Matt Damon and Emily Blunt leave Oppenheimer premiere the second the strike is called



American actors have joined screenwriters in their fight for better pay, a historic move that is bringing Hollywood to a complete halt.

Everything was ready, the photographers in place, the dresses and suits absolutely impeccable and messed up. The London premiere on Thursday night ofOppenheimer, new film by Christopher Nolan, was one of the first visible manifestations of the actors’ strike launched in Hollywood. As reported variety, the actors of the film, which stars Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Kenneth Branag, among others, hastily left the gala evening to join the movement, even if it was not to be effective until 8 a.m. Friday morning London time.

“We talked about it between us before and it was very clear. If the call for a strike is launched, everyone must show solidarity, explained Matt Damon to variety a few minutes earlier. We voted 98% to strike because we all know it’s in our interest. It takes $26,000 [pour un acteur] to access health coverage and many working people are at the limit of this threshold. Residual payments [droits versés pour la diffusion des œuvres en DVD, sur les plateformes ou en pay per view, au cœur des négociations] would allow many to access it. We are not in a battle of postures, it is really a matter of life or death. I hope we will come to a solution quickly. Nobody wants a blockage, but we have to get a fair deal.” “Of course we stand alongside all the actors, had specified for its part Emily Blunt. And when the call goes out, we’ll go home to protest together because I want us all to get a good deal.”

Unpublished for more than 60 years

Given the absence of positive developments in recent days in the negotiations between the representatives of the actors and those of the studios, the entire Hollywood agenda promises to be greatly disrupted in the days to come. And, always concerning the release ofOppenheimer, no one is betting now that the film’s US premiere, scheduled for Monday in New York, will go ahead as usual.

Because the movement initiated by the screenwriters, stopped for more than two months, and extended today by the American actors promises to be the most massive that Hollywood has known since the 1960s. actors begins at midnight, Los Angeles time, or Friday at 9 a.m. Paris time, announced the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA after the failure of negotiations with studios and streaming platforms. “We had no choice. We are the victims. We are victims of a very greedy entity,” castigated Fran Drescher, the president of this organization which represents 160,000 actors and other professionals of the small and big screen. “It’s a historic moment. insisted the ex-star of the series A nanny from hell. If we don’t stand up now…we all risk being replaced by machines and big corporations that care more about Wall Street than you and your family.”

No filming and disrupted outings

Screenwriters and actors have been demanding for months an increase in their remuneration, which only very marginally takes into account the exponential income from streaming and platforms. They also want to obtain guarantees regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI), to prevent the latter from generating scripts or cloning their voice and image.

For its part, the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represented studios and streaming platforms, said “very disapointed” of the failure of the negotiations. Disney boss Bob Iger even blasted demands “unrealistic” on the CNBC channel. However, they are now up against the wall.

Since May and the writers’ strike, the only productions that were still running were doing so on the basis of scripts already completed in the spring, without being able to modify them. This is especially the case for the series The Rings of Power, Amazon blockbuster. But, without actors, filming is now impossible.

When the boss of Disney makes $45 million a year and we’re just asking for a living wage, I think they’re the ones who can be accused of being unreasonable.

Jennifer Van Dyck

The actors will also seriously seize the promotion and therefore the release of blockbusters. Like what happened for Oppenheimer, the absence of comedians on the red carpets will leave a big void in California. Comic-Con, high mass of American geeks and comic book lovers, should thus take place without the stars of films and series from July 20 in San Diego. Even the Emmy Awards ceremony, equivalent to the Oscars for TV, scheduled for September 18, is threatened. The production is already considering postponing the event to November, or even to 2024, according to the American press.

Because no one knows how long the movement could last. The actors had not gone on strike since 1980. The last writers’ strike, which dates back to 2007-2008, lasted 100 days and cost the sector two billion dollars. This double strike confirms the existential crisis currently affecting Hollywood. In late June, hundreds of famous actors, including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Ben Stiller, signed a letter saying their industry was at a “unprecedented inflection point”.

For about ten years, the advent of streaming has upset the “residual” remuneration of actors and screenwriters, resulting from each rerun of a film or series. Interesting with television because calculated according to the price of advertisements, these emoluments are much lower with streaming platforms, which do not communicate their audience figures and pay a flat rate, regardless of success. Without this essential income to absorb the periods of inactivity between two productions, the many workers who do not have the status of star actor or author denounce a precariousness of their profession.

The rapid development of AI, which threatens to replace them, only adds fuel to the fire. Disney, for example, used it to produce the credits for its new Marvel series launched in June, Secret Invasion. In New York on Thursday, several actors were already on the picket line. “It is painful and it is necessary, Union actress Jennifer Van Dyck told AFP. When the boss of Disney makes $45 million a year and we’re just asking for a decent salary, I think they’re the ones who can be accused of being unreasonable.”


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