Charlie Kaufman has blasted Hollywood studio bosses for “disgusting” profits and pay packages all while they “don’t do anything”.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter was speaking at Sarajevo Film Festival this week when he called out the pay of executives that put profits ahead of art.
“It’s disgusting, because they don’t do anything,” Kaufman told Variety. “No, they do damage is what they do. They do damage to the art form. And by doing that, they do damage to humanity. And if everything is about the bottom line for them and saving money, then there’s nothing left to the art form.”
The screenwriter was in Sarajevo to receive a lifetime achievement award, and has been spotted out and about wearing a T-shirt reading “Writers Guild on Strike”. Variety reported that during an interview he revealed a second layer with a WGA-branded T-shirt underneath.
While speaking at a masterclass on Monday (August 14), Kaufman also said that the different between art and “conventional Hollywood fare” is “the difference between truth and bullshit”.
“Studios are going to continue to exist and people are going to continue to make garbage because garbage at this point… makes a fortune,” he said.
Kaufman elaborated while speaking to Variety, saying: “[Studio heads] are not ushering in any kind of beautiful work by their presence. They’re kind of doing the opposite of that. And I think it’s evidenced in what Hollywood produces, and how the more expensive a movie is, the less value it has to the culture,” he said.
Asked whether he think studio bosses are too out of touch to fully understand the labour talks, he said: “I think they grasp it. I think they know that their money comes from other people not getting money.”
Hollywood writers and actors are currently striking simultaneously over issues related to base pay and residuals in the age of streaming, along with safeguards against the use of artificial intelligence in the industry.
It marks the first time in more than 60 years that actors and writers have gone on strike simultaneously.
The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind screenwriter’s comments come after Mark Ruffalo criticised Hollywood “fat cats” who have “created an empire of billionaires and believe that we are no longer of value”.