The Actor Paradox


Originally published July 11, 2020 on


Isn’t it interesting that actors aren’t actors in the world of the films they act in? It must be tricky for actors, notorious for their inflated egos, to pretend they themselves don’t exist. It must also create a confusing work ethic whereby, essentially, their work is pretending they don’t work. This is highly problematic in films such as The Avengers. The Marvel Universe is home to a smorgasbord of countless superheroes, but very few actors. Indeed, Benedict Cumberbatch cannot exist as an actor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, nor can Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and countless others. However, the characters of these films must watch something in their spare time, and it can’t be the same stuff we watch (with them in it!). Just think about the extensive list of prolific and accomplished actors attached to the Marvel franchise, and you might comprehend all the films that can’t exist in their universe. Does the Marvel Cinematic Universe have fewer films, or does it have different films? And does this logic also extend to the crew? Can Matt the boom operator and Pete the catering chief work as boom operators and caterers in the same cinematic universe they help to create? Probably not. 

If only we could enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we could watch some amazing movies that haven’t been made in this universe. And why stop at Marvel? We could enter the universe of any film and watch the subsequent films that only exist in that film’s universe, and then we could go inside the cinematic universes of those films. A babushka doll of cinematic universes that never ends. And herein lies the solution to the crippling creative cancer plaguing Hollywood that sees it producing only an abundance of sequels and remakes. Rather than making these uninspiring hotchpotches, film directors should be investing their time into trying to get inside the universes of pre-existing films and stealing the DVDs and Blu-rays of films that only exist in the universes of those specific films. Who knows what they’ll find? 

To do this crossover successfully, film directors should enlist the help of film extras (those people just hanging in the background). Film extras are the only kind of human that can exist in all the film universes as the same identity (with the exception of musicians, for some reason, but let’s not disturb them). If we can find a way to allow film extras to enter all the universes they’ve existed inside of and procure their respective films and TV shows, this might just be the year we discover a million brilliant films. It’s exactly the kind of entertainment and intellectual stimulation we need in the age of COVID-19. Film extras (our unsung heroes) would have to be careful so as not to be caught. We wouldn’t want a character from that cinematic universe catching one of them. I can just imagine them at a Blockbuster Video, trying to borrow some DVDs and Blu-rays. The guy at the counter shouts, “hey!”, and then they’ll be stuck in cinematic universe jail for interdimensional trespassing. 

So how about we stop making more films and, instead, let’s try and infiltrate current film universes for a whole array of new classics. It shouldn’t be too hard. We’ll just need an interdimensional lawyer to understand trespassing and film piracy laws. And maybe a bag of crisps so we have something to snack on.

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