Corrupt or myopic, many people
in the film industry have collaborated on getting tobacco
into 75% of U.S. movies since 1999. Now that we know
the deadly effect this exposure has on our kids, it’s
time for the film community to adopt reasonable, effective
solutions. Silence is no longer an option. The players:
promote and distribute films. Once fiercely independent
principalities, major studios are now owned by giant
media conglomerates. If studios simply announced they
would not distribute kid-rated movies with smoking,
this problem would be solved tomorrow. Here are their
scorecards on tobacco.
• Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is Hollywood's lobbying arm. Its job is to help the industry make as much money with as few restrictions as possible. The MPAA also runs the rating system. It could protect hundreds of thousands of kids by rating new movies with smoking "R.” Why won’t it?
finance and package films. If they think smoking or
other tobacco promotion makes it easier to raise money
or sell the film, they will encourage it. If they think
it makes their lives harder (for example, if it gives
the movie an “R”) they will discourage it.
Think they need motivation? Check out these track records.
supervise the actual making of the film. They decide
exactly what is shown and done on screen. Unless, that
is, the studio gets involved. These directors delivered
the most tobacco impressions to U.S. theater audiences
in recent years. Why? Since 2004, more than twenty
other directors have kept their multiple projects
adapt or originate the script that tells the movie’s
story, but most have no power to protect their screenplays
from being changed. However, many writers with the most
smoking characters since 2004 seem to be very much in
charge: they produced or directed the film, too.
take all of the footage shot by the director and assemble
the final film, frame by frame. Smoking, particularly
images of stars smoking specific brands, cannot appear
on screen unless the editor selects the precise shot.
Here are world-class editors who recently had to make
in a scene because the director invites or tells them
to. Top stars may confuse their addictions with their
gifts and think the smoking is their idea. Supporting
actors, on the other hand, are just trying to do their
jobs and get the next one. Here are the thirty actors
most likely to be seen smoking on screen since 2004.
are mentioned along with actors, directors and producers
in tobacco industry documents about product placement
in the recent past. Do they have the influence tobacco
companies assume they do? If so, they can exert it to
keep tobacco branding off the set. A list of Hollywood’s
top tobacco brand wranglers.