises”. Pfister is famously not a fan of the move from film to digital and expressed his views a few months back in the Keanu Reeves-narrated documentary “Side by Side”.

On Tuesday he reportedly told The Herald Tribune (via CBM) that he was not a fan of the work by “Atonement” and “Anna Karenina” cinematographer Seamus McGarvey on this Summer’s “Marvel’s “The Avengers”.

“I thought The Avengers was an appalling film. They’d shoot from some odd angle and I’d think, why is the camera there? Oh, I see, because they spent half a million on the set and they have to show it off. It took me completely out of the movie. I was driven bonkers by that illogical form of storytelling.”

The original quote however appears to have been removed by the paper, while “The Avengers” director Joss Whedon responded to the comments at EW with the far more gracious “I’m sorry to hear it, I’m a fan”.

Hugo Weaving, Paul Bettany, Michael Bay
Then, came interview quotes from both Hugo Weaving and Paul Bettany about their voiceover work on the “Transformers” and “Iron Man” franchises respectively. Asked about voicing Megatron in “Transformers”, Weaving told Collider:

“It honestly was a two-hour voice job initially … It was one of the only things I’ve ever done where I had no knowledge of it, I didn’t care about it, I didn’t think about it. They wanted me to do it. In one way, I regret that bit. I don’t regret doing it, but I very rarely do something if it’s meaningless. It was meaningless to me, honestly. I don’t mean that in any nasty way. I did it…

My link to that and to Michael Bay is so minimal. I have never met him. I was never on set. I’ve seen his face on Skype. I know nothing about him, really. I just went in and did it. I never read the script. I just have my lines, and I don’t know what they mean. That sounds absolutely pathetic! I’ve never done anything like that, in my life. it’s hard to say any more about it than that, really.”

Meanwhile Bettany tells Digital Spy he “feels like a pirate… I walk in, I say some lines on a piece of paper for two hours, they give me a bag of money and I leave… I sort of feel guilty because at least acting can be exhausting, this is – I do nothing.” He adds he hasn’t even seen any of the “Iron Man” films (but to be fair he hasn’t seen much of his own filmography either) and he’s “plagued by fanboys who love Jarvis and… I’ve got no idea what they’re talking about.”

While Pfister’s comments seems like sour grapes, Weaving and Bettany especially just appeared to be answering honestly and even poking fun at the objective insanity of the whole system. Nevertheless the comments already drew one response – from “Transformers” director Michael Bay who subsequently deleted his response from his official site soon afterwards. Of course this is the Internet and nothing truly vanishes:

Do you ever get sick of actors that make $15 million a picture, or even $200,000 for voiceover work that took a brisk one hour and 43 minutes to complete, and then complain about their jobs? With all the problems facing our world today, do these grumbling thespians really think people reading the news actually care about trivial complaints that their job wasn’t ‘artistic enough” or “fulfilling enough”?

What happened to people who had integrity, who did a job, got paid for their hard work, and just smiled afterward? Be happy you even have a job – let alone a job that pays you more than 98% of the people in America. I have a wonderful idea for all those whiners: They can give their “unhappy job money” to a wonderful Elephant Rescue. it’s the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Africa. I will match the funds they donate.

Joaquin Phoenix
The most recent however was comments from Joaquin Phoenix in an extended feature for Interview Magazine. In one shot Phoenix may have essentially ruined his chances for nabbing awards recognition for his job in “The Master”. However it sounds like that wouldn’t upset him in the slightest. When asked “what are you going to do when they put you on the awards circuit for The Master”. Phoenix responded:

I think it’s bullshit. I think it’s total, utter bullshit, and I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t believe in it. It’s a carrot, but it’s the worst-tasting carrot I’ve ever tasted in my whole life. I don’t want this carrot. It’s totally subjective. Pitting people against each other . . . It’s the stupidest thing in the whole world.

It was one of the most uncomfortable periods of my life when Walk the Line was going through all the awards stuff and all that. I never want to have that experience again. I don’t know how to explain it and it’s not like I’m in this place where I think I’m just above it but I just don’t ever want to get comfortable with that part of things.