Hollywood Faces Major Shutdown as Actors Strike Begins

news 13-Jul-2023 World News

Hollywood Faces Largest Shutdown in 40 Years as Actors' Strike Begins

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has initiated a strike, leading to the most extensive shutdown Hollywood has witnessed in four decades. With demands for a fairer profit distribution and improved working conditions from streaming giants, the union's move halts the work of 160,000 performers.

As the strike commenced, stars Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt reportedly left the Oppenheimer premiere, as confirmed by director Christopher Nolan. Alongside profit-sharing, the union is also seeking a commitment that artificial intelligence and computer-generated faces and voices will not replace actors.

On Wednesday, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced its inability to reach an agreement with major studios. Consequently, the negotiating committee unanimously recommended strike action.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing the studios, expressed disappointment, 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 emphasized the potential financial hardship for those dependent on the industry.

Fran Drescher, SAG's president, highlighted the significance of the strike for actors, describing it as a "seminal moment." She noted that similar labor issues occur across various fields when employers prioritize Wall Street and greed over essential contributors who keep the industry running. Drescher emphasized the need to address this problem.

Meanwhile, the Writers Guild of America has been on strike since May 2, demanding better pay and working conditions. Some writers have pursued non-covered writing projects during this time. The simultaneous strikes by both unions mark the first double strike since 1960, when Ronald Reagan, the actor and former US President, led SAG. The previous actors' strike occurred in 1980.

While the Directors Guild of America successfully negotiated a contract in June and will not participate in the strike, the beginning of the actors' strike will force the majority of US film and TV productions to halt. This adds to the list of projects already affected or delayed due to the ongoing writers' strike.

Moreover, prominent Hollywood stars will be unable to attend events promoting their new releases. The Emmys and upcoming Comic-Con may need to be rescheduled or scaled back.

Several top Hollywood actors, including Margot Robbie, Meryl Streep, and Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, have voiced their support for the strike.

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