April 20, 2024 5:21 am
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Hollywood Actors Unite: Union Declares Epic Strike Battle

Hollywood actors have announced that they will go on strike, joining writers in the first industry-wide shutdown in 63 years. Last-ditch talks failed to produce a deal, leading to nearly all film and television production grinding to a halt. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), which represents 160,000 performers including A-list stars, said negotiations ended without a resolution on their demands for better pay and protections against the use of artificial intelligence.

SAG-AFTRA’s national board unanimously voted to issue a strike order against the studios and streamers, according to the union’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. The strike will begin at midnight on Thursday, meaning actors will join writers on the picket lines from Friday morning. This will be the first “double strike” in Hollywood since 1960, with writers having already spent 11 weeks on strike due to similar demands.

Popular series set to return to television this year now face lengthy delays, and major films could also be postponed if the strikes continue. The strike immediately prevents actors from promoting some of the year’s biggest releases, just as the movie industry enters the peak of its summer blockbuster season. Director Christopher Nolan even revealed that the cast of his new film “Oppenheimer” walked out of the London premiere in solidarity with the strike.

A-List Stars

  1. SAG-AFTRA represents everyone from A-list stars such as Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, and Glenn Close to day players who do small roles on television series.
  2. The vast majority of members had already voted to pre-approve industrial action if a deal was not reached.

SAG-AFTRA stated that compensation has been severely eroded by the rise of the streaming ecosystem, and artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to creative professions. The union accused executives of refusing to acknowledge the detrimental impact of industry and economic changes on those who work in the studios.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, representing the studios, expressed deep disappointment with SAG-AFTRA’s decision to walk away from negotiations, stating it was the union’s choice, not theirs. Disney CEO Bob Iger called the actors’ and writers’ expectations “not realistic” and labeled the decision to strike as “very disturbing.”

However, Phil Lord, the writer, director, and producer behind hits such as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “The Lego Movie,” criticized the studios’ position. He accused the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers of playing hardball instead of solving solvable problems that affect lower-paid writers and actors.

The last actors’ union strike occurred in 1980 and lasted more than three months. While the writers’ strike has already caused a significant reduction in the number of movies and shows in production, an actors’ walkout will virtually shut down everything. Some reality TV, animation, and talk shows might continue.

Actors and writers are demanding higher pay to counteract inflation and guarantees for their future livelihoods. Additionally, they want regulations in place to govern the use of artificial intelligence, an issue that studios have been unwilling to address.

Source: AFP

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