(Los Angeles) Striking actors and Hollywood studio bosses were to continue their negotiations on Wednesday, a meeting which revived hopes for a rapid resumption of film and series production after long months of strike.
For the second time this week, discussions are planned between the SAG-AFTRA union – which represents 160,000 actors, stuntmen, dancers and other professionals from the small and big screens – and the bosses of studios and platforms like Disney and Netflix.
The meeting comes a week after the return to work of the screenwriters, who reached a salary agreement with the studios following a parallel strike lasting almost five months.
Given the similarity in demands between actors and writers, and the proliferation of talks, many actors present this week on the strike pickets said they were optimistic about the possibility of a rapid agreement.
“I’m so happy that the writers reached an agreement, because I really feel like it gives us positive momentum,” said actress and union member Elyssa Phillips.
Many Hollywood productions have been on hiatus since May, when screenwriters went on strike. Although the social action by the latter is over, most productions will not be able to resume as long as the actors’ strike, which began in July, continues.
SAG-AFTRA and the studios had not held formal negotiations until this week, when a full day of negotiations was held. At the end of this session, the two parties agreed to return to the negotiating table on Wednesday.
Like the screenwriters, the actors stopped work to request in particular an increase in their remuneration, at half mast in the era of streaming, and protection measures against artificial intelligence (AI).
In theory, the agreement between studios and screenwriters should help actors imitate them, analysts say.
But the salary demands made by SAG-AFTRA as well as the demand for guarantees in the face of AI go further than those of their fellow screenwriters.
Actors fear that AI will be used to clone their voice and image, without their consent and without remuneration.
“This will be an obstacle that our negotiators will have to face, they will have to make sure that we obtain clauses and protections against (this)”, explained actress Michelle Bonilla on Tuesday, on a picket in front of Disney.
The talks also cover topics specific to actors, such as remote auditions. A practice born during the pandemic and widely denounced by actors.
Some film and television productions involving small Hollywood studios have already resumed, thanks to temporary exemptions.