In 2008, John Caldwell argued that systematic struggles over control determine contemporary media authorship, as they did in the studio era of film production. However, the increased competition and the blurring of labor categories in both production and postproduction “triggers pressure to symbolically value craft distinctions and innovation in public ways.”1 This chapter is an exploration of how contemporary media authorship has been expressed and contested in public ways through press and industry discourses that account for the emergence of the part human, part computer-generated ‘synthespian.’ Specifically, I examine these discourses’ assumptions about labor and its relation to the commodity image (e.g., the star) in the contemporary film industry between the late 1990s, when the term first came into wide use in the trade and popular press, and 2003, when discussion turned toward speculation that motion-capture performer and voice artist Andy Serkis would receive an Oscar nomination for his contribution to Gollum, the digitally created character in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002). The issues that crystalized around the serious industrial and critical attention given to Andy Serkis’s digitally enabled performance were not new, but they seemed to indicate a turning point in public discussions about the status of acting in contemporary Hollywood films, especially action-oriented blockbusters. For example, in response to speculations around Serkis’s chances for an Oscar nod, Jim Morris, who was at the time president of Lucas Digital, told Daily Variety, “It’s a given that major movies don’t get made now without digital characters.” In the same article, Tim Sarnoff, president of Sony Pictures Imageworks, asserted, “Nobody looks at shot count any more as the single criteria as for what makes a great f/x movie. . . . They now look at performance.”2