Oppenheimer cast leave UK premier early as SAG-AFTRA strike explained and Hollywood reaction

Christopher Nolan confirms the cast left in solidarity with the SAG-AFTRA strike - here’s everything we know about the action
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Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan confirmed to the crowd at the London Premiere of the film on Thursday (13 July) that the cast had left. Nolan quipped that they had gone to “write their picket signs” as SAG-AFTRA prepared to go on strike bringing Hollywood to a standstill.

Nolan told the crowd: “I have to 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.”

Matt Damon told Variety on the red carpet of the event: “We talked about it. Look, if it’s called now, everyone’s going to walk obviously in solidarity … Once the strike is officially called, [we’re walking]. That’s why we moved this [red carpet] up because we know the second it’s called, we’re going home.”

Emily Blunt, who plays Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty in the film, echoed similar sentiments, telling Variety: “Obviously we stand with all of the actors and at whatever point it’s called, we’re going to be going home and standing together through it because I want everyone to get a fair deal.”

So, why are the actors going on strike? Here’s everything you need to know about the SAG-AFTRA action.

Why is SAG-AFTRA going on strike?

A union representative confirmed that strike action had been voted for and would be taking place after talks with major studios and streaming services collapsed. Actors will be following in the footsteps of the Writers Guild who have been taking strike action for fairer pay and security in jobs.

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement on the unions website: “SAG-AFTRA negotiated in good faith and was eager to reach a deal that sufficiently addressed performer needs, but the AMPTP’s responses to the union’s most important proposals have been insulting and disrespectful of our massive contributions to this industry. The companies have refused to meaningfully engage on some topics and on others completely stonewalled us. Until they do negotiate in good faith, we cannot begin to reach a deal. We have no choice but to move forward in unity, and on behalf of our membership, with a strike recommendation to our National Board. The board will discuss the issue this morning and will make its decision.”

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