July 11, 2024

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Hollywood actors stage a historic strike, announces the “Screen Actors Guild (SAG).”

Hollywood actors have joined screenwriters in a major strike, causing the largest industry shutdown in over six decades. Around 160,000 performers in Los Angeles ceased work, halting most film and TV productions across the US. The “Screen Actors Guild (SAG)” is leading the strike, advocating for fairer profit sharing and improved working conditions from streaming giants. They also aim to protect actors from being replaced by digital replicas created through artificial intelligence (AI). The union demands guarantees that AI and computer-generated faces and voices will not replace human actors.

During the strike, actors are prohibited from appearing in films or promoting their existing projects. As a result, stars like Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt left the premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer in London when the strike was announced. Director Christopher Nolan expressed his support for the actors’ struggle during the premiere. Many actors, including Bob Odenkirk, Cynthia Nixon, and Jamie Lee Curtis, took to Instagram to voice their solidarity with the strike.

Picketing will begin outside the California headquarters of Netflix and later move to Paramount, Warner Bros., and Disney. The major studios have offered a “ground-breaking proposal” to address AI concerns, which includes protecting actors’ digital likeness and requiring their consent for digital replicas and alterations. However, the offer was rejected by the SAG, which deemed it unacceptable.

The strike poses significant challenges for ongoing film productions, making a substantial portion of work impossible. Even completed films may face issues with reshoots and other necessary elements involving actors. Television shows currently in production will also face significant disruptions, although some agreements may be reached between performers and producers to allow work to continue.

Promotional events for new releases, including the Emmys and Comic-Con, may need to be rescheduled or scaled back, preventing top Hollywood stars from attending. Disney CEO Bob Iger, speaking prior to the strike announcement, expressed concerns that the demands of actors and writers were impractical and detrimental to an industry still recovering from the pandemic.