ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Actor strike: actors set to hit picket lines in largest US strike in 26 years

Jul 14, 2023, 7:40 AM

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher, center, Ben Whitehair, left, and Joely Fisher attend a press con...

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher, center, Ben Whitehair, left, and Joely Fisher attend a press conference announcing a strike by The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists on Thursday, July, 13, 2023, in Los Angeles. This marks the first time since 1960 that actors and writers will picket film and television productions at the same time. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Striking screen actors will begin picketing alongside writers in New York and Los Angeles on Friday in what has become the biggest Hollywood labor fight in decades.

The double-barreled strike will shut down the small number of productions that continued shooting in the two months since screenwriters stopped working.

Many actors made a show of solidarity on the writers’ picket lines, including Fran Drescher, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists president and former star of “The Nanny.” The union’s 65,000-member actors’ branch will now formally join them as fellow strikers.

The two guilds have similar issues with studios and streaming services. They are concerned about contracts keeping up with inflation, residual payments in the streaming era and putting up guardrails against the use of artificial intelligence mimicking their work on film and television shows.

The famous faces of Oscar and Emmy winners will likely be seen with some regularity on picket lines, adding star power to the writers’ demonstrations outside studios and corporate offices.

No talks are planned, and no end is in sight for the work stoppage, the first time both guilds have walked off sets since 1960. During that strike, then-actor Ronald Reagan was SAG’s leader.

Drescher delivered a fiery rebuke of studios and streaming services when announcing union leaders’ unanimous vote to strike Thursday.

“We had no choice. We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity,” Drescher said. “I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us. I cannot believe it, quite frankly: How far apart we are on so many things. How they plead poverty, that they’re losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs.”

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents employers including Disney, Netflix, Amazon and others, has lamented the walkout, saying it will hurt thousands of workers in industries that support film and television production.

The actors’ strike will impact more than filming. Stars no longer will be allowed to promote their work through red carpet premieres and personal appearances, campaign for Emmy Awards or take part in auditions or rehearsals.

While international shoots technically can continue, the stoppage among U.S.-based writers and performers is likely to have a drag on those, too.

The writers’ strike brought the immediate shutdown of late-night talk shows and “Saturday Night Live,” as well as several scripted shows that have either had their writers’ rooms or production paused, including “Stranger Things” on Netflix,” “Hacks” on Max, and “Family Guy” on Fox. Many more are sure to follow them now that performers also have been pulled.

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For more on the Hollywood strikes, visit https://apnews.com/hub/hollywood-strikes/

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Actor strike: actors set to hit picket lines in largest US strike in 26 years