New Report Discusses Possible Carbon Footprint Left By Blockbuster Filming

Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

Reducing one’s carbon footprint is an important aspect of being an environmentally friendly citizen of the planet. But are actors taking into account the carbon dioxide emissions they released when taking on globe-trotting, big-budget movies? As one report has indicated, several high-profiles actors have been estimated to have produced high amounts of carbon from on-location filming this decade, and the list is interesting.

The report, conducted by a UK outlet named Buzz Bingo, looked at several top-billed actors in the highest-grossing films of the past decade, then used each actor's estimated flight emissions for one specific film to deduce the carbon footprint left by their travels. The outlet's analysis, according to a release, was "based on the shortest possible flight route that actors could have taken between each confirmed filming location on a round trip that includes returning to whichever destination is equivalent to the shortest route." Their findings say that Leonardo DiCaprio’s time playing Dominick Cobb in 2010’s Inception is expected to have created 4.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide during his flights to the film’s locations in Tokyo, Tangier, Paris, Alberta and Los Angeles. The amount of flying the actor did throughout Christopher Nolan’s twisty blockbuster is estimated to be 300 percent over the allowed carbon dioxide emissions for one person. The target is 1.2 tons, per Buzz Bingo.

Second on the list is Christian Bale for another Christopher Nolan film, 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, where the Batman actor reportedly contributed to 4.7 metric tons of emissions. Considering the upcoming Tenet went for a whopping six on-site locations during the filming of the big-budget project, its star John David Washington might as well be on the list too. Nolan filmed the movie in Estonia, Italy, India, Denmark, Norway and England. Oh, and he blew up a real 747 plane for one of Tenet’s big set pieces.

The study also names Vin Diesel for Fast & Furious 7, Mark Wahlberg for Transformers: Age of Extinction and Daniel Craig for Skyfall, all of which are estimated to be emitting 250 percent over the target carbon dioxide emissions. Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, as well as Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman both for Black Panther, are also among the top ten.

The study was conducted by sampling top-billed actors in the highest grossing movies released between 2010 and 2019. The results of most polluting actors are calculated based on their estimated flight emissions for a single film. The study assumed the actors used the fastest possible route to their destinations and that they only flew to these locations once. Of course, these are estimates. And the actors don't make the decisions about where and how they travel to locations to film features, with those plans left up to production heads trying to maneuver these blockbusters through complicated scheduling.

The findings also placed Daniel Craig’s James Bond as the most polluting actor per franchise, followed by Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto, Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart’s Edward and Bella. Air travel has been proven to be a huge contributor to climate change. According to the New York Times, one round trip from New York to California generates 20 percent of the greenhouse emissions your car emits in an entire year on average.

Filmmakers taking actors to beautiful locations for movies certainly adds richness to a movie, but as this study shows, huge projects that take Hollywood talent to numerous locations are giving them massive carbon footprints way above the targeted rate. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more behind-the-scenes news on your favorite movies and actors.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.