Actors Start Historic Strike Paralyzing Hollywood Industry
The worst fears of paralysis in the world’s largest entertainment industry began to come true when the start of an indefinite strike of Hollywood film and television actors was announced by the United States Actors Guild (Screen Actors Guild, SAG).
The strike, which reaches 160,000 people, implies the immediate closure of all film and television productions in which members of the union participate, not only in the United States but around the world.
As of midnight on Thursday, actors will also stop participating in any promotional meetings and press activities. This situation threatens the holding of some significant meetings scheduled in the annual calendar of the entertainment industry.
Upcoming events like Comic-Con, Toronto, Telluride, and Venice Film Festivals, as well as the Emmy Awards Ceremony, are now in danger of being suspended.
This strike is the first formal one carried out by actors since 1980 and holds historical importance as it joins the measure of similar force applied by scriptwriters. The last time Hollywood faced a similar scenario was 63 years ago in 1960.
The strike was held to demand improvements in remuneration for actors and protection measures against the risks of manipulation opened by the use of artificial intelligence in the performers’ image.
The SAG authorities, led by actress Fran Drescher, harshly criticized the Hollywood studios for their intransigence in the negotiations. They noted that despite their team’s efforts, the studios remained steadfast in devaluing the work of their members.
During the world premiere of Oppenheimer in London, the main actors of the film, including Matt Damon, Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, and Emily Blunt, left the event in solidarity with their Hollywood colleagues.
Christopher Nolan, the director of Oppenheimer, expressed his disappointment, stating that they had no choice and are victims of a very greedy organization. Fran Drescher, the president of the Hollywood actors union, also expressed her disapproval and called for respect and fair compensation for actors.
The Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP), the association representing powerful studios and production companies, stated that the strike will lead to financial hardship for thousands of people who depend on the industry. The studios and production companies offered comprehensive improvements, including a significant increase in residual payments and minimum salary, which were rejected by the union as insufficient.
The strike prohibits actors from participating in interviews, appearances, conventions, festivals, and any work related to cameras. This creates a difficult situation for organizers of major film and television-related events in the coming months.
Hollywood studios will suffer from the absence of actors in luxurious premieres of big festivals, affecting titles’ promotion and recovery of investments. The strike’s impact will be felt globally, with European productions closely linked to Hollywood also being affected.
While the strike poses challenges, it could also lead to cost savings for producers in terms of promotion and expenses. The strike’s repercussions extend beyond the United States, with potential solidarity actions from British actors who are affiliated with SAG but restricted by strict union laws.