'La La Land' director hopes 'some good' will come of Hollywood strike

Agence France-Presse - Agence France-Presse
'La La Land' director hopes 'some good' will come of Hollywood strike
Director Damien Chazelle arrives for the 80th annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 10, 2023.
AFP / Frederic J. Brown

VENICE, Italy — Damien Chazelle, who heads the jury at the Venice Film Festival that kicked off Wednesday, hopes Hollywood will get over its current crisis and said he was confident that movies will survive the AI revolution. 

Hollywood has been brought to a standstill by a combined writers and actors strike — primarily over pay and concerns over the impact of AI technology.

Stars such as Bradley Cooper ("Maestro") and Emma Stone ("Poor Things") are unable to attend their premieres in Venice since they are barred from publicity work. 

"It's not great, Hollywood is going through a rough time now," said Chazelle, director of "La La Land" and "Babylon," a few hours before the opening of the festival. "I hope it's for the best, that something good will come out of it. I think some of the things people are striking for had to be addressed. It's sad that it came to this but I understand."

The strike has shut down massive productions including "Gladiator" and "Mission: Impossible" sequels and delayed releases including "Dune 2," pushed back to March.

Related: Fewer stars, more scandal at 80th Venice Film Festival

Chazelle said he understood the anxiety around AI — which many fear could lead to computer-generated actors and scripts replacing humans — but he said some of the fears may be overblown.

"It's important that we know exactly what we're going to do with AI. It's hard to predict at the moment," he said. "I don't think it will really change the art of cinema. People have some apocalyptic ideas about it. I agree it's a major technological change like the internet or radio, and it will overturn a lot of things, but the art will survive."

Chazelle, who has French and US nationality, said he would consider making a movie in France if Hollywood remained blocked, but jokingly added: "They have strikes in France, too!"

His jury will be judging a slate of 23 films, including entries from beloved directors Michael Mann, Sofia Coppola, and Pablo Larrain of "Jackie" fame. 

Asked about his approach to leading the jury, Chazelle said with a laugh: "I haven't earned the right to be a tyrant yet, so I'll be democratic."

RELATED: Bradley Cooper's 'Maestro' among 23 films vying for the Golden Lion at 80th Venice Film Festival

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