Succession star Brian Cox says striking Hollywood actors may ‘have to go to the brink’ and dispute could last until end of the year – as Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman down tools on UK set of Deadpool 3
- Dramatic photos show the abandoned set of Deadpool 3 in Buckinghamshire
- Stars including Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman not working amid SAG strike
Hollywood’s biggest stars ‘may have to go to the brink’ in a transatlantic strike that began yesterday, with their dispute with bosses potentially lasting until the end of the year, Succession star Brian Cox has warned.
‘It’s a situation that can get really very unpleasant and could go on for some time,’ the Emmy-award winning actor told Sky News.
Screen Actors Guild members are striking after their demands for higher wages and protections against artificial intelligence were not met.
Scottish actor Cox said that the industrial action was mainly in support of Hollywood writers, because, without them ‘we have nothing… That’s why we have shows like White Lotus, like Succession.’
Blockbuster Deadpool 3, the majority of which is being filmed in Buckinghamshire, became the first major movie to halt production since SAG/AFTRA announced it had officially voted for the work stoppage.
The Marvel movie, directed by Shawn Levy, was seen being filmed with Ryan Reynolds in the title role and Hugh Jackman reprising his X-Men character Wolverine as recently as Wednesday.
Jennifer Garner is also supposed to be making an appearance while reviving her Elektra role from Daredevil. Also in the cast is Morena Baccarin as Vanessa.
The film is scheduled to hit screens in May 2024, but this date could now be in jeopardy.
Cox said that the industrial action was mainly in support of Hollywood writers, because, without them ‘we have nothing… That’s why we have shows like White Lotus, like Succession’
STOPPED: Deadpool 3 has shut down due to the SAG/AFTRA strike. Filming stopped on the sequel that stars Ryan Reynolds in the title role and Hugh Jackman as X-Men superhero Wolverine
Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman are seen filming Deadpool 3 on July 12
The Deadpool 3 set, also in Buckinghamshire, stands deserted as well as the strike begins – with a 20th Century Fox logo half-buried in the sand
Just 2 days earlier the stars filmed a fight scene in front of the same 20th Century Fox logo
Filming on Ariana Grande’s latest film Wicked has also ceased. Dramatic photos show the abandoned set in Buckinghamshire after the union representing Hollywood stars ordered members to down tools amid a row over how streaming services are pushing down pay and the increasing use of AI in production.
Pop star Grande is set to portray heroine Glinda the Good in the upcoming film, but signalled her support for the strike on Instagram yesterday by sharing news of the protest.
Other productions in the UK, including Beetlejuice 2, Speak No Evil and the next Avatar sequel are also set to be affected.
The strike, coordinated by US actors’ union, began yesterday, prompting the star-studded cast of upcoming Christopher Nolan epic Oppenheimer to walk out of the film’ UK premiere in London.
Stars including Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh were visibly emotional as they exited the premiere early.
Succession star Brian Cox said of the strike: ‘It’s a situation that can get really very unpleasant and could go on for some time’
Filming on Ariana Grande’s latest film Wicked has ceased amid a transatlantic strike by actors that began yesterday. Dramatic photos show the abandoned set in Buckinghamshire
Scores of people could be seen on the set of Wicked in April. Today the set is deserted
Pop star Grande is set to portray heroine Glinda the Good in the upcoming film. Above: Grande on the set of Wicked in June
Director Nolan later said the cast had left the event to ‘write their picket signs.’
Under the rules of a strike, all Sag-aftra members will not be able to film any movie or TV series – which means that almost every show and film that’s currently in the works will be delayed indefinitely until the problem is resolved.
US networks have responded to the strike by expanding the amount of ‘unscripted content’ for their autumn schedules, including The Masked Singer, The Amazing Race, Survivor and Kitchen Nightmares.
British union Equity, the sister organisation to Sag-aftra, said in a statement that they are are ‘full square behind’ their US counterpart.
However, they said they have been advised that the action is not lawful under UK law, meaning any performer who joins the strike or refuses to cross a picket line in Britain will have no protection if production companies sack them or sue them for breach of copyright.
Grande is starring in the film adaptation of the hit stage musical Wicked
The set, made to look like the magical land of Oz, is seen deserted today
Mobile cranes and metal scaffolding are seen on the deserted set of Wicked today
The pictures show how the strike will hit British technical staff as well as the Hollywood stars
Wicked’s release date is set for November next year, meaning the halt to production could push that back
Not so magical: Colourful structures on the set of Wicked in Buckinghamshire are seen abandoned today
Grande signalled her support for the strike on Instagram yesterday by sharing news of the protest
Sag-Aftra represents more than 160,000 screen actors, broadcast journalists, announcers, hosts and stunt performers.
The walkout affects only the union’s 65,000 actors from television and film productions.
Wicked’s release date is set for November next year, meaning the halt to production could push that back.
The next Avatar film is set to be released in December 2025 so could also be affected, although filming has already been completed.
Speak No Evil is billed for next August, whilst Beatlejuice 2 is meant to be released in September 2024.
Other films that are currently being filmed in the UK include The Radleys, Amateur, and romantic comedy The Gorge, which stars Anya Taylor-Joy.
Filming for Gladiator 2, which started in June, is also partly taking place in UK – as well as in Malta and Morocco – and so could be affected.
No filming could be seen on the set, where Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman had previously been shooting scenes
On July 11 Reynolds, dressed as his Deadpool alter ego, and Jackman, as Wolverine, discussed a scene when work was still continuing on the film
A number of TV series being filmed in the UK might also be impacted, including spy thriller The Day Of The Jackal starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne and period boxing drama A Thousand Blows with Stephen Graham.
The second series of The Sandman with Tom Sturridge and the fourth series of Slow Horses with Academy Award winner Gary Oldman could also be affected.
However, filming for the second series of House of the Dragon, starring Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy, may continue despite the strike, due to the fact that its stars are working under contracts governed by Equity, according to Variety.
Filming for Gladiator 2, which started in June, is also partly taking place in UK – as well as in Malta and Morocco – and so could be affected. Above: The Gladiator set in Morocco
This is the moment the cast of Oppenheimer walked out of the film’s UK premiere on Thursday, as thousands of actors went on the biggest strike to hit Hollywood in 60 years
Leaving! Stars including Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh were visibly emotional as they exited the premiere early
Off they go! Footage from the black carpet showed the cast posing for photos together before making their way back to their hotel in London
Matt Damon signs autographs outside The Corinthia Hotel in London on Thursday night after walking out of the Oppenheimer premiere
Matt Damon arrives back to his hotel in central London after walking out of the Oppenheimer premiere amid a Hollywood strike
Tamsin Egerton in London last night after joining a major Hollywood strike
Josh Hartnett leaves his hotel in London on Thursday night after joining the first major Hollywood strike in 60 years
Florence Pugh arriving back to her hotel in central London on Thursday night after walking out of the Oppenheimer premiere due to strikes in Hollywood
‘This is a moment of history, a moment of truth – if we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in trouble,’ SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher told a press conference, following the union board’s unanimous vote to strike.
Some of the films and TV shows currently filming in the UK
Production company: Marvel Studios
Where: Pinewood Studios
When: Since May
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, Matthew Macfayden
Production Company: Marc Platt Productions, Universal
Where: Sky Studios Elstree, London
When: Since December 2022
Cast: Ariana Grande, Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Yeoh
Production company: Plan B
When: Since May
Cast: Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Jenny Ortega
Production company: Genesius Pictures
When: Since June
Cast: Damian Lewis
Production company: 20th Century Studios
When: Since June
Cast: Remi Malek, Laurence Fishburne, Rachel Brosnahan
Speak No Evil
Production Company: Blumhouse Productions
When: Since May
Cast: James McAvoy, Mackenzie Davis
The Day of the Jackal
Production Company: Carnival Films, Sky
When: Since June
Cast: Eddie Redmayne
House of the Dragon
Production company: HBO
Where: Warner Bros Studios Leavesden
When: Since April
Cast: Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy
Production Company: See-Saw Films
When: Since April
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas
‘We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines and big business.’
Writers have already spent 11 weeks protesting outside the headquarters of the likes of Disney and Netflix, after their demands for better pay and guarantees over the use artificial intelligence were not met.
At last night’s premiere of Oppenheimer at the Odeon Luxe in Leicester Square, Sir Kenneth Branagh, who portrays Danish physicist Niels Bohr in the film, said: ‘Everybody is working very hard to make sure it doesn’t happen, if it happens I stand in solidarity with our Sag members.
‘We know it is a critical time at this point in the industry and the issues need to be addressed, difficult conversations, I know everybody is trying to get a fair deal, that is what’s required so we’ll support that.’
Main star Cillian Murphy said: ‘I stand by my colleagues, that’s all I can say to you.’
Meanwhile British actress Florence Pugh said that the cast felt lucky to have got to the Oppenheimer premiere before the strike was announced but also lucky to be standing in solidarity with their acting peers.
She said: ‘It’s been a really, really tense few days for a lot of people, not just actors but everybody in the industry who are going to be affected by this decision but affected by a decision that is necessary.
‘Equally, premieres aren’t just for us, they are to honour a movie, they are to honour a crew that made them so we feel both lucky, that we got to squeeze this in, and also lucky that we get to stand by our peers in a decision that is made.
‘We hope that something comes of it soon.’
In a red-carpet interview with Variety on the night, Pugh’s fellow Oppenheimer star Matt Damon revealed that ‘once the strike is officially called’, the cast is ‘going to walk obviously in solidarity’.
‘That’s why we moved this [red carpet] up because we know the second it’s called, we’re going home,’ he said.
He added to the Associated Press: ‘We ought to protect the people who are kind of on the margins,’ Damon told the AP.
‘And 26,000 bucks a year is what you have to make to get your health insurance. And there are a lot of people whose residual payments are what carry them across that threshold.
‘And if those residual payments dry up, so does their health care. And that´s absolutely unacceptable. We can´t have that. So, we got to figure out something that is fair.’
Speaking on stage at the premiere ahead of the strike announcement, filmmaker Nolan said: ‘I have to acknowledge the work of our incredible cast, led by Cillian Murphy.
‘The list is enormous – Robert Downey Jr, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Kenneth Branagh, Rami Malek and so many more. You’ve seen them here earlier on the red carpet.
‘Unfortunately, they are off to write their picket signs for what we believe to be an imminent strike by SAG, joining one of my guilds, the Writers Guild, in the struggle for fair wages for working members of their union.’
However, ahead of the strike, Disney boss Bob Iger slammed the actors who were going to down tools, saying they ‘are not being realistic’ and are being ‘disruptive to the industry’.
‘It’s very disturbing to me,’ the 72-year-old said, claiming that actors like Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence are ‘not being realistic’ about the compensation benefits they are asking for.
He added that an actors’ strike ‘will have a very, very damaging effect on the whole business’ and even affect the economy’.
He was speaking on Disney’s Squawk Box after his $27million-a-year contract was extended until 2026.
The strike news comes after the US union and Hollywood studios failed to reach an agreement after more than four weeks of negotiations, with actors wanting better pay and increased safeguarding around AI rights among their demands.
READ MORE: Disney boss Bob Iger says actors are ‘not being realistic’ as they threaten to bring Hollywood to a halt
Last month Sag-Aftra members voted overwhelmingly to authorise a strike if a new contract with major studios, streamers and production companies could not be reached.
Nearly 98 per cent (97.91 per cent) of the 65,000 members who cast votes were in favour, Sag-Aftra said.
Announcing the strike at a press conference on Thursday, Sag-Aftra president Fran Drescher gave an impassioned speech in which she said it was a ‘very seminal hour’ for the union.
‘The gravity of this move is not lost on me … it’s a very serious thing that impacts thousands if not millions of people.
‘This is a moment of history that is a moment of truth. If we don’t stand tall now we are all going to be in trouble.
‘The jig is up AMPTP, we stand tall, you need to wake up and smell the coffee. You cannot exist without us.’
Asked how long the strike would last, Ms Drescher said: ‘That’s up to them, we are open to talking to them tonight.
‘All of this is because of their behaviour, it’s up to them if they want to talk in a normal way.’
Paul W Fleming, Equity’s general secretary, said in a statement: ‘Equity stands full square behind our sister union in their claim, and the action their Board have agreed to take.
‘Equity too is experiencing bullish engagers attempting to undermine its collectively bargained agreements. SAG-AFTRA has our total solidarity in this fight.’
He added: ‘Equity has been in constant contact with our sister union throughout the negotiations at every level – including the President and General Secretary attending in person in Los Angeles earlier this month.
‘We will continue to work closely and collaboratively on advice for artists working in the United Kingdom as the situation develops.’
A statement from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said it was ‘deeply disappointed’ that the union had decided to ‘walk away from negotiations’.
‘This is the union’s choice, not ours.
‘In doing so, it has dismissed our offer of historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, a ground-breaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses, and more.
‘Rather than continuing to negotiate, Sag-Aftra has put us on a course that will deepen the financial hardship for thousands who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.’
It is now anticipated the strike will affect upcoming award shows, premieres, events and film festivals around the world, including the Toronto and Venice film festivals, and the 75th Emmys.
US ACTORS’ UNION SAG-AFTRA STRIKE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Hollywood and the creative industry at large has been dealt another blow following the announcement of strike action by US actors’ union Sag-Aftra.
Strikes from sister unions in the US have already derailed multiple productions and industry events in recent months.
Here’s what you need to know about the strike.
Who is on strike?
Sag-Aftra, the US union representing thousands of industry professionals, officially declared a strike on Thursday.
The union, which has a membership of around 160,000, represents actors across film, television and radio.
It is the union’s first major members’ strike in over 40 years.
It comes as over 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) also remain on strike, having begun their own action on May 2.
Why are the actors striking?
The strike has been called after Sag-Aftra failed to negotiate new contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Negotiations with the AMPTP had been going on for more than four weeks, and the contracts expired at midnight Pacific Time (8am UK time) on Wednesday, having been pushed back previously from June 30.
Issues up for negotiation included base compensation, which actors say has been undercut by inflation and the streaming services, the threat of unregulated use of artificial intelligence, and benefit plans.
In a previous statement, Sag-Aftra president Fran Drescher said the AMPTP’s response to the union’s proposals had been ‘insulting and disrespectful of our massive contributions to this industry’.
Does the strike affect just actors in the US?
Sag-Aftra has members all over the world, all of whom are expected to respect the decisions of the union.
‘Simply put, a Sag-Aftra member must always work under a union contract around the globe,’ the union’s website states.
Which big names are publicly supporting the strike?
Several Hollywood stars including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Ben Stiller, have previously expressed their support in favour of strike action, if a deal with AMPTP could not be reached.
On Thursday, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh and Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Rami Malek, all walked out of the London premiere of upcoming blockbuster Oppenheimer.
Sir Kenneth Branagh told the PA news agency beforehand: ‘Everybody is working very hard to make sure it doesn’t happen, if it happens I stand in solidarity with our Sag members.’
Murphy told PA: ‘I stand by my colleagues, that’s all I can say to you.’
What are striking actors not allowed to do?
The union’s Global Rule One states: ‘No member shall render any services or make an agreement to perform services for any employer who has not executed a basic minimum agreement with the union.’
It clarifies that members do not work without a contract in films, scripted television, commercials, non-broadcast, interactive, new media, independent and student film productions, among others.
‘If you are behind a microphone or in front of a camera, you should assume that (Global Rule One) applies until and unless an authorised representative of Sag-Aftra confirms that it does not,’ the union’s website states.
Sag-Aftra says that it takes the rule ‘very seriously’, with violations resulting in disciplinary action ranging from reprimands, to fines to expulsion from the union.
How long will the strike last?
Sag-Aftra has not given a time limit for the strike, which is due to begin at midnight Pacific Time (8am UK time) on Friday.
Asked how long the strike would last, Ms Drescher told a Los Angeles press conference: ‘That’s up to (the AMPTP), we are open to talking to them tonight.
‘All of this is because of their behaviour, it’s up to them if they want to talk in a normal way.’
How will this affect productions in the UK?
A number of major projects that are currently under way in the UK may be affected by the strike.
Among them is superhero blockbuster Deadpool 3, starring Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman – which may have its scheduled release date of May 2024 significantly impacted by the strike.
Similarly, new film Wicked starring US singer Ariana Grande, actress Cynthia Erivo, Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey and Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh, which is being shot in a village in Buckinghamshire could also be affected, as the release date is currently set for November next year.
Other UK productions include Beetlejuice 2, vampire thriller The Radleys and psychological thriller Speak No Evil.
The second series of hit HBO TV series House Of The Dragon and Netflix’s The Sandman may also be affected, if actors can not participate under union guidelines.
What does it mean for the upcoming awards ceremony?
The strike casts much doubt on upcoming award ceremonies, including the 75th annual Emmy Awards, the nominations for which were announced on Wednesday.
Sag-Aftra chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland told a press conference on Thursday: ‘I anticipate this will bring any Emmy campaigning to a close.’
How will the strike affect films that have already been shot?
The strike does not allow actors to engage in any form of promotion for films.
Some studios, including Disney, have said they still plan to host events including world premieres, though there will not be opportunities for press interviews.
How does the Sag-Aftra strike relate to the Hollywood writers’ strike?
On Thursday the WGA entered its 73rd day of strike action, after their own contracts also expired earlier this year.
The writers’ union, which has a membership of around 20,000, is striking primarily over royalties from streaming media.
The WGA is seeking higher minimum pay, more writers per show and less exclusivity on single projects, among other demands – all conditions it says have been diminished during the content boom of the streaming era.
Source: Read Full Article