This chapter looks at two rather recent ways that backstudios have moved the virtual world of moviemaking off the screen. “Immersive Hollywood” occurs when fictional characters interact with real-life actors or spectators. As this occurs in the story, they cross the boundary separating the reel from the real as epitomized by the screen, raising questions about the value of Hollywood escapism. By comparison, “appropriated Hollywood” happens when a state apparatus—the police, the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, the White House—fabricates a film production as its cover story for a covert sting operation. Here the analogy of Hollywood and the actions of corrupt or unethical (or at least highly secret) state agents draws out the unsettling equivalence of the film industry’s practices of simulation and those of the national security state.
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