Kottke.org links to an interesting question (and discussion in the comments to the original post) – Do movie actors exist in the worlds of the movies they star in?
You ever think about how in, like, a Tom Hanks movie, everyone lives in a reality in which there’s no such person as Tom Hanks? Because otherwise, people would be mistaking the main character for Tom Hanks all the time? So either Tom Hanks doesn’t exist in the world the movie takes place in, or he does exist but he looks like someone else?
I do think about it sometimes. And I think that the most elegant solution to this problematic overlap was presented in the “Last Action Hero” movie, where Arnold Schwarzenegger played an movie character who was getting back and forward between the world inside the movie and the real world. And the solution for the overlap was Sylvester Stallone. He was a replacement actor. So, when Arnold was in the movie world, where he wasn’t an actor, all his films – “Terminator”, “Commando”, etc – existed in that movie world, but the main character of those movies wasn’t Arnold, but Sylvester. Elegant. Very elegant.