May 27, 2024

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SAG strike: Hollywood actors announce major walkout

SAG strike: Hollywood actors announce major walkout
  • By Bernd Debussmann Jr. and Samantha Granville in Los Angeles
  • BBC News

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Watch: Actress Fran Drescher: Shame on them

The Screen Actors Guild announced it was going on strike, marking the start of the biggest shutdown Hollywood has seen in 40 years.

The union wants the streaming giants to agree to a fairer division of profits and better working conditions.

The strike meant that 160,000 artists would be out of work at midnight.

Director Christopher Nolan said stars Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt left the Oppenheimer premiere as the strike began.

The SAG strike will begin at midnight LA ​​time (08:00 GMT). Filming will begin an hour later outside Netflix’s California headquarters, before moving on to Paramount, Warner Bros, and Disney.

The federation is also calling for ensuring that artificial intelligence and computer-generated faces and voices are not used to replace actors.

According to the strike order posted online by SAG, the eviction applies to workers in acting, singing, or dancing, as well as performers and those involved in puppetry or motion capture work. Termination of employment also applies to a variety of back-end and promotional tasks.

On Wednesday, the union — formally known as the Screen Actors Guild of American Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA — announced that it was unable to reach an agreement with the major studios.

Its negotiating committee voted unanimously to recommend a strike. This means that the vast majority of film and television production in the United States will cease.

The union’s national executive director and chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree Ireland, said SAG members will be on the picket line Friday morning.

He added that the strike is “a means of last resort.”

The group representing the studios, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, said that “the strike is certainly not the outcome we had hoped because the studios cannot function without the performers who bring our TV shows and films to life.”

“The federation has unfortunately chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry,” it added in its statement.

SAG president Fran Drescher said the strike comes at a “very defining moment” for representatives working in the industry.

“What happens to us happens in all areas of the business, when employers put Wall Street and greed as their top priority, and forget about the essential shareholders who make the machine work,” she said.

A separate strike by the Writers Guild of America to demand better wages and working conditions has been underway since May 2. Some writers have turned to writing projects not covered by the contract between the guild and the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance.

The “double strike” from both unions is the first since 1960, when actor and former US President Ronald Reagan headed the union. The last strike of the actors took place in 1980.

A third union, the Directors Guild of America, successfully negotiated a contract in June and will not participate.

The onset of the strike would mean that the vast majority of American film and television production would have to shut down, adding to the list of projects already closed or halted by the writers’ strike.

For films already being made, stopping would mean that much of the work would become impossible. Even in cases where filming has already been completed, actors will not be available for reshoots and other essential elements of the filmmaking process.

Television shows still largely being filmed will also have to be stopped as actors become unavailable, although in some cases side deals can be struck between performers and producers to allow work to continue.

Major Hollywood stars will not be able to attend events to promote new and upcoming releases. Events including the Emmys and Comic-Con may be rescheduled or scaled back.

International events, such as the Toronto and Venice Film Festivals, will continue to take place, though SAG representatives will not be able to attend as they do every year.

A number of major Hollywood stars have expressed their support for the strike, including Barbie actress Margot Robbie, Meryl Streep and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

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