Michael Douglas has bemoaned what he calls a “crisis” in the American movie industry, based on diminishing opportunities given to home-grown actors ahead of their British and Australian counterparts which he believes is down to their pre-occupation with social media and image instead of formal training.

He believes that young British actors are more likely to take acting school seriously and learn their profession the old-fashioned way, while Australian male stars are more overtly “masculine” in their image than U.S. actors.

70 year old Douglas said to The Independent: “There's something going on with young American actors - both men and women - because the Brits and Australians are taking many of the best American roles from them.”

Michael DouglasMichael Douglas at the world premiere of 'Ant-Man' in June 2015

He was reacting to the announcement that the new Spider-Man role is going to young Brit Tom Holland, beating a number of American youngsters. The last actor to play the webslinging hero was another Brit, Andrew Garfield.

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“In Britain they take their training seriously while in the States we're going through a sort of social media image conscious thing rather than formal training,” Douglas continued. “Many actors are getting caught up in this image thing which is going on to affect their range. With the Aussies, particularly with the males, it's the masculinity. In the U.S. we have this relatively asexual or unisex area with sensitive young men and we don't have many Channing Tatums or Chris Pratts, while the Aussies do. It's a phenomena.”

He concluded with a stark diagnosis: “There's a crisis in young American actors right now. Everyone's much more image conscious than they are about actually playing the part.”

Asked whether he agreed with Dustin Hoffman’s recent comments to the same publication, on the movie industry being “the worst it has ever been”, Douglas sympathised but disagreed, claiming that dramas were simply being picked up through different delivery channels such as Netflix rather than through the traditional big screen. “Most of the great screen writers have gone into the cable area because that’s where they can also produce,” he argued. “The problem in making a film for cinema is the cost of distribution.”

Douglas’s next movie is Ant-Man, which is released on July 17th. It's the final part of Marvel’s so-called “Phase Two” run of blockbusters which began with Iron Man 3, and stars Paul Rudd as Ant-Man with Evangeline Lilly and Corey Stoll also starring.

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