SAG-AFTRA’s current contract with the film and television studios is just under 36 hours away, and the guild has the power to request a work stoppage. With the writers now in the third month of their own strike, the possibility of the first dual union strike in over 60 years is looming and has Hollywood stretched to the limit.
Suffice to say, it was a tense and hectic couple of days before the deadline, which has already been extended since June 30 and is now expected to end on July 12 at 11:59 pm PT. If you asked people a few days ago, the mood around the strike was very different.
But according to multiple reports and first reported in Varietyagency heavyweights Ari Emanuel of WME, Bryan Lourd of CAA and Jeremy Zimmer of UTA all made last-minute phone calls to the SAG-AFTRA leadership in an effort to offer assistance as mediators in hopes of averting a strike.
Additionally, Variety was the first to report that the AMPTP has proposed bringing in a federal mediator through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help continue brokering a settlement. Top studio leaders, including Disney’s Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, reportedly met on a conference call Monday morning to endorse the idea from AMPTP and the lead negotiator. Carol Lombardini.
The idea is that someone from the federal government would be a neutral third party in the talks. Such a scenario would further delay the looming actors’ strike, but it is unclear whether SAG-AFTRA would agree to another extension of the current deadline.
Representatives from SAG-AFTRA did not respond to IndieWire’s request for comment. AMPTP did not comment.
While there is a media blackout between both sides, several industry media reports have suggested that negotiations have been slow in recent days since the previous extension, and that a higher residual based on a performance metric of a show or a movies, as well as protections for actors around artificial intelligence have been key points.
That’s not all that has transpired out there in recent days. IndieWire confirmed that SAG-AFTRA’s leadership held an average of conference call with top Hollywood publicists on Monday informing them of the strike rules their customers should follow in the event of a strike. SAG-AFTRA has not formally sent strike rules to its more than 160,000 members informing them of protocols during a strike, but that could happen imminently if a strike is called.
Between strike rules and best practices, actors would not be allowed to participate in promotional work of any kind. This would include not attending press junkets, attending movie premieres, or appearing on a panel at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con.
While many major studios had already pulled out of Comic-Con, Expiration reported that premieres like “Haunted Mansion,” which is scheduled for this Saturday at Disneyland, are making last-minute changes in the event of a strike. Other films due out this summer have already scheduled their press briefings and previews well in advance of a potential strike, as with “Barbie” or “Oppenheimer.”
And as for the Emmys, which announce nominees Wednesday morning, Noted variety that the TV Academy and broadcaster Fox are debating whether to postpone the Emmys in the event of a strike, but torn over whether to delay it to November or January.
SAG-AFTRA has been clear that it is preparing a strike, post photos of members preparing picket signs, and there have been reports that the guild has been calling for volunteers as strike organizers. Some of those same members were too critical of SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescherwho was photographed in Italy alongside Kim Kardashian as part of her responsibilities to promote Dolce and Gabbana.
While writers have managed to shut down much of TV production over the past two-and-a-half months, an actors’ strike would lead to a total shutdown of the film and TV industry. There was the possibility of a three-pronged union strike, but members of the Directors Guild of America ratified their own deal last month.