LOS ANGELES, United States—Tens of thousands of Hollywood actors will go on strike on Thursday, July 13 at midnight (0700 GMT on Friday), effectively halting the giant film and television business as they join writers in the first general industrial strike. for 63 years.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) has issued a strike order after latest talks with studios over their demands over lower wages and the threat posed by artificial intelligence ended without agreement.
“This is a moment in history, a moment of truth: if we don’t stand our ground right now, we’re all going to be in trouble,” SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said at a news conference, following the vote. unanimous union meeting. of strike.
“We are all going to be in danger of being replaced by machines and big companies.”
After the strike formally goes into effect at 0700 GMT on Friday, actors will join writers on pickets in Hollywood’s first “double strike” since the 1960s.
The writers have already spent 11 weeks protesting outside the headquarters of companies including Disney and Netflix, after their similar demands were not met.
With almost all movie productions and sets shut down, popular TV series are facing long delays.
Movie studios have already begun to reshuffle their schedules, and if the strikes drag on, major movie releases could be postponed as well.
A strike immediately prevents actors from promoting some of the biggest releases of the year, at the height of the film industry’s summer blockbuster season.
The cast of the highly anticipated new film “Oppenheimer” walked out of the glitzy London premiere in solidarity with the strike.
“We know this is a critical time at this point in the industry and the issues that are involved need to be addressed – there are tough talks going on,” British actor Kenneth Branagh said on the red carpet just before the strike was announced.
“I know everyone is trying to get a fair deal, that’s what it takes, so we’ll support that.”
SAG-AFTRA represents some 160,000 actors, from A-list stars like Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Glenn Close to daytime actors playing small roles on television series.
The last time the actors’ union went on strike, in 1980, it lasted for more than three months.
This time around 98 percent of members voted to pre-approve industrial action if no deal is reached.
“We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity,” Drescher said.
“I’m amazed at the way the people we’ve been in business with are treating us.”
The union said in a statement after talks collapsed that actors’ pay had been “severely eroded by the rise of the streaming ecosystem” and warned that “artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to the creative professions.”
The actors say their salaries have been slashed and the payments they used to receive when hit shows or movies they starred in aired on television have disappeared because streamers refused to disclose their viewing figures.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the studios, said it was “deeply disappointed” that SAG-AFTRA had “decided to withdraw” from the talks.
Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC on Thursday that the expectations of the actors and writers were “unrealistic,” calling the decision to attack “very upsetting.”
But Phil Lord—the writer, director and producer behind hits like “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “The Lego Movie”—was one of those in Hollywood who scorned the studios’ version of events.
“AMPTP has played hardball instead of helping solve fully solvable problems endangering writers and actors at the lower ends of the pay scale,” he tweeted.
While the writers’ strike has already drastically reduced the number of movies and shows in production, an actors’ strike shuts down almost everything.
Some reality, animation and talk shows could continue.
“I feel sad and it’s painful and necessary,” actress and SAG-AFTRA member Jennifer Van Dyck said on the picket line in New York on Thursday.
“They are making a lot of money and they say we are not addressing this issue fairly… nobody wants to go on strike, but there is just no way we can proceed.”
In addition to asking for higher salaries to counter inflation, actors and writers have joined in demands for guarantees on the use of artificial intelligence.
SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland criticized the studios’ latest stance on AI.
He told reporters that the studios had proposed that they be allowed to scan the faces of background performers, or extras, for a day’s pay, and be able to own and use their likeness “for the rest of eternity, in any project they want”. , without consent and without compensation.”
“If you think this is an innovative proposition, I suggest you think again,” he said. /ra
Deadline for negotiations of Hollywood actors with studio passes without a word on the strike
Hollywood actors’ strike aborted as contract negotiations deadline extended
subscribe to ASK MORE to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 other titles, share up to 5 devices, listen to the news, download from 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.