Ted Lasso co-creators and stars Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt joined the Writers Guild of America’s Picketlines on Friday — telling The Hollywood Reporter they would also be willing to pounce as actors should the need arise.
“I’ve got two hands for two characters if that’s what we’re supposed to do,” says Hunt, who co-developed the Apple TV+ series with Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, and Joe Kelly and plays Coach Beard onscreen. Sudeikis added, “That’s what sandwich boards are for.”
Hunt referred to a WGA meeting at the Shrine Auditorium on Wednesday night, where writers received messages of support from SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America and other industry associations, to note that the guilds are in agreement on issues such as residuals streaming and the regulation of artificial intelligence. SAG-AFTRA and the Director’s Guild’s contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expire on June 30.
“The whole Shrine meeting was because this shit has to stop, you know, on all angles, and the shit that’s coming has to be prevented,” Hunt said. “So hopefully it won’t come down to a number of simultaneous attacks, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.”
Hunt and Sudeikis walked the picket line outside the Warner Bros. property on Friday. The studio produces Ted Lasso for Apple TV+, and in addition to winning a pass from Emmys, the comedy is also the streamer’s most-watched series, according to Nielsen stats.
“I feel it affects us, whether we are aware of it or not, when you try to divide and rule, when people have their hands in other people’s pockets,” Sudeikis said. THR. “Some of those bags contain money, but some of those bags contain ideas, and[they]offer nothing in exchange for those ideas, and that willingness and work ethic and vulnerability that writers bring to film and television. We want to watch out for that.
“There are of course real world applications, like money and credit and stuff. But I think the lack of humanity towards all of this and just makes us feel like we’re mice that just need to run this wheel and be honored for the enterprise…that doesn’t pay the rent, don’t put food on the table and give the people not a good feeling to run on that wheel. And I think that will affect the work and the way the work is valued. So it’s myopic thinking by humans that gets a lot of dough.
“Speaking of a lack of humanity,” Hunt added, “the AI thing may not impact us directly yet, but it’s coming. And it’s just, it’s such an easy box to tick, and the resistance to agreement there is quite telling and a bit terrifying.
Sudeikis noted that since a movie or TV series starts with a script, it’s appropriate that writers took action first. “I think this is probably happening in this order for a reason,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a reason AI would have come up with. I also don’t think it’s a solution that AI can come up with. So we are all here to support each other, and whatever we have to do in June and the next few months, so be it.”