US Actors’ Strike 2023 Grinds Hollywood to a Halt as Industry Fights for Fair Compensation and Protection Against AI

US Actors Go on Strike, Bringing Hollywood to a Standstill

The entertainment industry in Hollywood has ground to a halt as actors and writers from Sag-Aftra have joined forces in a strike, demanding better compensation and addressing concerns about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in film and television. This joint strike, the first of its kind since 1960, has the potential to completely paralyze Hollywood.

On the first day of the strike, actors and writers gathered outside studio and streaming service headquarters, picketing and displaying signs with messages like “Logan Roy would pay us more” and “I’m trying to pay my rent, not my third and fourth mortgage and fuel my private jet!” The strike immediately halted promotional work for several major summer films, which were already affected by the absence of talk shows. As part of the strike guidance, members are prohibited from attending premieres, doing interviews, promoting projects on social media, or participating in award shows or film festivals.

The strike has already impacted the release schedules of upcoming films. The New York red-carpet premiere of Christopher Nolan’s biopic, “Oppenheimer,” was canceled, and the promotional campaign for Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movie ended prematurely. Margot Robbie, the lead actress in “Barbie,” expressed her support for the strike, stating that she stands by the unions.

Major productions have also been affected, with Deadpool 3 pausing filming just days after Marvel released first-look photos of its stars in costume. The highly anticipated House of the Dragon series will continue filming in the UK under local union rules, as most of the actors are members of Equity, the UK’s local union. This exemption allows the series to continue production while US actors strike.

Film festivals may also face challenges if the strike continues. Festivals like Venice and Toronto, which heavily rely on Hollywood stars for the glitz and glamour, might proceed without them. Furthermore, on Broadway, stage actors represented by Actors’ Equity are urged to avoid crossing the picket lines and inadvertently breaking the Sag-Aftra strike.

At the heart of the negotiations is the concern over the impact of AI on the entertainment industry. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) offered an AI proposal, but Sag-Aftra’s chief negotiator denounced it for its lack of fair compensation for performers whose digital likenesses would be used without consent.

Several Hollywood stars, including George Clooney, have voiced their support for the strike, recognizing the need for change in the industry. As Hollywood enters a new era, actors and writers are taking a stand to protect their rights and secure fair compensation.

This strike is a significant moment that could reshape the entertainment industry, and the journey for change is just beginning. The impact of the strike will be felt not only in Hollywood but also in the hearts and minds of actors and writers worldwide who are standing up for their rights and the future of their craft.