THE FILM AND entertainment industry is built on dreams, mythmaking, ambition and hustle. It also relies on obscene levels of jet fuel, sometimes ridiculous security details, overflowing entourages and demands for swag, booze, food and, er, puppies—commonly known as “riders”—that could prove to be one of the more curious cultural artefacts for future scholars to examine when they look back at the necrotic effects of late-stage capitalism.
To give you an idea, George Clooney had a hot tub and beach hut installed next to his trailer. Rihanna demanded an animal print rug and “icy-blue chiffon” curtains. Many actors and musicians specify types of food, snacks, drinks and flowers.
But now a group of UK stars are seeking to rein in the excess of celebrity riders by backing a campaign to improve sustainability in the film and television industry, reports The Guardian.
More than 100 actors have agreed to consider and reduce the carbon impact of requirements or conditions attached to their contracts, known as riders. The group includes Ben Whishaw, Mark Rylance, Harriet Walter, Juliet Stevenson, Gemma Arterton, David Harewood, Bill Nighy, Miranda Richardson, Paapa Essiedu, Bella Ramsey, Adrian Dunbar and Romola Garai.
Essiedu said: “This summer has brought into sharp focus the reality that climate disaster is not a problem of the future but one of the now. The accepted normal practices of the film industry are rife with waste and a lack of consciousness as to the damage we are causing our planet. But these practices can be challenged and changed.”
Rylance said the film industry was “notorious for its waste and unecological practices”, adding: “Just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean to say we can’t do anything.”
The Green Rider campaign was launched by the UK actors’ union Equity at the Edinburgh international television festival on Tuesday. The initiative will provide a framework for actors to use in negotiating better practices in the industry. They can add the green rider to their contracts to insist on a more sustainable approach, per The Guardian.
Actors can also negotiate specific clauses, such as rejecting private air travel, insisting on electrically powered vehicles or low-carbon train travel, opting for non-exclusive trailers or dressing rooms to reduce energy use, and recycling sets and costumes.
Now, of course, this is a long overdue initiative that’s not only good for the planet, it’s a prime opportunity for some celeb virtue signalling, and, at the very least, will also provide some respite for harried production runners who’ve previously had to double-time it across town because an actor suddenly had a craving for bibimbap. But while it’s easy to ridicule the actors and musicians who make these ridiculous demands, it may not always be their fault or even their demands, but rather the work of the gatekeepers and associated flaks that surround them.
I was once involved in a shoot with a prominent F1 driver that involved a detailed, though comparatively restrained rider, with requests for smoked salmon, natural yoghurt, kiwi fruit and Perrier. Annoying but not outrageous. Our poor creative director did a massive shop, running all over Melbourne to put together a magnificent spread that the driver barely looked at, let alone sampled. The request had come from his management and seemed to be more about creating the perception of luxury and prestige rather than anything the driver actually wanted.
Still, previously leaked celeb riders, especially those belonging to touring performing artists, do make for some voyeuristically headshaking reading. Here’s a look at some of the craziest ones.
During her Last Girl on Earth tour in 2010, Rihanna’s rider requested 11 dressing rooms and offices, including one with a “6ft comfortable couch (wide enough for her to stretch out on and sometimes take a nap)”. A “large throw rug must be plush and animal print … and CLEAN as she will walk on it barefoot”. Throw cushions must be “animal prints (cheetah, leopard) (NO sequins)”. Dark curtains should have “icy blue chiffon draped nicely on top/over”. Don’t she think missed anything there.
According to Digital Spy, Clooney had a custom-made beach hut installed next to his trailer while shooting the film Gravity in the UK. His retreat was located in a private landscape garden and included a hot tub, deck and basketball court. A soak after a game of pick-up does sound nice.
Queen Bey’s rider stipulated that her dressing room be heated to 25.6C and for her bathroom to be stocked with a “minimum of four brand new white towels”. The woman knows exactly what she wants.
Dude wanted twelve puppies. That’s an even dozen. Sounds about right.
This one is rather legendary: the band requested that every stop on their US tour have a bowl of M&M’s with the brown ones removed—hopefully the overworked roadies got those. The band later claimed they only added the colour specs so that they could work out which venues had actually read their rider in full. Crafty.
Perry’s 45-page rider included a stipulation that her dressing room be draped in cream or soft pink, with exact furniture specifications and “ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS.”
Madge reportedly required the exact furniture from her actual home to be shipped to each venue on tour and put in her dressing room. Hopefully it was “shipped” rather than flown.
JLo’s leaked rider reportedly asked for Jo Malone candles and exact room temperatures. What is the obsession with temperatures among songbirds? Perhaps it’s something to do with keeping the pipes warm and relaxed? Personally I find 23.7 is ideal for Netflix and couching it.
Is it Drake or Drank! The singer’s rider requested a shit-tonne of alcohol, including bottles of Hennessy or Courvoisier, Patron Silver Tequila, Grey Goose Vodka, Jack Daniels, and Heineken. That is one boozed up entourage.
The lady with the biggest set of lungs in the business apparently wanted to set fire to them, asking for one pack of Marlboro Lights and a lighter (important), on the “Adele 21” tour. She also requested she be given two bottles of “the best quality Californian red wine and one bottle of the best quality Californian Sauvignon Blanc white wine (chilled). NO CHARDONNAY!” ALL-CAPS appears to be a feature of riders. GOT IT.
Hopefully this one is tongue in cheek, he is a comedian after all. Hart’s rider asked to have five women between the ages of 21-27 “with an athletic/sexy build” at the venue one hour ahead of time and to stay one hour after. T-shirts and tights would be provided to the women and the only “sizes are x-small, small, and medium”. Going to let this one air out a bit.