(LOS ANGELES) The studios negotiated dishonestly to buy time and promote their summer blockbusters before the strike of Hollywood actors, Fran Drescher, president of the powerful SAG-AFTRA, told AFP on Thursday. which brings together all the actors in the United States.
“We were duped,” the star of the hit 90s series “A Nanny From Hell” blasted, saying he was “deeply disappointed” just after the historic strike was announced.
Representatives from studios and streaming platforms “stayed behind the scenes, they kept canceling our meetings,” she said. “It was probably to have more time to promote their summer movies. »
The actors’ strike will paralyze the production of series and films in the United States, which had already been idling since the beginning of May because of that of screenwriters. This double social movement bringing together faces and feathers of the industry is a first since 1960 in Hollywood.
What seriously handicap the promotion of large summer productions, such as the highly anticipated Oppenheimer by Christopher Nolan.
Before taking the plunge, the union first agreed to an extension of the talks by a dozen days, pushing back the deadline until Wednesday evening instead of June 30.
During this period, box office behemoths like Barbi or the new Mission Impossible were able to promote themselves by benefiting from the aura of big stars like Tom Cruise, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.
“I may have been naive, because this was my first big negotiation,” Ms. Drescher lamented. “Greed is at the heart of all the misfortunes of the world. And this is a perfect example. »
“I really thought we could achieve a convergence of views. That they would see how this new business model has been forced on the whole industry,” she added, referring to the advent of streaming.
Like screenwriters, actors are demanding an increase in their “residual” remuneration, which stems from each rerun of a film or series and has plummeted due to streaming.
Substantial for television because calculated according to the price of advertisements, these emoluments are much lower with streaming platforms, which do not communicate their audience figures and pay a flat rate, regardless of success.
“I find it crazy that they don’t want to sit down and say, ‘We need to stand with you in an honorable and respectful way, so you can live with this significant change,'” Ms. Drescher continued.
The other major point of the negotiations concerns the use of artificial intelligence, which is developing rapidly in Hollywood. Disney, for example, used an AI to create the credits for its new Marvel series, “Secret Invasion”.
“We are going to be systematically replaced by artificial intelligence,” Drescher feared. “We will continue to be marginalized and I suggest everyone wake up. »
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents studios and streaming platforms, said on Thursday that it had offered “historic salary increases” and “a revolutionary proposal regarding AI that protects the digital image of the actors”.
In a statement, she regretted that SAG-AFTRA “has chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for thousands of people.”
Disney boss Bob Iger blasted the “unrealistic” demands of actors and screenwriters on CNBC.
Despite her frustration with the studios, Ms. Drescher recalled that “SAG-AFTRA’s door remained open to continue negotiations.
“The strike is not the end, it’s just the next step,” she insisted. “We would like to continue to negotiate with them. But the ball is in their court. “