LOS ANGELES: Tens of thousands of Hollywood actors will go on strike at midnight Thursday (13th of July, 2023) effectively bringing the giant movie and television business to a halt as they join writers in the first industry-wide walkout for 63 years.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) issued a strike order after last-ditch talks with studios on their demands over dwindling pay and the threat posed by artificial intelligence ended without a deal.
“This is a moment of history, a moment of truth – if we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in trouble,” SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher told a press conference, following the union board’s unanimous vote to strike.
“We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines and big business.”
After the strike formally goes into effect at 0700 GMT Friday, actors will join writers on picket lines in the first Hollywood “double strike” since 1960.
Writers have already spent 11 weeks protesting outside the headquarters of the likes of Disney and Netflix, after their similar demands were not met.
With the shutdown of nearly all productions and film sets, popular television series face lengthy delays.
Movie studios have already begun reshuffling their calendars, and if the strikes drag on, major film releases could be postponed too.
A strike immediately prevents actors from promoting some of the year’s biggest releases, at the peak of the movie industry’s summer blockbuster season.
The cast of the hotly awaited new film “Oppenheimer” walked out of the glitzy London premiere in solidarity with the strike.
“We know it’s a critical time at this point in the industry and the issues that are involved need to be addressed — there are difficult conversations,” British actor Kenneth Branagh said on the red carpet just before the strike was announced.
“I know everybody’s trying to get a fair deal, that’s what’s required, so we’ll support that.”