Hollywood actors have announced their participation in an ongoing strike initiated by screenwriters. Marking the industry’s largest shutdown in over six decades. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has called for streaming giants to agree to a more equitable profit-sharing model and improved working conditions. At the stroke of midnight, approximately 160,000 performers will cease work. Resulting in a near-complete halt of film and TV productions across the United States.
Actors Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt left the premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer in London on Thursday night. Expressing solidarity as the strike was declared. The SAG walkout commenced at midnight local time in Los Angeles (08:00 BST). With picketing set to begin outside Netflix’s California headquarters on Friday morning. The protest will subsequently move on to Paramount, Warner Bros, and Disney.
Aside from fairer profit-sharing, the union also demands a guarantee that artificial intelligence (AI) and computer-generated faces and voices will not replace actors. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing the studios, criticized the decision. Stating that “a strike is certainly not the outcome we hoped for as studios cannot operate without the performers that bring our TV shows and films to life.” The AMPTP expressed concern over the financial hardships that the strike may impose on industry professionals.
Industry Braces for Major Disruption as Productions Halt
To address the concerns raised about the use of AI, the AMPTP offered what they termed a “groundbreaking proposal.” The proposal aimed to protect the digital likeness of actors and require their consent when digital replicas are used in performances or altered. However, the SAG’s national executive director and chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, deemed the offer unacceptable. He highlighted that the AMPTP’s proposal would allow background performers to be scanned and paid for a single day’s work. Meanwhile, the production company would own the image and likeness in perpetuity.
Among the SAG’s demands from streaming services is an increase in base pay and residuals for actors. This includes tens of thousands of actors who currently receive significantly lower compensation for minor roles compared to their A-list counterparts. The strike serves as a strong message to the industry, as Hollywood actors join forces with screenwriters in their pursuit of fair treatment and compensation.
As the strike takes effect, the entertainment industry braces for the major disruption that lies ahead. With film and TV productions grinding to a halt, the standoff between Hollywood actors and streaming giants intensifies. Moreover, leaving the fate of the industry’s future in balance.