(Los Angeles) Will the actors join the ranks of writers who have been on strike for two months in Hollywood? The suspense was still high on Friday, a few hours before the deadline for negotiations and a possible double social movement that would freeze almost all American productions.

The collective bargaining agreement for the 160,000 actors represented by the SAG-AFTRA union expires at midnight Los Angeles time (3 a.m. EST).

In the absence of an agreement with the employers of the major studios and online broadcasting platforms, the actors could launch a strike immediately. But rumors about a possible extension of the duration of the negotiations have also swelled in recent days.

“It is possible that we will go on strike. I don’t hope so, but if we do, it will be for good reasons,” Jorome Melendez, a 59-year-old actor who was among a few dozen comedians who came to Warner Bros. studios on Friday morning, told AFP. to show their support for the screenwriters who have been on strike since the beginning of May.

Like the feathers of the industry, the actors are demanding better remuneration to fight against inflation and guarantees in the face of potential upheavals linked to the use of artificial intelligence, such as voice cloning.

They are protesting in particular against the drop in their “residual” remuneration, due to each rerun of a film or series, caused by online broadcasting. Significant during a television appearance because based on the advertising model, these emoluments are much lower for the platforms, which do not communicate their audience figures.

“Residual income is our sustenance between projects,” said Shon Lange, an actor who’s had bit parts on shows like The Terminal List. They “put food on the table, they help send my child to school. So it’s very important. »

A double social movement bringing together actors and screenwriters would be a first in Hollywood since 1960 and could bring the industry to its knees.

Actors can freeze not only productions based on scripts already completed before May, but also promotion of blockbusters due in theaters this summer – Barbie, Oppenheimer, Gran Turismo, etc. Even postpone the holding in September of the Emmy Awards, equivalent to the television Oscars.

This week, hundreds of famous actors, including Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence, signed a letter insisting they needed to strike unless their union reached a “transformative deal”. According to this document, the American film industry is at an “unprecedented inflection point”.

“We need to modernize our contracts in the face of new technologies,” Kim Donovan told AFP.

Worried about the potential impact of artificial intelligence, this 52-year-old actress hopes to see celebrities really commit in the event of a strike. “They have the strongest voices, we need their support. »