Actors have decided to join the ongoing writers’ strike in a significant development set to rock Hollywood.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the US actors’ union Sag-Aftra (Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) failed to reach a breakthrough during negotiations, leading to this unprecedented move.
This joint strike action by actors and writers marks the first time in over six decades that both unions have simultaneously gone on strike, reported by The Guardian. At the same time, the writers’ strike has already considerably impacted film and TV production and related activities like awards shows and publicity events.
Adding actors to the picket lines is expected to send seismic waves throughout the industry. Sag-Aftra’s global reach means that any film or show featuring a Hollywood actor will likely face a shutdown or extensive rescheduling when the strike commences at midnight on Thursday.
The writers’ strike has already resulted in suspending most scripted TV shows in the US, as picket lines have effectively halted production activities. Notable series such as The Last of Us, Blade Runner 2099, and The Mandalorian have experienced delays, while upcoming projects like the Spider-Man: No Way Home sequel and Disney’s Blade remake have been put on hold due to unfinished scripts.
Other productions in progress, such as Thunderbolts and Captain America: Brave New World, have seen their release dates pushed back.
However, the involvement of US actors in the strike means that even projects with completed scripts can no longer proceed, regardless of their location, whether in the US, Europe, or elsewhere.
TV shows expected to be affected include House of the Dragon, Andor, and Industry, while the start of production for the second season of Sharon Horgan’s Bad Sisters is likely to be stalled. Even Doctor Who, now being produced in partnership with streaming service Disney+, faces potential disruption due to the strike.
Studio film productions operate on longer and more intricate schedules and will experience long-term damage if they have not finished filming in time. Among the high-profile films still in production is Gladiator 2, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Paul Mescal, with scheduled shooting locations in Malta, Morocco, and the UK from June to October.
Additionally, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two, the sequel to Tom Cruise’s blockbuster, was set to complete filming this summer following promotional obligations for Part One.
Some other studio productions, including the fourth Bad Boys film, Beetlejuice 2, and the untitled Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel, have reportedly finished shooting, along with the second season of Amazon’s TV series ‘The Lord of the Rings’: The Rings of Power.
The situation becomes more complex for low-budget and independent films, which can apply for waivers from Sag-Aftra to continue production. However, the uncertainty surrounding who can work and cross picket lines has created significant financial instability in an already precarious sector.
Even with a waiver and a completed script, productions cannot depend on the participation of essential crew members, as the transportation union, the Teamsters, and the technicians’ union Iatse mainly refuse to cross the writers’ union picket lines.
Beyond film production, other high-profile events are expected to be altered or canceled following the actors’ strike announcement. The London premiere of Christopher Nolan’s atom-bomb drama Oppenheimer has been rescheduled an hour earlier tonight to accommodate the attendance of its cast.
Additionally, the highly anticipated Comic-Con event in San Diego, which usually draws large numbers of stars to promote their films to devoted fans, will likely suffer significant disruptions.
Late summer releases like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, Haunted Mansion, and Blue Beetle are also expected to curtail their promotional activities. While major international film festivals such as Venice and Toronto should still be able to screen available films, the red-carpet events and appearances by actors are now in doubt.
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