You can’t have a movie without actors, and you don’t have actors if they’re on strike. That’s exactly what happened today in Hollywood ca SAG/AFTRAan organization representing both the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists went on strike.
Despite several weeks of continuous attempts to reach a new contractual agreement, both sides have been unable to find a mutually acceptable way forward. Among the major arguments is the use AI technology.
If you haven’t seen the last season of The black mirror on Netflix we suggest you watch the episode Joan is terrible. In that episode (spoilers ahead) Salma Hayeck is blindsided by a streaming show. You see, her AI likeness is allegedly being used without her permission, and she can’t do anything about it except destroy the server that holds that file. She didn’t read the fine print in her contract.
What’s scary is that the big studios, to save a few bucks, want to do just that. Scan an actor’s likeness for a fee, then use that likeness as they wish and not pay the actor a cent afterwards. In perpetuity. And consider this, what if studios replace background actors with AI? This is an entire sector of the entertainment business without a job.
There are other aspects to the dispute, but the AI controversy is certainly worth noting.
There are no more movies
But what does the strike mean for us? It means that any production currently filming will have to shut down because the actors will not report to work in solidarity with the union.
And if you think about it, the writer’s strike has already taken its toll on not creating any new content. Put that together with the actor’s strike which can last for months and you can see the domino effect. I thought COVID killed cinema.
There may be no cure in sight. Actor and SAG-AFTRA leader Fran Drescher said the actors they negotiated in good faith, “but AMPTP’s (Alliance of Film and Television Producers) responses to the union’s most important proposals were insulting and disrespectful of our massive contributions to this industry. Companies refused to engage meaningfully on some topics, and on others they blocked us completely.”
Listen to this:
Which means that actor too will not appear at promotional screenings, interviews or other appearances until the matter is resolved. But if studios already have promotional appearances in the box, they can still use them. Hopefully they put a disclaimer that the session was recorded before strike. Do you think they will?
What can you do to support actors?
This is a tough one. To be honest, it could be also hard. If you support the actors then you can’t watch any upcoming movies. This is correct! Movies like Chin and Oppenheimer it should be removed from your list in principle until negotiations are completed. You might even want to stick in further and skip Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny for now. But we know these movies are highly anticipated, so let your gut be your guide.
But why can’t I watch these movies, they were made before the strike. The theory here is that if these big-budget films don’t bring in stacks of money next weekend, it sends a message to the studios and they’re more likely to give in to the demands. But it also hurts the actor’s pockets. It’s a difficult situation.
How to still enjoy movies and series during the strike?
Fortunately, there are free streaming services such as Tubes with lots of retro content including a very long list of horror movies. Remember, if you’re supporting the actors, you want to send a message to the studios, and there’s no better way to do that than their wallets. If the studios are losing money because you don’t buy their content, they are more likely to give in to the actor’s demands.
movie in production This Could Close
Beetlejuice 2: I was just seeing footage of Tim Burton directed by Wynona Ryder on the set of Beetlejuice 2. That production will be shutting down.
Deadpool 3: It seems like just yesterday we saw Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman in Deadpool 3. the costumes. Keep that memory until further notice.
Twisters: This movie is currently in production, but will most likely have to shut down.
Thanksgiving: Eli Roth’s return to the big screen may be delayed until the strike is over.
Saw X: Jigsaw will not be happy.
Blade: Scheduled for a 2025 release, but is in production.
Films made abroad
Movies are made abroad with all British actors probably not affected.
However, films made abroad with American actors, those actors will have to do so to be replaced which may cause a damping of the shooting program.
If the above wasn’t apocalypse enough for you, consider that San Diego Comic-Con is also taking a hit because SAG/AFTRA actors are banned from attending. They are also not allowed to attend any award shows such as the Emmys which will be held in September.
Let’s hope this strike doesn’t last as long as they’re predicting and we can all go back to enjoying watching movies knowing that the actor’s contracts are in good shape.