Threat of actors strike looms in Hollywood
First there was the drawn-out, damaging writers strike, now Hollywood faces another uprising this time from its actors.
The contract between producers and the biggest actors’ union, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), runs out next week and the efforts to negotiate a new one are struggling, to say the least.
Union leaders have stressed theyve made no moves to strike, and will continue negotiating after the contract expires, but the possibility would exist that actors could walk off the job, or be locked out by studios, which would severely damage film and TV production.
Issues affecting negotiation talks are reportedly stemming from similar problems that prompted the writers’ strike: namely that writers and actors want a greater share of DVD sales.
Some film productions have already halted, as studios don’t want to risk their projects being interrupted by a strike.
The conflict has apparently divided La-La-Land, pitting stars against each other, with George Clooney assuming the role of mediator.
Playing hardball on the SAG side are leading actors Jack Nicholson and Ben Stiller, who want better wages for actors and a greater cut of DVD sales.
Meanwhile, Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey and Alec Baldwin have all given their support to a smaller union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), which is more willing to compromise in the deal with studio chiefs.
And Clooney just wants peace, man. The actor is prompting unity between the two. ‘Rather than pitting artist against artist, maybe we could find a way to get what both unions are looking for.
‘Because the one thing you can be sure of is that stories about Jack Nicholson versus Tom Hanks only strengthen the negotiating power of the AMPTP,’ he said in reference to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the Hollywood studios.
Estimates suggest that the writers strike, which lasted from November 2007 to February 2008, cost Hollywood $2.5 billion (£1.25bn) in lost wages and other revenues hitting hardest those in non-acting trades such as set builders, caterers, lighting engineers and make-up artists.