Hollywood stars to stage first strike in more than 40 years with 160,000 actors walking off set from midnight
The production of major television shows and films are likely to be heavily impacted as thousands of actors join the industrial action
Hollywood is preparing to grind to a halt this evening after more than 160,000 actors voted to walk off sets in the first strike of its kind in almost 40 years.
The SAG-AFTRA confirmed that the industrial action will be taking place after the national board voted unanimously in favour of striking. Negotiations between the actors' union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) - which represents major studios and streaming services such as Apple and Netflix - broke down earlier today, with concerns on a range of topics such as streaming service contracts and the use of AI in the industry.
The industry is expected to be heavily impacted by the strikes, with many productions likely to shutdown or be put on hiatus as a result.
Union present and actress Fran Drescher said: “This is a very seminal hour for us. 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.”
Drescher told reporters during a press conference announcing the strike that there is no set timeline for the walkout, adding: "[The length of strike is] 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.”
The UK premiere of the highly-anticipated war biopic Oppenheimer was disrupted after members of the main cast, including Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon, Rami Malek and Emily Blunt, all left the event early in solidarity with the then-to-be-announced strikes. Director Christopher Nolan told the crowd: "Unfortunately they’re off to write their picket signs."
Kenneth Brannagh, who stars as Niels Bohr in the film, said on the red carpet: “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.”
It comes as Hollywood writers remain on strike after beginning the industrial action on 2 May. The WGA (Writers' Guild Association), which represents around 11,500 screenwriters, has remained in a dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).