Don’t You Dare Try to Make an AI Brian Cox

In the Hollywood strikes, Logan Roy would most definitely be on the studios’ side—but Brian Cox is loudly and proudly supporting his fellow actors. The Succession star showed his support for the SAG-AFTRA strike Friday in England, giving a rousing speech about the dangers of AI for actors. “The worst aspect is the whole idea of AI and what AI can do to us,” he warned the crowd.

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Though British productions use Equity contracts rather than SAG-AFTRA contracts—that’s why there are still movies and TV shows filming across the pond despite the strike—Equity actors gathered Friday to show their support for the American union’s strike. Cox spoke at the rally, beginning his speech by sharing a message he received from a fellow actor currently in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The performer, Cox said, has “a reasonable part in a TV show,” but is currently on “a supporting artist’s contract.” 

“Now, I don’t know what that means—a supporting artist contract. But it seems to cover a multitude of sins in Relationship to the artist,” Cox said. “It seems to be an endless diminution of who we are as artists.”

Cox then turned his focus to “the whole business of artificial intelligence,” again referencing his friend currently in negotiations with the AMPTP. “He was told in no unfirm terms that they would keep his image and do what the fuck they like with it,” Cox said. “Well, that is a completely unacceptable position, and that is a position that we should be really fighting against.” As the crowd cheered, Cox went on: “That is the worst aspect. The wages are one thing, but the worst aspect is the whole idea of AI and what AI can do to us.”

Cox slipped into the third person to describe all the things that AI could potentially make his likeness do onscreen. “I was on a program the other night, and I was given a list of things that artificial intelligent Brian Cox was going to say,” he said. “The artificial intelligent Brian Cox was gonna do animal impersonations. I’ve never done a fucking animal impersonation in my life. And I wouldn’t know where to fucking begin.” 

Channeling Logan’s vigor on the ATN floor, Cox ended his rousing speech with a warning for his fellow actors. “Now, this is gonna happen to everybody. Nobody’s exempt in this,” he said. “On a film, on a movie, on a TV show, that’s where they’ll get you, and that’s what we have to stop!” So if you ever see Brian Cox braying like a donkey, know that you’re watching AI—and not the real thing.

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