There are a few things that come to mind when one thinks of “Disney”. About ten years ago, some of those things might have been classic cartoons or animated films, but nowadays, a few prestigious Marvel Comics stars will be much more common names.
But whether its princesses or superheroes, it’s an image with enough emotional depth and welcoming heart that everyone can get behind. It’s something welcoming to children everywhere, of all ages – and sometimes, with enough depth and personality for adults to get behind it too.
This is not only due to the success of Disney’s media and advertising campaigns, but due to the strict rules the company imposes on all of its employees to keep the company’s smiling image. And, according to Screenrant, among the harshest of these restrictions are the ones placed on the actors of the MCU. Some of these go beyond “rules” and into the realm of “invasions of public freedoms”. It gets pretty shocking, and pretty darn intrusive to boot.
Disney has often shown what it’s willing to do if an actor falls outside of the company image – something that was very recently proven yet again with the axing of Guardians director James Gunn after a controversial series of tweets made by Gunn almost ten years ago. But active actors have to do more than just not get in trouble – there are required community service hours they must put in to keep their contracts. If you’re willing to look for it, you’ll easily find a number of photos of actors Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans (as well as many others) decked out in full costume, visiting children’s hospitals and giving back to their communities. It’s certainly nice of them to do these things, but knowing that these actions are also a requirement of their jobs makes the efforts feel quite a bit less charitable.
What’s more, the company has you on beck and call. When it’s time for reshoots, you’re coming back, no matter how important it is that you keep doing what you’re doing. This was bad news of Idris Elba, who plays Heimdall in the Thor films. When it came time for reshoots of Thor 2, Heimdall was filming Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom in South Africa. According to an interview with the actor via Telegraph (which by itself paints a bleak picture of what it’s like to work with Disney), this movie was very important to him, and he wanted nothing more than to refuse the call. But upon asking his agent, he was told, “You have to. It’s part of the deal,” and so he went.
But it’s more than just reshoots: The actors must also instantly be on standby in case Disney needs them to report to the set of another film for a ten-second cameo, or if some third-party that’s partnered up with Marvel needs them for even a single toy commercial. No matter where they are at the time, if Disney says so, they must go where the company tells them to.
But perhaps what’s even weirder is how the studio handled Infinity War. With past accidents from actors resulting in parts of Marvel films being leaked prior to release, Disney wanted to take every precaution imaginable to ensure nothing of the sort could happen with Infinity War. After all, with all the interviews and talks the actors would be participating in during the weeks leading up to the film’s release, there’s plenty of time for one slip of the tongue to let loose a few million-dollar-secrets.
So how did they make sure the actors wouldn’t spoil the film? Simple: Keep them from knowing what happened.
During the filming of Infinity War, next to none of the actors involved were given a complete script. What’s more, many of the actors were kept in the dark about the scenes and shots they would be delivering until moments before filming would begin.
Spider-Man actor Tom Holland revealed that he didn’t even know his character would be turning to dust in the film until moments before shooting began, which makes his incredible portrayal of the death all the more impressive.
So yes, you do get a lot of money, and you get to be a star recognized and idolized by millions worldwide, and you probably get into a lot of sweet parties. But you also forfeit a bit of your free will, you can never make a public mistake, you’re required to maintain a hyper-strict diet and exercise plan, and sometimes, they don’t even tell you what happens in the movies you’re acting in.
Is it worth it? For some, absolutely. But for others, definitely not. It’s a lot of pressure all time time. One slip-up and your career is over. Walking a line this thin for as long as these actors have been doing so almost seems like an inhuman effort.
An effort that only the superhuman would be able to withstand.