‘No contracts, no peace’: Actors stage demonstration in New York
Mark Ruffalo has raged against Hollywood “fat cats” who he said “believe we [actors] are no longer of value”.
The 13 Going on 30 star made the remark in a series of tweets about the actors’ strike that has effectively shut down Hollywood.
Negotiators for the SAG-AFTRA union unanimously recommended a strike after talks with studios broke down. Scripted TV and movie production ceased immediately in the first dual work stoppage by both actors and writers in 63 years.
The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since early May. Both groups demand increases in base pay and residuals in the streaming TV era plus assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).
Both unions are in dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Fran Drescher, former star of The Nanny and the president of SAG-AFTRA, said studios’ responses to the actors’ concerns had been “insulting and disrespectful”.
George Clooney has led A-listers voicing support for the strike, and Jason Sudeikis and Susan Sarandon are among the stars who have been seen on the picket line. Succession actor Brian Cox, meanwhile, has warned that the actors’ strike could get “very unpleasant”.
The cast of Oppenheimer left a London premiere prematurely on Thursday night (13 July) to “go and write their picket signs”.
Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Igercondemned the threatened strike action as “very disruptive” at the “worst time” as well as calling the expectations of writers and actors “just not realistic”.
Mark Ruffalo rages against Hollywood ‘fat cats’
Actor Mark Ruffalo has urged his fellow stars to work with indie producers, following the news that SAG-AFTRA will soon be signing “interim agreements” with truly independent producers that will allow many of them to make projects during the strike, as long as they are not affiliated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
“Then we just do what we always do – create great content and they can buy it, or we take it out ourselves and WE share in those sales,” he tweeted. “They’ve created an empire of billionaires and believe that we are no longer of value. While they hang out in the billionaire boy summer camps laughing like fat cats, we organise a new world for workers.”
Ellie Harrison16 July 2023 11:28
Christopher Nolan gives warning about AI
At a special screening of his film Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan compared the rapid development of AI technology (a key issue in the labour dispute) with the events in his movie about creation of the atomic bomb.
One of the reasons actors are striking is because of fears around AI replacing them and using their likenesses in perpetuity.
“The rise of companies in the last 15 years bandying words like algorithm – not knowing what they mean in any kind of meaningful, mathematical sense – these guys don’t know what an algorithm is,” Nolan said. “People in my business talking about it, they just don’t want to take responsibility for whatever that algorithm does.”
“Applied to AI, that’s a terrifying possibility. Terrifying. Not least because, AI systems will go into defensive infrastructure ultimately. They’ll be in charge of nuclear weapons. To say that that is a separate entity from the person wielding, programming, putting that AI to use, then we’re doomed. It has to be about accountability. We have to hold people accountable for what they do with the tools that they have.”
He added: “With the labour disputes going on in Hollywood right now, a lot of it – when we talk about AI, when we talk about these issues – they’re all ultimately born from the same thing, which is when you innovate with technology, you have to maintain accountability.”
Ellie Harrison16 July 2023 09:45
Haunted Mansion premiere goes ahead… with no stars
The Disney movie’s world premiere on Saturday (15 July), starring Tiffany Haddish and Jamie Lee Curtis, is the first major Hollywood event to go ahead without any actors present.
“I feel very ambivalent about it, but at the same time, I’m just so proud of this cast and I’m so, so proud of Katie Dippold who wrote the script, and so much of why I did this was to honour her words and to honour their work,” director Justin Simien told The Hollywood Reporter on the carpet.
“If they can’t be here to speak for it, I felt like I had to be here to speak for it. It’s sad that they’re not here, at the same time, I totally support the reason why they’re not here. And I’m happy to be the one to ring the bell in their stead.”
Ellie Harrison16 July 2023 08:45
Comment: Most actors are broke – this strike should kill the ‘champagne socialist’ myth dead
“Creative economies are complex beasts, particularly in the live entertainment sector. Even so, it’s increasingly the case that the stars of the show are rarely the ones reaping the rewards, while the foot soldiers are barely managing to survive. A resolution is not looking good for the WGA according to one anonymous studio exec, who recently told the Hollywood publication Deadline that ‘the endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses’.
“If this is how those at the top truly view the creatives that make a show into a hit, there soon might not be an entertainment industry to speak of at all.”
Ellie Harrison15 July 2023 23:30
Actors banned from attending Comic-Con
The 2023 event in San Diego is set to start next Thursday, but SAG-AFTRA has specifically banned its members from doing promotion at conventions and fan expos.
Strike guidelines also bar members from attending premieres and awards shows, and they are restricted from promoting projects completed under SAG contracts on social media and in interviews.
Ellie Harrison15 July 2023 21:00
What the actors’ strike means for Broadway shows
As of midnight on Friday (14 July), the actors’ union began the industrial action, with picket lines beginning later that morning. The union comprises screen actors, as well as broadcast journalists, announcers, presenters, and stunt performers.
While the total membership comprises more than 160,000 people, only the 65,000 performers in TV and film productions are currently participating in the strike.
This means that Broadway performers are currently working as usual, and the theatre industry will not be affected.
Ellie Harrison15 July 2023 19:00
Will the Emmys be affected by the strike?
Earlier this week, the nominations for the 2023 Emmys were announced, with Succession and The Last of Us leading the pack.
Typically, the awards ceremony is held in September and broadcast live, but there could be a delay this year because the strike’s rules bar members from participating in various promotional events, most notably awards shows.
A final decision is expected to be made by the end of July.
Read the full list of nominees here.
Ellie Harrison15 July 2023 17:00
Gilmore Girls star hits out at Netflix
“I wanted to come out and protest Netflix,” Gunn, who plays Kirk in the show, told The Hollywood Reporter while picketing. “I was on a television show called Gilmore Girls for a long time that has brought in massive profits for Netflix. It has been one of their most popular shows for a very long time, over a decade. It gets streamed over and over and over again, and I see almost none of the revenue that comes into that.”
Ellie Harrison15 July 2023 15:54
Matilda child star Mara Wilson and John Cusack share horror stories on Hollywood studio greed
Actors have been sharing stories of low income from hugely successful shows and films…
“Thanks to streaming, I have never once made enough to qualify for SAG-AFTRA healthcare,” Wilson tweeted.
While she acknowledged she hasn’t “acted much as an adult”, the star argued: “But I WAS a recurring character on one of the most critically acclaimed animated shows of all time, as well playing an actual Disney villain.”
Ellie Harrison15 July 2023 14:55
Every project affected by the strike
The list of TV and movies impacted by the strike, from Gladiator 2 to Yellowjackets, is ever-growing.
Read the full story here…
Ellie Harrison15 July 2023 14:00
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