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Fran Drescher speaks at a press conference announcing SAG-AFTRA's vote calling for actors to strike.

Hollywood Actors Officially Join Writers in Historic Strike

For the second time in Hollywood history, actors are joining screenwriters in going on strike.

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors, has voted to take action after talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents Hollywood studios and streaming platforms, broke down. It means about 160,000 actors are walking off the job, joining screenwriters who’ve been striking since May.

“We stand in solidarity, in unprecedented unity,” Fran Drescher, SAG-AFTRA President said during a press conference.

“Because, at some point, the jig is up. You cannot keep being dwindled and marginalised and disrespected and dishonoured. The entire business model has been changed by streaming, digital, and AI. This is a moment of history that is a moment of truth. If we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in trouble.”

They’re fighting for higher wages, protections around using artificial intelligence and more.

So what does this strike mean exactly?

Film and television productions covered under SAG-AFTRA agreements will grind to a halt immediately. Movies like the Spider-Man: No Way Home sequel, Gladiator 2 and upcoming seasons of TV shows such as Stranger Things and The White Lotus will be delayed or possibly shelved indefinitely.

No more activities associated with promoting films either such as premieres. No award shows, festivals or conventions. Hollywood is officially shutting down, though there are some exceptions and waivers available for actors working on independent projects, music videos or advertisements. And stage actors represented by the Actors’ Equity Association will also be unaffected, so Broadway productions are likely to go ahead.

“The gravity of this move is not lost on me,” Fran Drescher said at the press conference, sharing thousands and possible millions of people will be impacted by the strike.

“We had no choice, we are the victims here. We are being victimised by a very greedy entity. I cannot believe it, quite frankly, how far apart we are on so many things. it is disgusting. Shame on them. They stand on the wrong side of history.

The Alliance has since shared a statement, denouncing the financial strain these strikes will put many people under. Part of their statement reads: “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.” (You can read their full statement here.)

 

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The cast of the new film Oppenheimer left their London premiere early as the strike was officially announced. Whilst Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh and Kenneth Branagh all walked the red carpet, they did not stay for the film’s screening.

Speaking to press beforehand, Matt shared his concern for working actors:

“It’s US$26,0000 [the minimum income, per year] to qualify for health coverage and a lot of people are on the margins. This isn’t an academic exercise. This is real life and death stuff. No one wants a work stoppage, but we’ve got to get a fair deal.”

(Feature Image Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

 

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter and the founder of positive celebrity news site CelebrityKind. (She's also a mummy-of-3, chocoholic and Opraholic!)