In his close to three-decade-long career, Billy Burke has been a part of cult blockbusters like “Star Trek” and “Twilight” and the American actor believes the emergence of the franchise model has completely changed the dynamics of the movie business. The 52-year-old actor, who is best known for essaying the role of Charlie Swan in the popular “Twilight” movie series, said contrary to when he started, the focus on the success rate of a film has increased, which also influences the decisions made during the making.
“The dynamics of this business have mutated on so many levels since I first started working in it in the early ’90s. The emergence of the ‘franchise’ model in the feature film world has no doubt forever changed how and why movies get made and, to a great extent, whether or not they’ll have any chance at success,” Burke told PTI in an email interview. He said, while there is room for “well-told and compelling stories”, the struggle of people creating independent cinema is getting tougher.
“As with every industry that aims for mass consumption, we end up training the consumer into what they’re ‘supposed to’ like. That’s going to continue to become a greater and greater challenge for alternative filmmakers and audiences,” he added. While Burke credits streaming services for giving a platform to path-breaking independent stories, he also believes they will “over-saturate” the entertainment market.
“The advent of the now, ever-expanding streaming content has given us a ton of freedom of choice and given rise to an encouraging amount of more daring storytelling, but it may also continue to exponentially over-saturate the entertainment market. It’ll be interesting to see how we keep the interest of shrinking attention spans as these progressions go on,” he said. The actor, whose 2018 film “Breaking In” is having its TV premiere on Sunday on Sony PIX, said after acting in various mediums he has finally started developing his own stories.
“I’ve always been a writer. I don’t think there’s ever been a project I’ve worked on where I haven’t given a contribution to the material… “I’m concentrating mostly now on writing and developing some things of my own that I can manage more creative control over. That’s ultimately where I’d like to go from here.”
Burke has recently finished shooting for an independent project and moving ahead he said he would like to go behind the camera if he “could conjure the stamina it takes to direct”. “I love the creative aspect of it, but there are so many political and administrative components that are required,” he added.
– Interview by Shubha Dubey