Emily Blunt rages against algorithms

Emily Blunt in The Girl On The Train
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Oppenheimer and The Fall Guy star Emily Blunt has some choice words about algorithm-based decision-making in Hollywood.

Don’t get Oppenheimer and The Fall Guy actor Emily Blunt started on algorithms. There may be some sectors of Hollywood that rely on computer programs to make filmmaking decisions, but Blunt is vocally opposed to the whole practice.

“Some new things frustrate me: algorithms, for example,” Blunt said in an interview with Vanity Fair Italy (via Variety). “I hate that fucking word, excuse the expletive! How can it be associated with art and content? How can we let it determine what will be successful and what will not?”

Blunt then went on to cite an example where AI-based number-crunching falls down: Oppenheimer. How could a computer predict that a slow-paced drama about a scientist and a big bomb become a billion dollar hit?

“I was in a three-hour film about a physicist, which had the that impact it had – the algorithms probably wouldn’t have grasped it,” Blunt said. “My hope is that Oppenheimer and similar projects are not considered anomalies, that we stop translating creative experience into diagrams.”

Ryan Gosling, Blunt’s co-star in The Fall Guy, also chimed in.

“You can’t beat an algorithm at its job,” he said. “And this, paradoxically, forces me to be more human, to choose ‘handmade’ projects like The Fall Guy, which is based on personal experiences, our footprints and our stories, which we poured into the characters.”

It’s a wonder whether Blunt had read this week’s story about A Knight’s Tale 2, a sequel that Netflix ultimately passed on because its algorithm predicted that it would be a flop with audiences.

“I pitched it to Sony because they own the rights,” the first film’s director Brian Helgeland said, “and it seemed like they were interested in making it with Netflix, releasing it as a Netflix movie. My understanding is that Netflix tested this sequel idea through their algorithms, which indicated that it would not be successful.”

That picture above is of Emily Blunt reacting to that story. (Not really.)

The Fall Guy is out in UK cinemas on the 2nd May.

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