Spoilers thought the light was still yellow.

No, not those kind of vehicles. We’re talking about film features. There’s an idea for a film, the film is being shopped around town and finally gets sold with a big name actor attached to it. The idea for the film becomes secondary as the intention is no longer to bring the story to the big screen. The idea is now to enrich the actor’s career first, which means there will be scenes changed or added just to give the actor a chance to shine. That’s not necessarily bad, right?

It doesn’t have to be. You’re bringing a big star into your movie, you want to use them and offer them a juicy role for them to sink their teeth into. But when you have to change the plot significantly to appease your star, filmmakers run the risk of losing their grip and letting your star drive the film. At that point, the film can either get better… or more often than not, the film just becomes a vanity project in which the protagonist becomes the sole focus point of every scene. They get the iconic line, they get to come out winning in a race, they get to tell off the antagonist and they get to save everyone.

Basically, they appear in scenes that were meant for other characters to shine or get more scenes added and get the spotlight instead regardless of what the plot was calling for at that point. Any logic or rules that were established in the film earlier don’t work anymore. If the movie had established a secondary character as having a personal conflict they needed to overcome, suddenly the protagonist is there doing it for them. If the protagonist’s role involved a cooperation with another character, that is changed to them overcoming things on their own. If for any reason the story was supposed to end with the protagonist ended up dead, defeated or in disgrace, that is changed to force a winning scenario.

Can a good movie come out of it? It’s possible. There are big names out there that will drive most films further than the filmmakers expect it. But in principle, you’re at best sharing producer credits with the big name performer. At worst, there’s plenty of examples of films were completely changed as a result to become almost indistinguishable from other features out there. There’s a difference between adding changes to the filmmaker’s original vision, which should be part of the process, and the star actor hijacking the entire thing.

I do agree that filmmakers should take feedback, and a lot of memorable scenes have come from it. But there’s been flops, and the enormous amount of resources that have gone down the tube while other independent filmmakers can’t get enough funding for original ideas is appalling. Of course, you should also make the point that filmmaker should be responsible enough to stop driving up the production costs before exceeding the national debt of several countries combined – but that might be a topic for a different rant.

That will do for now.